Author Sheyna Galyan

Destined to Choose excerpt

SG Website Titles BOOKSDestined to Choose

EXCERPT

Chapter OneDestined to Choose
Friday morning, July 21

Rabbi David Cohen threw his pen onto the desk in disgust, uttering a few choice words. He had nearly satisfied his need to vent with the last expletive when he looked up to see Kristen Ferguson, his secretary, standing frozen at the door. She opened her mouth as if to say something, then stopped.

David flashed her an embarrassed smile. “It’s okay, Kristen. I’m done now.”

She raised an eyebrow, her green eyes appraising. “Is this something I should be getting used to?” she asked in her soft Texas accent.

“Only if I have to keep writing sermons.”

“I think you write great d’var Torahs.” Kristen smiled and lowered her voice conspiratorially. “And I’ve been here long enough now, you can use the Hebrew with me.”

David raised his eyebrows in surprise. “I’m impressed; that’s almost perfect. One would be a d’var Torah. More than one are divrei Torah.”

“Okay, so I almost got it.” Kristen gave a half-shrug. “Foreign languages were never my strong point.”

“They’re not easy to write in any language.”

“Ah. Well, I’m sorry to break this to you, David, but I think that’s part of your job.” She glanced at the blank page on his desk. “Wouldn’t it be easier to write if you used a computer?”

David chuckled. “Have you ever seen me type?”

“Come to think of it, no.”

“There’s a reason for that. Longhand is much faster than these.” He held up his two index fingers, stabbing at imaginary keys in the air.

Kristen absently tucked a strand of her copper red hair behind her ear. “But you could learn to type. And you could use a computer for all kinds of things. E-mail with other rabbis, Jewish web sites. You could even create your own web site and publish stuff. Think of all the people you could reach.”

“Hang on,” David cautioned. “I’m a technical neophyte. Besides, there’s no money in the budget for a computer. I’ll just stick to pen and paper. So, what’s up?”

“Mail just arrived. I thought you might want to see this right away.” She handed him a thin white envelope and left his study.

“Thanks,” David called after her, noting the return address. It had to be a decision about the grant proposal he had written for a series of weekend seminars and monthly classes on mitzvot. Approval meant he could present it to the board as a fully-funded package; denial meant stripping the program to a mere skeleton and dealing with board complaints about finding the money to pay for it. Steeling himself, he opened the envelope, his stomach tightening in knots. He scanned the letter for the expected ‘we regret to inform you’ and couldn’t find it. After reading it twice, the words began to sink in and he grinned with relief. The grant was approved for even more money than he’d expected.

The intercom buzzer momentarily startled him. “Yes?”

Kristen’s voice was slightly muffled. “Avram Rosenfeld is on the phone. He says it’s urgent.”

David set down the letter. “I’ll take it, thanks.” He picked up the phone. “Shalom, Avram, what can I do for you?”

“Rabbi, I need to talk with you!” Avram seemed to be choking on his words. What remained of his German accent made him difficult to understand.

“Slow down, Avram. What’s wrong?”

“It is my granddaughter, Anna. No, it is not her; it is me.” He stopped for a moment, catching his breath. “It is my fault she has run away. I do not know whom else to call. I need to find her, to bring her home.”

David remembered Anna as a shy teenager, overcome with grief when her parents were both killed in a car accident the previous year. He had only seen her once since then, when she attended a Hillel-sponsored discussion he’d led at the nearby University of Minnesota.

“What makes you think she’s run away?”

“I am sad to say it, but we were fighting. She was angry when she left, and I have not seen her again. I am afraid it is my fault.”

“Let’s try to find her instead of assigning blame. Is it possible she went over to the university? Or maybe to a friend’s house?”

“She knows no one at the dorms. It is perhaps possible she is at a friend’s home. I am so worried, Rabbi. Minneapolis is not a safe place for a girl like Anna. You must help me find her.”

“I’ll do what I can, Avram.” David tore a blank page from his writing pad and wrote Anna’s name and address on it, adrenaline giving him a rush he found both exciting and disturbing. He asked Avram several questions about Anna’s appearance and current interests, writing the answers down on the page. The overall profile gave him a sinking feeling.

“Do you have any idea why she might have left?”

There was a long silence on the other end. “She left because of me. Because I told her I did not want her living here anymore. How could I have said such a thing?” Avram’s voice broke. “I cannot live if anything happens to her!”

“I’m sure she’s okay, Avram.” David made sure his own concern didn’t reach his voice. “Start from the beginning, and tell me what happened.”

“We had a very big fight the day before Yom HaShoah, and it has not been better since. I thought she would get over it, but we keep fighting. Then yesterday morning I wake up and find her cooking bacon, which she eats in front of me. It is a slap in my face. Worse, it is a slap in God’s face. I was angry and said many things I should not have said. Then she left for her job at the day care center and I have not seen her again.”

“Have you called the day care center?”

“Yes. They said she quit shortly after she came in yesterday.”

“What about her friends?” David suggested. “Have you called any of them?”

“Yes. I called her best friend from last year, but she has not seen Anna since they went out last week. I do not have a number for anyone else.”

“Does Anna have an address book?”

“Yes! Why did I not think of that? Will you wait for a moment while I find it?”

“Sure.” David thought for a moment about all of the teenagers he’d counseled over the years. Anna’s recent history placed her in the high-risk category, and running away wasn’t out of the question.

Avram came back on the line. “I have it here. At least some of her friends are listed in here. I recognize names she has talked about.”

“Okay, Avram. Call her other friends, even her classmates. See if any of them know where she is. It’s very possible she just went somewhere to cool off and let you do the same.”

“Perhaps. And perhaps she will be home tonight. We have a long-standing rule in our house that fights are resolved or at least put aside for Shabbos. She has never missed a Shabbos dinner. But I will call her friends, as you suggest.”

David sensed denial creeping into the older man’s voice. “Good. Let me know what you find out. You can reach me here until about four-thirty, but probably not after that since Shabbat services start tonight at six.”

“I will. I am sure you are right, and I will find her having fun with her friends. Thank you, Rabbi.”

David hung up the phone, pain tugging at his heartstrings. Having lost his own father after many years of illness as a direct result of the Shoah, he always felt a certain kinship with the older man. And the fact that both his father and Avram came from the same area of Germany added another dimension to their relationship with which David wasn’t always comfortable.

He glanced at the clock and drew the curtains of his mind shut against the decades-old memories. Setting aside his concern for Anna, he knew there was nothing more he could do until he heard from Avram again.

He turned back to the d’var Torah he’d been trying to write earlier, picked up a pen and scowled at the paper. After staring at it for several minutes, he shoved it aside again, frustrated, and turned to several other tasks. He reviewed the draft of a bar mitzvah speech, looked up a few sources on conversion that a college student had requested, and drafted a letter to the local Jewish Community Center, confirming that he’d co-teach an Introduction to Judaism class there.

After a few more unproductive minutes with the blank page, he stood up, stretched to his full six feet, and walked over to the doorway.

Kristen looked up. “Cantor Kaplan called while you were on the phone and wanted to set up a time to talk with you on Monday.”

“Did he leave a number?”

“No, he said he’d call back in a little bit. He didn’t want to interrupt you.”

David retrieved his calendar from his study and flipped ahead. “Morning is out—I’m going to need that time for paperwork. Any other time is fine. Just let me know so I don’t double-book myself. Did Joel say what it was about?”

“Nope. Just that he wanted to talk to you.” Kristen turned back to her computer and continued typing a letter.

“Okay.” Leaning against the door jamb, he watched Kristen work and realized that she was dressed up today, wearing a charcoal gray silk dress instead of her usual slacks and blouse. At first, he assumed it was for Shabbat, but then had to remind himself that Kristen wasn’t Jewish. Maybe she had a date.

He knew he was fortunate to have her. In the eight years he’d been at Beth Israel, he’d worked with many secretaries but he hadn’t connected with any of them as well as he had with Kristen. She’d only had the job for six months, but already she had become a trusted friend, and often times he thought that she knew what was going through his head before he did. Most of the time that worked to his advantage. He hoped it would again this time.

“Do you have a moment?” he asked tentatively.

Kristen swiveled around in her chair. “You’re still here. Why are you still here? You should be writing.”

“Every year,” he said with a sigh, “why do I do this?”

“You’re procrastinating again, Rabbi. Okay, do what?”

“I’m still working on the d’var Torah for the Tisha b’Av service.” He shook his head. “I’m not a writer, Kristen. Give me something to teach and people who want to learn, and I could have the time of my life.”

“Do you realize this is the third time this morning you’ve come out here to talk to me?”

“Third?”

“It’s not a problem, David; I enjoy talking with you. But you only started working on that sermon two hours ago.”

“That long already?” he asked.

Kristen grinned. “And to think I get paid for this. So tell me what’s really on your mind.”

David turned serious. “I’m afraid I’m wasting my time. Every year I insist we should have a service on the eve of Tisha b’Av but I’m not sure the congregation cares one way or the other. So why do I put myself through this?”

“Because it’s important to you. How many showed up last year?”

“About two dozen. I think we’ll be lucky this year to get a minyan. Nobody wants to hear about the sadder parts of our history, even in a Conservative shul. I’m trying to write a d’var Torah that doesn’t ignore the historical importance but doesn’t brood on it either. I can only talk about the destruction of the Temples or the expulsions for so long before people start walking out. Even the themes of in-fighting and causeless hatred aren’t enough to keep their interest.”

He gently fingered the colorful crocheted kippah clipped to his wavy, dark brown hair. “But to not mention it at all seems like disregarding our past. I don’t want to do that either.”

“Tisha b’Av is next month, isn’t it?”

“Mm hm. Why?”

“It’s only July. Why are you working on this so soon?”

“I have just under three weeks. And like I said, Kristen, I’m not a writer. You know me—I’ll start working on next year’s High Holy Days sermons the day after this year’s ends. I only have two hundred and seventy-four writing days this year. Excluding Sabbaths and holidays, of course.”

“Of course,” Kristen deadpanned. “And don’t forget snow days. Why don’t you just say what you want to say, and if people don’t like it, they can complain? The congregation here isn’t exactly known for its passivity.”

“I don’t know.” David left his favorite spot in the doorway and sat down on a beige and blue brocade sofa along the wall between his study and the door to the hallway. Just down the hall, he could hear the sounds from the main synagogue office where Betsy, the office manager, was training yet another temporary secretary. Across from the main office was the cantor’s study, and beyond that, the stairs that led down to the sanctuary and, in the basement, the social hall and conference room. David had mixed feelings when he heard Joel singing or playing the piano. The man had a voice like silk: smooth but typically not warm.

His gaze settled on the pink and green leaves of the potted caladium on the floor next to him before he continued. “I think I’m actually nervous about offending the congregation.” He looked up at Kristen. “Tisha b’Av is different from any other holiday in our calendar; it has a different feel to it. I mean, we fast and avoid physical pleasures like we do on Yom Kippur, but it’s out of reflection or even mournful remembrance, without that sense of rejuvenation that Yom Kippur brings.

“People expect me to offend them during the Days of Awe, to challenge them to become better people, better Jews. But Tisha b’Av is important in its own right. I don’t want this congregation to decide that secular summertime is preferable to living Jewishly, or that Tisha b’Av is hereafter an optional—or worse yet, an obsolete—observance. I mean, look at the recent racial and ethnic tension, fighting and name-calling between various Jewish movements, stone-throwing at the Western Wall: all these tell me that we haven’t yet learned the lessons of Tisha b’Av.”

“David, it sounds to me like you already know what you want to say; you just don’t want to commit it to paper. I bet if I let you go on, based on what you’ve just said, you could give a pretty good sermon right now.”

“What did I just say?”

Kristen gave him a faintly amused smile. “Go write your d’var Torah, Rabbi. You’ll be saying nothing if you continue to sit there and schmooze. And I’m sure it will turn out fine.”

“Thanks,” David said, noting that Kristen only used his title of rabbi when she was either chastising or teasing him, and rarely as a sign of respect. Unlike most people, when she wanted to address him respectfully, she used his first name.

It hadn’t always been that way. Unlike other rabbis who seemed to enjoy substituting “Rabbi” for their first names, David much preferred to be an individual around friends, colleagues, and his staff. And every time Kristen called him Rabbi, he sensed an unspoken “permission to speak freely, sir?” in her voice. Finally, he asked her to call him David, and once she got used to the idea, their rapport improved tremendously. It also liberated her sense of humor, which he found refreshing most days.

Slowly he stood up and went back into his study while loosening his tie and unbuttoning his shirt collar.

“Can I convince you to close your door?” Kristen called after him. “You have no privacy when you leave it open.”

David poked his head out of the doorway. “What, I’m not being punished enough, having to write this? You want me in solitary confinement too?”

Kristen laughed. “I have to keep trying, David. I believe privacy is good for everyone, including rabbis.”

Defiantly, he left the door ajar. Rather than sitting down immediately, David began to pace slowly. He knew it tended to annoy everyone around him, but somehow the steady rhythm of his pacing gave clarity to the randomness of his thoughts. Although if he wasn’t careful, he occasionally found himself voicing his thought process aloud, almost chanting in time with his footsteps. The last time that happened, he’d been in a conference with several board members who had rebuked him sharply. “Talmudic singsong is fine for rabbinical school,” one of them had warned him, “but please don’t do it in public, and especially don’t do it around us.”

While he suspected it embarrassed them, bringing to mind nineteenth-century rabbis swaying in ecstatic prayer, he’d been self-conscious about it ever since.

Letting out a long sigh, he sat down in his chair and perused book titles. Three of the four walls in his study were covered by floor-to-ceiling bookcases, which in turn were packed sometimes two or three rows deep with books: law, legends, stories, philosophy, ethics, ancient wisdom and modern commentary, oversize books with cracked leather bindings, titles in Hebrew, English, German, even a few children’s books for when parents brought their kids in with them.

David had strategically placed his desk perpendicular to one of the bookcases, where multiple copies of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, along with a full set of the Talmud, were within an arm’s reach. The wall behind him boasted a modest window out of which he rarely looked, and a filing cabinet that contained old sermon notes, handouts for classes, and other papers he couldn’t bear to throw out. Facing his desk sat two well-worn ersatz leather chairs, and in front of the far wall, a dark-colored sofa sagged under the weight of countless books and papers. David could always find what he was looking for in the papers on the sofa or his desk, or in the piles that dotted the worn almond-colored carpet. He wouldn’t allow anyone tostraighten up or file the papers, for fear he’d never find anything again.

Checking the clock again, he stood up resolutely. There was work to be done and Shabbat was approaching fast. He selected a book of Jewish law codes and turned to the section concerning Tisha b’Av. After reading for a few minutes, he wrote down some thoughts, then stood and scanned his shelves for another title.

He chewed absentmindedly on his thumb, stopping now and then to pull a book off his shelves, leaf through it, and make notes on a legal pad. The mound of books rapidly conquered the top of his desk and, sighing, he began to pace again, writing new thoughts to the cadence of his steps.

 

Chapter Two

David worked through lunch and was only minimally successful at accomplishing his goals for the day. His concerns for Anna kept intruding, despite the fact that he knew he was helpless to do anything. He put the finishing touches on a program outline for a class he hoped to teach on the book of Genesis and tossed it in his out box. In addition to all the classes on theology and law he was required to take in rabbinical school, David thought irritably, why couldn’t they have offered just one on handling paperwork?

His phone buzzed, and he punched the intercom button a little harder than he intended. “What is it?”

“Your one o’clock appointment is here,” Kristen said sweetly. “So be nice.”

Within minutes, a young couple stood in front of him. The young man was Marc Dorsay, nineteen years old and the only son of Len Dorsay, one of the more prominent and vocal members of the synagogue’s board of directors. Marc was dressed similarly to how David had always seen him in shul: dark blue slacks, a long-sleeved white shirt with the cuffs rolled almost up to his elbows, and a multi-colored designer tie.

The young woman he had never seen before. He glanced at her denim mini-skirt and oversized, embroidered white blouse, and figured her to be non-observant. Few observant Jews in any of the movements would meet with a rabbi in a skirt that short. He wasn’t quite certain whether she was simply making a fashion statement or if she was trying to appeal to him as a man rather than as a rabbi.

“Please, sit down,” he indicated the two chairs in front of his desk, and averted his gaze from the woman as she sat. “I understand you want to talk to me about a wedding.”

Marc nodded. “Yeah. Luna and I, we want to get married. The sooner, the better.” He looked at his fiancée and took her hand in his. “We were going to elope, but my dad would hit the roof, so that’s why we’re here.”

“Luna—?”

“Just Luna,” the young woman said, gently tossing her long, blond hair over her shoulder. “You know, like the moon.”

“Is Luna your birth name?”

“No. But I don’t go by my birth name anymore. Everyone calls me Luna.”

“That doesn’t sound like a Jewish name.”

“It’s not.”

“Luna’s not Jewish.” Marc shrugged. “But my mom wasn’t when she and my dad met either. She converted.”

That explained it. Not only was she non-observant, she wasn’t even Jewish. The rabbi looked at her. “Luna, how old are you?”

“I’ll be twenty in August.”

“Okay. So you want to convert?”

“Oh, no. I’m not really religious at all. I’m spiritual. I don’t have a need for religion.”

Looking back and forth between them, David spread his hands. “I’m at a loss, here. If Luna’s not going to convert, I don’t know why you came to me about getting married.”

Marc began to shake his foot up and down. “You see, it’s my dad. He said he’d let us get married if we had a kosher Jewish wedding, according to your standards. So the only way we can be married without my dad going ballistic is if you marry us. My dad’s on the board, you know, and he said you’d do it. You will, won’t you?”

“Marc, I can’t make that decision until I have more information.” He turned to Luna. “Tell me about your spirituality.”

“Well, it doesn’t get in the way of anything Marc wants to do, with his being Jewish and all. He doesn’t go to any of the meetings or anything anyway. We each just do our own thing as far as religion goes. But spiritually, our souls are intertwined.”

“I thought you said you weren’t religious.”

“I’m not. Not the way you’d define being religious.”

“What if you ignore the way I might define being religious?”

“Then I guess I am, sort of. But it’s not like the ancient myths. We don’t sacrifice anything, or dance naked under the moon, or any of that stuff. We never did. We’re just interested in furthering our spiritual awareness and connection with the universe through the natural rhythms of the planet. I’m Wiccan.”

“Is your family Wiccan too?”

“No, they’re your standard white-bread Lutherans.”

“And you don’t plan to change anything about your religion?”

“No. Why should I? I’m not making Marc convert to Wicca, so why should I convert to Judaism?”

“Well, there’s the question of children, and how you’d raise them. But that aside, I can’t marry you.”

“Why not?” Marc’s voice had an edge to it. “We love each other.”

“I’m sure you do. And I hope everything works out for both of you. But I can’t officiate at your wedding unless both of you are Jewish, and I especially can’t while Luna is actively practicing another religion.”

Marc scoffed. “That’s so racist.”

David tried to hide his surprise. He’d heard the allegation before, but never from a member of his own congregation. “Marc, you know as well as I do that religion and race are two entirely different things. A person can’t choose the color of his skin, nor can he choose the country in which he was born. But a person can choose to convert to Judaism and by halacha—Jewish law—is accepted by the community as if he or she was born Jewish.

“I hold nothing personal against you, Luna,” he said, turning to the young woman. “But you also must understand that for religious Jews, Jewish observance is a big part of who they are. You would be left out of all that. Your children would grow up seeing their parents practice two very different religions, and that can be extremely confusing for children. Religious differences can drive a wedge between husband and wife, and they often play a significant role in divorce.”

He looked back at Marc. “My decision not to marry you has nothing to do with race or tribal identity. It has to do with wanting to ensure that a marriage isn’t destined for failure from the start, and wanting to create a religiously stable home for you and any children you may have.”

“That’s our decision, not yours,” Marc said.

David shook his head. “It is partly my decision when you want a Jewish wedding.”

“You’re going to ruin everything! We’re going to get married no matter what you say. And if it means I have to leave Judaism to do it, then I will!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Marc. I hope you’ll reconsider.”

“Sure, I’ll reconsider. I’ll ask my dad to reconsider you as our rabbi! Come on, Luna, let’s get out of here.”

With what David thought was almost a smug smile, Luna left his study with Marc. He always hated these types of meetings, hated the sense of responsibility for forcing people to choose between their heritage and love. And yet, what would that heritage mean if it was allowed to stagnate in a relationship that could never nurture it?

Kristen poked her head in the doorway. “I thought you were going to be nice, David. They looked very unhappy.”

“Don’t ask.”

“As you wish. Mr. Rosenfeld called again just a few minutes ago. He’s at the same number.”

David tried to smile and suspected it came out more as a grimace. He picked up the phone.

“She is not there, Rabbi,” Avram said with a note of panic in his voice as soon as David identified himself. “Not with any of her friends. I called everyone in her book.”

“Okay, Avram, I’m sure she’s safe. Just in case, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong here, have you called the police?”

“No! No police! The police there came after my family and took them to the camps. The police here, I have seen what they have done. Here in Minneapolis, they arrest Jews just for going in the wrong building. Do you think I want them going after my own granddaughter? My own blood?”

“I know you’ve seen a lot of hatred and violence,” David said, “but things have changed here. What you’re describing, even here in Minneapolis, took place decades ago.”

Avram’s tone was firm. “No, Rabbi. No police.”

“All right. For now.” David thought for a few moments. “Let me see what I can do, okay? I have a friend—a Jewish friend—who would know more about this than I do.”

“What should I do?”

“Just stay there in case Anna calls. I’ll get back to you as soon as I know something.”

“I will wait. Call me soon, Rabbi.”

“I’ll do my best.”

After hanging up, David reached for his rotary card file and found the business card for the Minneapolis Police Department. A name and extension had been handwritten in Hebrew on the card. He dialed the number and asked for the extension, hoping he wouldn’t be transferred to voice mail. He was in luck.

“Zahav here.”

“Arik, it’s David Cohen.”

“David! Shalom chaver!” He paused. “Is something wrong? You never call me at work.”

“I never needed to before,” David said. “I’m afraid I may have a runaway on my hands. If you’re too busy, just say so; I can make some calls here. But her grandfather is pretty upset.”

“Juvenile or adult?”

“She just turned eighteen. I guess that makes her an adult legally. But emotionally, she’s still just a kid. She’s been through a lot, Arik, and I’m concerned about her.”

“Okay. On a scale of one to ten, how serious do you think this is?”

“My instinct says a twelve.”

“I’ve seen rabbinical instinct at work before. Okay, Rabbi, you got yourself a detective.”

“Thanks, Arik.”

“So, you know the drill. Name, age, description, how long has she been missing, where was she last seen, addictions, boyfriends,
the works.”

David gave him all the information he could, noticing that Arik’s voice had developed an edge to it now that he was relating on a professional level.

“One more thing, Arik. I don’t want to make this official. Mr. Rosenfeld is very distrustful of the police and won’t file a missing persons report.”

“That wouldn’t do him any good yet, anyway. She’s legally an adult and she’s only been gone since yesterday. If she wants to leave home, there’s nothing to stop her. You do realize teens run away all the time?”

David sighed. “I’m painfully aware of that. But anything you can do without calling in the police.”

“And what do you call me? I am police, remember? You even had the luxury of seeing my badge up close when I almost arrested you the first time we met.”

David felt slightly embarrassed, even over the phone. “Don’t you get tired of bringing that up?”

“Not really. I’ll see if I can find your runaway as soon as possible, but I can’t guarantee today. I’ll have the boys—excuse the expression—check out the clubs and the university. I think I’ll have them take a run down Hennepin and our very own red light district. Bet you didn’t know we had one, did you?”

“Can’t say I did. You’re not likely to find Anna there, though. She’s—”

“A nice Jewish girl?” Arik laughed. “Trust me on this, David. You may have your rabbinical instincts, but I’ve got my cop
instincts. We’ll get her back.”

“You aren’t going to look for her yourself?”

“Can’t. I’m on loan to homicide for a while. A case I was working on has erupted into our twenty-fourth murder victim,
and if my transfer application gets approved in the next couple of weeks, I won’t have to go back to domestic assault.”

“You’re really serious about transferring into homicide?”

“What is it about all you rabbis having an aversion to my working homicide? Yes, I’m serious. Sure, it’s rated R for violence, but at least I’d no longer be forced to return kids to parents who abuse them, or be civil to wife-beaters. It’s all human brutality one way or another, and I’m tired of seeing the torture in action. Just once I’d like to catch the bad guy and see him stay in jail for more than six months.”

“Don’t we all. Listen, Arik, I’m in a bit of a legal bind on this.”

“Legal?”

“Jewish law. I know what can happen to kids like Anna, so I’m considering this a case of pikuach nefesh—the saving of a life comes before anything else. But I also realize I’m asking you to work on Shabbat.”

Arik laughed. “And you know how observant I am, right? Compared to me, my wife looks Ultra-Orthodox. I have to work tomorrow anyway, so consider yourself off the hook. If God is keeping score, it’s my ass on the line.”

“If you find Anna before Shabbat is over, and it’s an emergency . . .”

“That’s right, you don’t use the phone on Shabbat. Well, I’ll just have to come over there with full lights and sirens. It’ll give
your neighbors something to talk about.”

“I hope you won’t need to, Arik.”

“Let me put it to you this way, David. When I find her, there’s about an eighty percent chance she’s with friends and trying to hurt her grandfather out of spite, and only a fifteen percent chance she’s gotten into some sort of trouble that you wouldn’t be able to help with anyway.”

“And the remaining five percent?”

“Then you’d get to do your job at the funeral.”

© Sheyna Galyan


 

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