ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Nicole Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Kevin Berger
   Lawrence Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Zachary C. Bush
   Tony Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Merrill Cole
   Karen E. Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J. de Salvo
   J de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Ron Dvorkin
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amélie Frank
   Amelie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Jessica Healy
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Raud Kennedy
   Bernard Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Ashley King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Wolf Larsen
   Kasandra Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Hyatt Mason
   Lee Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   David McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Carl Moore
   Greggory Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Toti O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Kristena Prater
   Luke Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Rina Rose
   Emily Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
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   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
   Ashley Rumery
   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
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   Howard Sage
   Russell Salamon
   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
   John Saunders
   Lorraine Sautner
   Rati Saxena
   Iftekhar Sayeed
   Frances Schiavina
   Kim Schroeder
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   Peter Schwartz
   Sondra L. Scott
   Ken Scott
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   Justin Scupine
   LB Sedlacek
   Lisa Segal
   Anthony Seidman
   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
   Sanjeev Sethi
   John W Sexton
   Jack Allen Shafer
   Dahn Shaulis
   Tom Sheehan
   Jake Sheff
   Steve Shickman
   Nancy Shiffrin
   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
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   Apryl Skies
   Knute Skinner
   Sam Skow
   Ratpack Slim
   Lee Sloca
   Carol Smallwood
   Danielle Smith
   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
   Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
   Richard Spuler
   Matina Stamatakis
   Jan Steckel
   Julia Stein
   Eric Steineger
   Carl Stillwell
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   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
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   John Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
   Barbara A. Taylor
   Jonathan Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
   Evan Traiger
   Davide Trame
   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
   Amy Uyematsu
   Philomena van Rijswijk
   Gene van Troyer
   Wanda Vanhoy Smith
   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
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   Sharieff Walters
   John Wariner
   Deborah L Warner
   Christopher Watkins
   Brian Watson
   Lafayette Wattles
   Charlie Weber
   Ellen Webre
   Justin Weiler
   Viola Weinberg
   Florence Weinberger
   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   Leigh White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   Claire Williams
   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
   Amye Wilson
   Alicia Winski
   Tyler Joseph Wiseman
   Joseph Wistren
   Wayne Wolfson
   Terry Wolverton
   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
   Gianna Wurzl
   Abigail Wyatt
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   Julie Yi
   Gregory T. Young
   Britney Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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Kevin Stricke-9
May 2006
   

 

Bride of Shabbat

The traffic light turns green. After allotting a few moments for left
turns and yellow chasers, Dr. Avi Wolf presses the gas pedal. The black
Mercedes sedan accelerates westward along Pico Boulevard. Crossing the
sunny intersection of Pico and Robertson, Dr. Wolf looks into the rear view
mirror. In the mirror he reads a backward reflection of the words:

Moshiach is Coming!

Moshiach is the Hebrew word for the anointed one, whose arrival will
initiate the end of the world as we know it. The billboard message was
purchased by the local Haredim. Going big on this particular corner of Pico
and Robertson demonstrates a keen understanding of integrated marketing on
the part of the rabbis, what with the huge Middle Eastern produce store, the
world famous kosher candy shop, and Madonnas Kabala center all within
blocks.

The good doctor continues down Pico Boulevard. I dont know whether
Moshiach is coming, he says aloud, setting up a pleasant sing song question
he will answer himself, but if he does, hell find Avraham Wolf
following the Holy Commandments.



At age fifty-two Avi Wolfs hair is still black, though hes lost it all
on top. A large yarmulke covers the exposed, light complexioned, skull. He
isnt tall, he isnt short. He is clean shaven, and prone to smart casual
wear. Suits no tie, sweaters with leather patches, you know the kind of
thing.

Avi wears glasses and sun glasses with an extra wide bridge to
accommodate his significantly prominent nose. It extends forward a good few
inches gathering width and girth. It then dips down and loops back to the
face, just above the top lip. From profile Avis nose looks like half a
mushroom.



Dr. Wolf takes the night shift on Thursday. His arena is the Cedars-Sinai Emergency Room where he works as a reconstructive surgeon, using hands
that are steady as a rock. Religion is very important to the good doctor. Professionally speaking he deals, quite literally, in life and death. His
job is to repair the human body, to cut and sew human flesh. His . . .
customers either continue to breathe, or they do not.

For his sanity Avi says he must believe in a Lord of the Universe who is
present in the operating room when a patient reaches the brink of death. He
must believe in more than his own professional judgment, he must believe in
the judgment of an Almighty Lord and His angelic representatives. Avi could
not handle the pressure if human life was in his own mortal hands.



Dr. Wolf leaves the hospital every Friday at dawn. He journeys home
along a personalized trail of side streets. His commute includes a stop at
one of the Jewish bakeries on Pico Blvd. What a parking spot he now finds!

It could only be Hashems doing.

As he locks the Mercedes with the remote alarm, Avis eyes wander down
Pico Blvd toward the always crowded fresh produce market. In sits in what
is known as a mini mall, five stores with their own parking lot. This
mini-mall includes some restaurants specializing in kosher fast food. Kosher chicken nuggets, kosher pizza, kosher fried rice, and oh how Avi
loved those nuggets. He would take his youngest child along to camouflage
his own love of nugget batter. Now he turns away.

No nuggets, Avi, he tells himself. Theyre bad for the heart.



The bell rings as Avi enters the bakery. Its louder inside than on the
street. An elderly Russian woman hands Avi a brown paper bag. Inside are
two challahs, one raison and one plain.

Have a good Shabbas, Dr. Wolf, see you next week.

May your Shabbas be joyful too, Channa, Avi says, handing her a five
dollar bill.

How come he doesnt have to wait? a small boy asks his mother.

Avi doesnt hear the answer. Nor does he notice the scowls of women 20
numbers from being served. His feet hit the pavement; he turns right and
heads toward his Mercedes.



While unlocking the car door, Avis eyes fall on the photography shop. The business is Jewish, and besides developing film, they photograph
weddings and other simchas. This month, the large ornate frame in the shop
window displays a photograph from the Bernbaum girls bat mitzvah.

Three adult couples stand side by side, the Greenblatts, the Goldfelds,
and Sherman Silverman with his new lady friend Lisa Schwartz.Another three
couples are seated in chairs, the Steinblooms, the Bloomsteins, and between
them, Avi and Sarah Wolf.

Sarah had looked beautiful that night, Avi remembered, dressed in a
sparkling but tasteful black dress, dark blonde wig nearly the perfect match
of her real hair color. Avi looks at the photograph, pride swelling. So he
wasnt a star in Hollywood, big deal. Here he was in the store front on Pico Blvd., a star in Beverlywood.



Avi gets back into his car and continues west along Pico. He passes the
building Aaron Spelling converted from a hospital to a television studio and
then sold to a bank. He passes the car wash. He reaches Pico and Beverwil
Drive, and moves into the left turning lane.

While waiting at the intersection, Avi gazes northwest toward the
triangular skyscrapers of Century City. Here the Jews had showed their
strength. Even with all the money and development our film companies
generated, the Los Angeles white establishment didnt want us downtown or on
the beaches. They didnt want us in their country clubs.

So the Jews pooled their money, built Hillcrest, and made them play golf
on our course if they wanted our capital. We built a legal district in mid
city and moved our accounts. And the Almighty Master of the Universe
blessed our investments and by Avis first born sons bar mitzvah, the hotel
built on William Foxs back lot was providing a home away from home for that
great Israel supporter, President of the United States Ronald Reagan.



And with this sense of pride and gratitude Avi would turn left every
Friday morning on Beverwil Drive and proceed to his three bedroom home in
Beverlywood. On the way he would count his blessings: a loving wife, four
healthy children, and a thriving career. A fine automobile built by a
nation who failed to destroy us, and a home in this West LA suburb of Jewish
professional families.

Every Friday morning Avi parks in the driveway of his home, exits the car
and locks the door without activating the alarm. It will be the last time
he touches the alarm remote until Saturday evening. He pauses to admire the
front garden maintained by a lovely Mexican fellow. Avi praises the Lord
for the beauty of His creations. Then he unlocks the front door and after
greeting the housekeeper, Avi takes a five hour nap. When he awakens he
will have plenty of time to prepare for Shabbat.

This particular morning is special beyond all other mornings, not simply
because it will soon be Shabbat. Although, diyenu, that would have been
enough. Not only because this morning they prepare for tomorrows Seder to
commemorate the Jewish exodus from Egypt. Although, diyenu, it would have
been enough. This particular morning is different than all other mornings
because when Avi opens the front door this particular morning, he will greet
his beloved daughter, Ruth, home from college for Passover.



Avi and his wife Sarah have five children. David is the oldest, then
Michael, the two girls Ruth and Leah, and finally young Joshie. Davids
wife is pregnant with their first grandchild.

Ruth Wolf is eighteen years old. She attends Brandeis University, named
after Justice Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Supreme Court Justice in the
United States. Ruth flew home from Massachusetts on Thursday afternoon
giving her plenty of time to arrive in California by Friday afternoon, even
with delays. She didnt want any risk of having to travel on Shabbat.

Her father, of course, had been completely over the top in his joy at
seeing her. He was like a game show winner hamming it up for the cameras.
Except there were no cameras and she knew he was sincere. It was the same
when he returned from work this morning. No, his eyes werent deceiving
him. His daughter was home for Pesach. It was sweet.



Pesach or Passover is when Jewish families come together. Traditionally
a Jew is expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, a symbol
of the 50-year trek our people once made from Cairo to Jerusalem by way of
the Sinai Desert. In the modern world that pilgrimage is acceptably made to
a table in which you will be in the company of family and loved ones, or at
least other Jews. Its like the Jewish Thanksgiving.



Friday afternoon Ruth sits with her younger sister in the corner bedroom.

It has technically become Leahs room now that the older offspring have
left the house. This is a privilege Michael fought for and won when David
went off to Brandeis. Once Avi and Sarah succumbed to Michaels relentless
reasoning, they couldnt refuse Ruth or Leah the same opportunity.

Leah and Ruth sit on the bed rubbing moisturizer on their legs. Ruth has
dark brown eyes which sit underneath a cascade of thick black curly qs. There is a feverish alertness in her pupils which stands out against her
innocent demeanor. Ruth was born with her fathers nose. Even after a
surgeon trimmed away some of the girth, it could still hold its own in
Judea.

Leah is fourteen years old. Her hair is fair, a light brown with hints
of red in the summertime. Her nose slanted downward to create an angle with
the top lip. Leah has been the spitting image of her mother at every stage
of her life so far. A blonde her first four years, with an egg shaped torso
and tiny arms and legs. Now her suede colored hair hangs straight down
above a redistributed C-cup torso.

Leah looks up to Ruth, who is taken seriously as an intelligent person in
most situations. Leah doesnt feel like she receives the same treatment. Now she wants to know about her sisters life at college. She wants to know
if any non-Jews go to Brandeis.

There are some black people who play on the basketball team, Ruth
explains, and also a Christian girl in her dormitory who is in the process
of converting to Judaism.

What are they like? inquires Leah.

Who? replies Ruth confused.

The non-Jews.

I dont know, Ruth says, annoyed by her sisters pointed questions,
theyre just people, I guess.

Are they Christians?

I just told you, the girl in my dorm is converting to Judaism. Hello?

Hello . . . what about . . .

The black guys? asks Ruth. Upon seeing her sister smile and nod, Ruth
blushes. I dont know what religion they are.

I talked to a black guy once, Leah says cautiously.

When!? Youre lying.

I dont lie! yells Leah. I did. It was at Joshies basketball game. They played a church school, remember?

What happened?

Well . . . Aba went to tell the coach to give the ball to Joshie more,
of course, cause Joshie is the best player in the world and Aba knows best. So I was sitting alone in the bleachers and this black boy from the church
sat down next to me.

Youre not lying?

Stop saying that, Ruth!

Im sorry. Go on . . . what did he say?

He told me his name, and he held out his hand for me to shake it.

Ruth is now absolutely certain that her sister is telling the truth. She
searches Leahs body for some physical manifestation of the changes which
have matured her younger sister in the past months. She sees it. Leah had
the kind of body that makes boys shes never met walk up and speak to her.

Leah, now sure of her audience, continues with her story. I told him I
wasnt allowed to shake his hand.

You did. What did he say?

He asked if it was because hes black.

Oh . . . I would have died . . . What did you say?

Leah pauses for dramatic effect. She is squeezing a pillow. I told him
its because he isnt my husband.

Shrieks.



Downstairs Avi and Sarah can hear their daughters squealing with delight.

They smile at one another. Avi gazes at Sarah, Leah looks more and more
like her everyday. How Sarah used to look. Already Avi is uncomfortable
with the way strange men looked at Leah. Avi starts up the stairs.

The girls are happy to see each other, Sarah tells him, let Leah have
some time with her big college sister. I will clear the Hametz with you and
Joshie.

Avi is disappointed but agrees.



Oy vey ismier, Ruth is breathing heavily. She has been tugging on the
collar of her t-shirt. Her neck and cleavage are visible, rising and
falling as she laughs and shrieks. Lotion and sweat from the excitement
makes her skin glisten.

Leah continues. I said Im religious and the only men who are allowed
to touch me are my father and my brothers, and do you know what he said?

What?

He said it was tight.

He did?

Yup, so I told him my name.

Leah!!

Dont worry, Im not allowed to go to Joshies basketball games
anymore.

Good. One thing-"

Leads to another, I know. The younger sister looks down at her bare
feet. She feels ashamed of the betrayal in her story. Leah was no rebel,
far from it. Ruth was the one always asking challenging questions.

Leah knew how to accept. Accept people. Accept her role. The story of
the nice, black boy was told to impress an older sister she thought would be
impressed by such a thing. Any prurient follow through was completely out
of the question for Leah. She betrayed her Lord, Leah now felt, by giving
her sister the impression that shed even consider breaking the
commandments. Leah felt reassured by Ruths outrage.



Knock, knock. Come in, the girls say in unison.

I hope everybody is decent, Avi sing songs the set-up, because their
family is coming in.

Avi, Sarah, and Joshie enter the girls bedroom. Joshie is still
carrying the feather. He holds it up to his sisters.

You missed it, Joshie tells them, I did it with Aba and Ima.

Why didnt you come get us, Ruth asks of her father.

We were going to, Avi begins, but Ima thought you two were having a
girl talk.

Awww, you should have gotten us, Ruth says with disappointment in her
voice.

Yeah, we would have come, echoes Leah.

Avi looks at his wife in triumph. The girls look at their mother like
she is an Angel. Joshie says again, I did it myself, with Aba and Ima.



If your family never goes to the synagogue, church, mosque, or temple, or
if they go amid a chorus of sarcastic protest, you might not be able to
picture the Wolf family preparing for Shabbat. Its more like an alumni
family preparing for the homecoming game, or a family of growers headed to
the state faire. They dont want to miss a single minute of the action,
before, during, or after the main event.

The Friday night services which Avi, Sarah, Leah, and Joshie never miss
take place in one of the backyard minyans that speckle Beverlywood. On an
average Friday night, the gathering consists of about 25 people. Tonight,
with the Holy Day falling on the weekend, there will be nearly 60 people.



Lkha dodi

Likrat Kallah.

Pnei Shabbat nKablah
.



Sundown is the official beginning of the Jewish Holy Sabbath. This hymn,
sung on Friday night, personifies the Sabbath as a Bride Queen who enters
the synagogue escorted by the Day of Rest. Certain melodies have become
custom over the years, the tunes naturally vary per regional tradition.
Some say South African Jews have the best Friday night tunes. Others say
travel to the Western Wall in Jerusalem to hear the most passionate Lkha
Dodi. In my opinion, the best version of the Sabbath Queen Welcome is sung
in a rock n roll style by the residents of the Jewish rehab house in West
LA.



Tonight in Los Angeles the weather is warm. The young people are tan,
and many wear white, as is Shabbat custom in Israel. Ruth is pale from
being on the east coast, but looks exquisite with her long, curly, brown
hair dangling down over her covered shoulders. She wears a blue, long
sleeve shirt over a white long sleeve. She wears a long, white, cotton
skirt which reaches down to her shins. On her feet Ruth wears closed toed
leather sandals. She wears a large wood beaded necklace which her father
bought in Jerusalem. All the younger women crowd around her. Avis pride
swells, well-meaning and justified.

In the little village within Los Angeles that is Beverlywood, Avi Wolf is
having his day. Everyone notices the class exuded by Ruth in her role as
daughter returned from college intact. In the Orthodox community, respect
for such things is paid to the father and mother who have evidently raised
their child right.

If a young Jewish man was interested in making Ruth Wolf a young Jewish
bride, he would proceed to her father. The Jews rival any Old World
traditional machismo when it comes to marrying my daughter. It is not
uncommon for a funeral to be held when an offspring chooses to marry out
thereby ending his or her limb of the Jewish bloodline. As a matter of
fact, that little beauty happened in my own family tree.



Jeff Gluckstein has an outside chance. Hes an outsider with an in. Jeff is in Los Angeles visiting his Uncle Ivan, who lives in Beverlywood and
prays with the Wolfs on Friday nights. Jeff decided to spend the Passover
in L.A. instead of Chicago, his home town.

Ivan Gluckstein noticed that his nephew was intrigued by Ruth Wolf and
made a move to intercept. If Jeff had a genuine interest his uncle would
support that, but it had to be done properly. Ivan would vouch for him and
he would be formally introduced to Avi. The lad would present his case. His cause would certainly be considered more closely if it included a sound
financial package, but the main concern would be: do you have what it takes
to create a Jewish home for our daughter?

Jeff Gluckstein has what it takes theoretically. He is handsome,
competent and most importantly, Jewish. His family raised him as a Jew, but
for Jeff religion isnt at the center of his perception of the world. For him
religion is, well, kind of a pain in the ass. But it seemed reasonable that
if he was staying with his uncle and aunt and young cousins he would follow
their custom. He would attend Friday night service and actually follow in
the book and participate in the prayers.

The service is now over. Blessings are said over wine and bread and the
socializing begins. Uncle Ivan is standing apart with a piece of challah in
his hand, composing words for introducing his nephew to Dr. Avi Wolf as a
suitor for his friends daughter. Jeff is crossing the room to speak with
Ruth himself, unaware of his Uncles plan.

Ruth and the three teenage girls shes speaking with stop talking when
Jeff approaches. They look at him trying to appear expressionless. He
smiles and says Shabbat Shalom. Crunch goes the sound of the ice breaking
under Jeffs calm, confident voice.

Shabbat Shalom, the girls reply in return.

Im Jeff Gluckstein, he says with emphasis on the Gluckstein.

Oooh, says one of the girls, so youre related to Ivan and Rivka?

Theyre my aunt and uncle.

The girls nod in understanding.

What made you come here? asks another of the girls.

I go to school on the East Coast and I wanted to be warm . . . so Uncle
Ivan invited me for Passover.

Where do you go to school on the East Coast? asks Ruth.

Gluckstein turns to face her. Im a senior at Tufts.

Ruths wild eyes divulge her excitement. It may be the first time since
she moved to Massachusetts, that shes speaking to an East Coaster on the
West Coast. Jeff chooses to believe shes excited about his rugged physique
and the possibility of getting her hands on it.

I go to Brandeis! Ruth says.

Wow, um . . ., Jeff replies with a Jewish pause, the kind that locks in
your chance to speak while giving you a moment to formulate your words,
thats just up the road.

Yeah, says Ruth, laughing.

Jeff turns his body to include the group of girls and not just Ruth. He
smiles. The girls all smile and look at their feet.

I am so in, thinks
Jeff. He throws out a question that starts as a group question but ends
with his eyes on Ruth. So whats everybody doing after this? Any parties
. . . or? Anyone wanna go see a show . . .

You could not be more out, Gluckstein. The girls all look at each other.

Out of pity one of them says well all be with our families, nice to meet
you. One by one the girls walk in separate directions away from Jeff,
giggling and rolling their eyes. All four will have a young sibling in
their arms within minutes.

Left alone in the spot where seconds before he had been surrounded by the
females of his generation, Jeff looks up. All the men of his uncles
generation are looking right at him. His finds Uncle Ivans eyes. Jeff
raises his wine cup in a non-denominational, unspecified toast.

copyright 2006 Kevin Stricke-9