“She felt very light-headed, and her thighs were trembling as she handed the scissors off to the first guest in line. She crumpled into a folding chair and sat beside Yossi as each person took their turn at his head, dropping coins or stuffing tightly folded bills into the tzedakah box he balanced on his lap. Leah closed her eyes.
When she opened them, Yehuda was murmuring the blessing for tzitzis, and slipping the garment over a small boy’s shorn head. Yehuda was placing a kippah atop that head. The boy was reaching for one of the aleph-bet cookies that Leah had baked, dipping it into the small dish of honey that sat on the cookie platter, and shoving the sweetness of Torah learning into his smiling scarlet mouth. This child, this giggling boy with golden payos, was eating the cookies she’d baked for Yossi. He was sitting in Yossi’s booster, wearing Yossi’s suit, beaming over the Bat Signal Yehuda had painted for his son, her precious boychik.
Leah sprang to her feet, gasping for air. Yossi! she shrieked. Yossi, where are you?”
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One thought on “The Shearing of Yossi Mandelbaum at Syntax & Salt”
Oh, my darling friend, this is a most beautiful work. Though wrapped in a thoroughly Jewish experience, the emotion you’ve captured is universal.