The shule was full. It was packed with bodies intent on repentance, focused on their sins against Gd and their fellow men and women, inspired by a race towards atonement.
Well, at least, Reeva hoped they were. There was a chance that many of the people on either side of the mechitzah were equally focused on making it through the service – of getting to the end of another Yom Kippur without fainting or snapping or feeling too wretched.
Perhaps there were some, like Reeva, who were held in place, locked in their seats, by the people around them and by the urge to feel their way past the doubt and confusion and self-criticism that plagued them.
It was the second Al Chet of Mussaf, the second confession of sins in the additional service during the day of Yom Kippur. Hours had passed already, with the clock on the wall edging forward to the arrival of the long-awaited break from prayer rich with personal and communal intensity and buoyed by the ethereal quality of a body that has not eaten nor drunk for a day.
If I showed you what’s going on under the covers, would you still love me?
It’s been far too long since I put my head outside into the world and no one is to blame but me. I’m sorry.
My novel, the one I’ve been promising forever, the one about a levirate love story (yibbum), is finally starting to come together. I’m excited, I think it’s going to be good!
Would you like to have a look at the opening scene? Please keep in mind that this is pre-edit and that things may change, but I wanted to share it with you…
They had only been sitting shiva for a few hours; the first hours of a week-long formalized period of mourning that Abigail expected would seem like an eternity. She already felt as though she had been sitting for days on this low mourner’s stool. As was if she brought with her a cumulative sensation, the feeling in her body after weeks of sitting by Ben’s hospital bed. That same stiffness; the numbness she experienced after waking up in a chair – another set of hours in the same unnatural position, waiting for Ben to wake up.
Adam, author of biblical and talmudic erotic and orthodox taboo stories, has been around for a while, writing his unique erotic prose, interspersed with erudite commentary based on rabbinic sources, but now the only place he can be found is in the stories he has left on Jewrotica.
I first discovered Adam’s absence when I went to drop him a shana tova email – and the email bounced back! So I searched online – and to my (unpleasant) surprise I quickly learnt that his Amazon presence had been erased, his social media profiles deleted …he was gone!
Sorry to see you go Adam. You and your contributions will be missed. I hope your your choice to step away from writing Orthodox erotica was as a result of good things and that life is treating you well.
Or should it be sex, death, and marriage? Hello from the depth of my creative cave.
I’ve been offline for a long time (sorry) trying to dig my way through this novel about Abigail, her husband, Ben, and his brother, Daniel, all of whom are caught in the love triangle that is a Levirate marriage (or yibbum as it is known in Hebrew).
It’s been slow going – unfortunately, I’ve thrown out somewhere in the region of 50,000 words – but I am now beginning to believe again that this novel will come to an end and will be published sometime this year.
I know it may seem like all is quiet on the Shosha front, but in truth in between the demands of life, I am slowly working away on a couple of projects – one of which is a novel with a Levirate marriage (in Hebrew, a yibbum) as the central narrative concern.
Interestingly, the concept of a Levirate marriage can be found in a number of different cultures and religions. In Judaism, the basic obligation of the law is that if a married man dies childless, his brother is required to marry his window and his widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother – thus ensuring a continuation of the genetic line of the deceased man.
Fortunately, in Judaism there is a get out of jail free card. Performing the ritual of halizah allows either (or both) party to be released from the obligations of the Levirate marriage. Once halizah occurs, both parties can go off and marry whoever they choose. (Obviously, there’s more to it. Wikipedia has some good overview articles on Levirate marriage, yibbum and halizahif you are interested.)
My story’s coming along nicely – the idea has so much dramatic (and romantic) potential. Doing some research during chol hamoed Pesach – the intermediary days of Passover – I stumbled across a movie on the subject.
Loving Leah follows the story of Jake and Leah. Leah has recently been widowed by her rabbi husband, Benjamin. When Benjamin’s non-observant brother Jake is required to perform the halizah ceremony he backs out – and suddenly Jake and Leah are married.
Loving Leah is a Hallmark movie. I think it’s interesting that Hallmark went with a subject like this, but if you’re looking for sex scenes, you’re going to be disappointed with this film. Nonetheless, it’s cute – so if you are interested in watching it, you will find below a the trailer and the full movie (I’m assuming the full movie is unauthorized, but I have heard rumours that sometimes content providers allow unauthorized sharing and split the profits from advertising revenues. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fair, right?).
For anyone who has any insights on Levirate marriages/yibbum or halizah, please comment below or send me an email, message me on Facebook or tweet me. In my other life I’m doing some academic research for my Masters’ Degree on the subject and I would love to hear from you.
Hope you all had a good Passover – full of liberation and redemption.
PS. The picture is Rembrandt’s painting of Yehudah (Judah) and Tamar – perhaps the most famous story exemplifying the Levirate marriage.
I know, you thought this day might never come – but it has! I’m thrilled to announce that Her Neighbor’s Pleasure is now live and available for FREE download on a number of online retail platforms. Here are some of the places you can find it:
Amazon.com (the US site) is offering the book for free but annoyingly, Amazon stores in other countries are still selling the story at a price (it’s not much, but it’s not FREE!). For anyone outside of the US who wants a Kindle version of the file just log in to the members’ section of this site and you will find the files ready for download. For anyone else, please, please go to the retail sites I have listed above to get your copy – and tell all your friends!! The more downloads the book gets the more visible it becomes to new readers.
Anyway, it’s all very exciting and as always please consider leaving a review if you can – each one makes a difference.
Happy reading – I really hope you enjoy the story of Esther and Sholem. I know I did – but then, they’re like my new best friends now 🙂
I’m late, I’m so sorry! I know I promised a January release of my story, ‘Her Neighbor’s Pleasure’, but life (read: family, work, other stuff) just gets in the way sometimes. The exciting news is, however, that I have sent the story off to my proof-reader which means we’re nearly there!!
What I’m looking for now are a few early readers willing to leave a review of the book on Amazon (or on one of the other online retailers where it will be available) so that the book doesn’t look all lonely and sad when it is published.
What do you think? Would you like to get an early copy (free, of course) and leave me an honest review?If so, just send me an email and let me know that you’re in.
It’s taken a while, I know, but at last my short story collection is now available in paperback. Hurray!
Ebooks are great, but if you’re anything like me, it’s good to have something you can hold in your hands – and, perhaps more importantly, something you can read on Shabbat!
The stories are currently only available for order through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or through the various European Amazon sites. But in a few weeks they will also be available via other online stores, so stay tuned!
And you will see from the image here that I have tried to make the cover as discreet as possible – making it appropriate for reading while commuting (I dare you!) or for cursory glimpses by your in-laws.
If you are interested in buying a copy (thank you!) just be aware that this is a slim volume because the stories are all fairly short. With that in mind, I have set the price as low as possible.
I have also made the ebook free on Amazon for five days from December 31 so you can download a copy from Amazon at the same time that you pick up your paper edition (!). And, of course, fear not, the ebook will remain free on this website if you miss the Amazon sale.
As always, please consider leaving an honest review of the stories on your local Amazon site – it really helps – or drop me a line if you have any thoughts you’d like to share.
Wishing you a safe and delight-filled end to 2015.
Finally, my new novelette, ‘Her Neighbor’s Pleasure’, is almost ready! It is currently with my editor and, PG, should be peeking its little head out into the world next month.
I’m so excited!
In case you haven’t seen my story summary on the front page, the book is about:
Esther is a rabbi’s daughter, a rabbi’s wife, a teacher, and the mother of three young children. She is also more than a little fascinated by the young married couple who live in the apartment across from hers. When, late one night, she accidentally witnesses her neighbors having sex, Esther’s life is turned upside down. Hit by a sudden and inescapable sexual awakening, Esther must navigate the chaos that pursues her marriage, her husband and, most of all, herself.
If that sounds like fun, please make sure you are on my mailing list so that I can let you know as soon as it is available.
I’ve developed a real love of my central characters, Esther and Sholem, and so I’m thrilled to be able to share their story with you soon.
Hope you all had a Chanukah sameach! I, for one, will not be making any more latkes for a while!