The neighbor’s mouth puckered between her weathered cheeks. She glared at Arel and thrust a spear like finger in his direction. “I’m telling you, Officer, I hear this commotion almost every night. That beast is beating up on this poor helpless gal. It’s a crying shame, her being in a family way and crippled besides. Why he oughta be horsewhipped! Just look at them scars, any dang fool can tell he’s a brawler.”
Arel’s gray eyes turned black. He tugged his nightcap trying to hide the scars that trailed from his forehead to his chin. His thin lips tightened over his clamped teeth.
Havah’s chest buzzed like an angry hornet. How dare this wicked woman make such accusations! Clenching her good hand into a fist, Havah tripped toward her, but Arel’s fingers tightened around her shoulder.
~~Taken from From Silt and Ashes by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Published (December 2015) by Argus Publishing
Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency
Raised to walk in his father’s footsteps as a rabbi in the Old Country, Arel Gitterman turned from his vocation when his first wife, Gittel died in childbirth. He felt unworthy to teach Torah since he had been unfaithful in his heart and mind for, in the midst of his arranged marriage to the sweet young woman, he still longed for Havah.
Like Havah, Arel sustained both physical and emotional injuries in the Kishinev pogrom. Scars from a nearly fatal beating obscure half of his face.
Adapting to his new life as an American, he works as a tailor in his brother-in-law’s shop, a job that fits him like a well-made suit.
The birth of a less than perfect child puts a strain on Arel and Havah’s marriage. After all they have been through together, he’s not sure he’s up to the challenge.
As the family faces another tragedy, Arel learns that God’s light shines brightest in times of darkness.
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