The Bird’s Visit

CaptureMy Featured Blogger this week is Rachel Mankowitz of The Cricket Pages. Rachel is a gifted professional writer and writing coach who also teaches Hebrew language classes. I know you’ll enjoy Rachel’s blog posts, but I’d particularly like to point you toward her novel Yeshiva Girl (mentioned at the end of her post). I just finished reading it and wholeheartedly recommend it!

Yeshiva Girl is a subtle, nuanced, funny, and ultimately moving story about an Orthodox Jewish teenager Izzy’s struggle to find her sense of place and self at a time when her family life has been upended by charges of sexual abuse against her father. The story, which features marvelous character development and dialogue, is driven not so much by what happens as what doesn’t happen. It’s about what bubbles beneath the surface: longing, repression, and fear-driven inaction.

Read Rachel Mankowitz. Read Yeshiva Girl!

rachelmankowitz

During the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (the Days of Awe) a bird came to visit my apartment. She showed up midday on Saturday; she was just there when I came back in from walking the dogs, flapping her wings against the inside of the living room window, inches away from the space where she must have accidentally come in (there’s a space next to the air conditioner that Mom uses to give the neighborhood birds their snacks). I tried to show the bird the exit, as gently as possible, but she ignored me.

IMG_1218 “I’m staying.”

I, of course, took pictures of her flying around the apartment, from light fixture to curtain rod to picture frame, thinking she would be leaving at any moment. And when I left to pick up Mom from the train (she’d been out quilting with friends for the day), I was sure the…

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About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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11 Responses to The Bird’s Visit

  1. hettystuart says:

    A beautiful story, this bird one. I’ve ordered the book from the local library – they’re having trouble finding it. Too bad, as I think it’ll make an excellent book club story.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you so much!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eliza says:

    Thanks for sharing it

    Liked by 1 person

  4. She’s one of the people I read and I too have read her novel. It is powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was given a copy of “My Name is Asher Lev” years ago. I’m looking forward to Ms. Mankowitz’s depiction of modern life in an orthodox family. As one from a non-Jewish Scots-Irish background, where families are frequently something one can’t wait to be disassociated with, geographically and otherwise, Jewish family life, with its mutual support, bonds of knship — just, apparent togetherness, intrigues me deeply. I know there are frustrations with such close kinship but there is a deep longing for it, in people like me anyway. Shalom.

    Liked by 1 person

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