Posts Tagged ‘Judaism’

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Cast of Wonders 509: Far From the Home I Love


Far From The Home I Love

by Y.M. Resnik

“Let me get this straight. You were born on Earth, but your passport is Venusian?”

The condescension seeps through the plexiglass barrier separating me from the visa agent. It blankets me in icy disdain. Chides me for having the chutzpah to think that returning home could be easy.

I nod in the affirmative, trying to still my shaking hands as I retrieve the required documents out of my bag. I’ve followed the instructions meticulously, right down to bringing everything in triplicate. Ari helped me prepare the application. They’ve always been more detail oriented than I am.

The electronic Siddur in my bag grazes my fingers, reminding me why I am here. I pull it out and clutch the worn synthetic leather carrying-case to my chest as the agent shuffles through the paperwork. I am half tempted to recite one of the prayers found inside, but decide against it. What if the visa agent flags it as suspicious behavior? There aren’t many religious Jews on Venus. Ari and I probably make up a quarter of that population.

“Do you at least have your expired passport?” The agent is fumbling now, casting her eyes about frantically as if searching for the lost passport. Well, she can search until the Messiah comes. She won’t find anything. I didn’t have a passport when I fled. (Continue Reading…)

raging river

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Cast of Wonders 501: Across the River


Across the River

by Leah Cypess

When the sorcerer walked through the town gates, I was standing with my friends Reuven and Yitzchak in the square, which was not where we were supposed to be. Reuven should have been in the study hall, where his wife had directed him to go. Yitzchak should have been at the market, helping his father. And I should have been resting my voice, since that evening, for the first time, I was going to be allowed to lead the prayers in synagogue—an honor I had been hoping for and practicing for, but that I now, somewhat nervously, wished was not coming so soon. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 376: The Ways of Walls and Words (Banned Books Week)


The Ways of Walls and Words

by Sabrina Vourvoulias

Solitreo

“If it were not for Thee, what would become of me?”

She’s not speaking to me when she says this. Her poetry nests behind a prison’s walls. I am an unknown noise on the other side of her door—the only spot where sound enters or exits her world—a sweep of bristle against wood, some transitory trace of life that has nothing to do with her.

She and her people are in cells lined along a corridor in the deepest reaches of the convent. On occasion the mentally disturbed have been kept here, tended to and made safe by walls so thick they are more than an arm’s length. These people, however, are all one family: a mother; an adult son; four older daughters; and this one, who has spent nearly half her life in here.

That was all the information the Dominican Brothers shared with me the day I started. Except that I must not attempt to speak to the girl or her family through their doors. The Brothers made me swear this before I swept even one stone.

In the language I share with jailer and jailed, my name is Bienvenida, though my Nahuatl name is different. By the Brothers’ reckoning, it has been 1,562 years since the death of God. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 247: The Golem of Deneb Seven

Show Notes

Theme music is “Appeal to Heavens” by Alexye Nov, available at MusicAlley.com.


The Golem of Deneb Seven

By Alex Shvartsman

I was eleven years old when the war came to the Deneb system.

At first, we didn’t know that anything was wrong. Mom and Dad were clearing the table after dinner, Avi was building some sort of a castle out of plastic construction blocks, Sarah was asleep in her crib, and Grandpa was reading one of his thick Hebrew books, leaning into the volume and squinting a little by candlelight. I sulked because I was going be the only girl in my class to miss Karen’s birthday party tomorrow.

There would be no chatting or video games for me that evening, or until after dinner the following night, because we weren’t supposed to use electricity on Shabbos. This weekly routine was difficult to accept while living in the place where few others shared our beliefs. It was far more frustrating this time around, because Dad wouldn’t drive on Shabbos, either, and that meant I had no way to get to Karen’s party. All the other girls were going to be there. Her parents were bringing in a magician all the way from the city, and it had been the talk of the school for weeks. So I sulked, wondering why God didn’t want me to have any fun.

For lack of anything better to do, I was staring out the window when I saw a streak of white light shoot across the night sky. I watched it fall toward the ground in a great wide arc, but before it completed its downward journey there was another, and another.

“Look, Dad, quick! A meteor shower!” I waved him over and pressed my face against the glass. Father set down the salad bowl and came over. He stood behind me and peered out the window. The sky was raining with shooting stars.

(Continue Reading…)