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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Torah in the street

High tech meets more than its match

January 1st, 2016

BY ROCHELLE F. SINGER

Here I am, another late afternoon just me and my computer in my cubicle, working on a presentation about a highly competitive, cutting-edge device guaranteed to eclipse background noise on cellphone calls. When, lo and behold, out of Kafkaland, drums roll and trumpets blast from down on Shenkar Street, penetrating double-glazed windows and shattering the notion that background noise can, or should, be silenced.

“Oy, yo, yo, yo, yo, Mashiach!”

Is the messiah really here in the heart of Israel’s most elite, high-tech neighborhood? Is he riding a white donkey?

I rush to the window and throw it open. The black-and-white street is flooded in color. Young drummers dressed in red, black hats dancing in delirious circles, a white truck crowned in gold and studded with loudspeakers, women in glossy wigs and shiny multicolored scarves pushing baby carriages, a Filipina pushing her elderly ward in a wheelchair, and blue-and-white police cars sealing off the rejoicing masses. Throngs of onlookers are agape, pointing and snapping photos from their cellphones.

torahAnd in the middle of all of this hullaballoo its raison d’être: a Torah. A brand new Torah being welcomed into the fold. Hidden modestly under a canopy of green velvet draped on four poles, it is barely visible from where I stand on the second floor of a corporate office. So I rush downstairs to greet it.


“The women’s section is back there!” he shouts, pointing.
I look at him in disbelief. He keeps pointing. I have no choice but to set him straight.

“This isn’t your street. It’s public. And I work here, so that makes it more my street than yours.”

I show him my exposed shoulders, hoping to make him turn away. He does, but this doesn’t stop him from growling in my general direction.

“This street is now a synagogue, he shouts. “Go back, I said!”

“Like hell!” I say, thrusting my cellphone camera into the holy circle.

Luckily for me, the Torah is immune to my bare shoulders. It lets me photograph it being passed from one man’s hands to another’s, leaving one shoulder to be cradled in the next, some broad, others bent, all grateful. It lets me shoot it being made such a fuss over. I want to kiss my fingers and extend them to the Torah, but this seems more than the crowd can tolerate.

Even from a few arms’ length away, though, I know it feels my joy. I know it knows that I will not give up on it, that its heritage is mine.

The parade moves slowly down the street, hugged at the rear by rush-hour traffic. Not a horn is honked, not a complaint is heard — well, maybe because the noise of celebration reigns supreme.
I head back into my office, cheering silently for the Torah. •

Posted by: The Editors
Category: 13th Anniversary Issue, Singer | Link to this Entry

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