We listened as the Rabbi called out the names of the departed as is the Jewish custom.  My daughter and I sat near the back of the synagogue; we were among the last to enter.

The elderly guardian of the door had limped across the entry to let us in. Her left foot dragged, but her warm grin welcomed.

Did she also smile at the Hipster when he knocked, a bit later?

He entered the sanctuary as the Rabbi began her sermon and slid into a seat behind us. The man was in his twenties, immaculate in his suit and suspenders. A blue wool cap tilted on his head—was this in place of a kippah? Incongruously, he also wore heavy combat boots. My daughter later identified his style of dress as Hipster.

The congregation was quiet, intent on the words of the Rabbi.

“Joseph was the darling of his father. So much so his brothers hated him and schemed to get rid of him. They threw him into a pit—”

A loud BANG turned out to be a heavy prayer book smashing down on the back of our wooden pew, not the first bullet from an AK-47 assault weapon.

The ricochet of sound stopped the Rabbi in mid-parable. A wave of alarm swept over the room.

The Hipster stood gripping the prayer book high and spoke to the Rabbi by name.

“Rabbi Luria, what authority do you have to lecture me—”

“Sir, I’ll be happy to speak with you after the service.”

“I need to know now—”

“Please leave, sir.”

Around the room, broad-shouldered men in yarmulkes rose and strode toward the Hipster.

“I am a righteous man,” he muttered, as he left the pew and hastened out the sanctuary door.

Someone got a partial of his car’s license plate, but the police never found him or his vehicle. The Hipster’s motives are still a mystery. The fear he instilled in our congregation remains and donations for more security added a guard for each event in the future.

My Jack would have led the defenders of our Sabbath. But the Rabbi called his name as one of the lamented.

Dead these five years—today.

Article by Author/s
Phyllis Houseman
Phyllis Houseman was born in Detroit and received degrees from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. She served in the Peace Corps, Ecuador, and then taught Biology and Physical Science in Detroit and California schools. In a step into another career, Phyllis has published several novels and short stories.

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