Friday, 5 May 2017

Will this book begin a series?

Jewish romances
Here are the opening pages of my e-book  Aliyah, on sale at  Amazon,Draft2Digital, and  Smashwords

   As the story includes Yiddish terms, I have included a glossary of the terms I used in the story.

Aliyah - A homecoming for the people of Israel, a call to return to your homeland from wherever you may be.
Shalom - The traditional greeting akin to Hello.
Zevel - A Hebrew term meaning rubbish.
L' Chaim means "To life," similar to the toast "Cheers."
B'ezrat HaShem means With God's help or good luck.
Shalom Aleichem is a term meaning "Peace be upon on."
Aleichem Shalom is the traditional response to Shalom Aleichem, it means "Unto you Peace."
Shavua Tov is a greeting that means "Have a good week."
Oy vey is a term that relates to saying "Oh Lord!"
Mizman loh hitraehnu is a phrase that means "Long time no see."
Atah tzabar o oleh, this phrase has the meaning "Are you a native of Israel, or an immigrant?"
Ani meh Dimona means "I'm from Dimona."
Lehitraot carries the meaning "Goodbye for now."

     Jehoiakim Altland, the Jewish journalist, woke with a start, his heart pounding and his body dripping with a cold sweat that made his pajama top stick to him. He raised his tired body against the pillow at his back, and wiping the sleep from his eyes he got out of bed and walked the few yards to the bathroom in the small apartment he'd called home in years he'd lived in the UK. The apartment was a running joke between Jehoiakim and his editor, Abir Moszkowicz. Jehoiakim's point is that he spends so little time in the apartment, why bother having more than the basics. To which Abir would contend that when he did take a break, he needed to have some comforts in life to look forward to when he stopped working.

    He glanced at the clock by his bed through blurry, sleep-deprived eyes, and seeing it was too late to go back to sleep and too early to go to work, he got up to run a glass of water to take the pills the doctor had prescribed for his heart. After running the tap to get the water cold, he poured himself a glass of water and stumbled back to his bed. Sitting on the bed, staring out at the city still waking up, he thought "How many more nights am I going to lose with images of this lady? How many more sleepless nights can I endure before I end up going mad through lack of sleep?"

     He sat on the bed fiddling with the blankets and trying to think where he'd seen the mysterious lady in his dreams, but the harder he tried, the more his mind fogged, and the elusive woman seemed to vanish. Jehoiakim had suffered endless sleepless nights, and finally, his mind snapped. He leaped to his feet, and in a fit of rage, he threw his glass against the wall, "Stay calm, the last thing you need is for Abir to find you dead," he thought as he felt his heart began to race and his vision blur.
     After a short rest,  he got dressed and went to get his car in the basement where he'd parked it the night before. He was in such a state he almost passed his car before he realized where he was. He loathed taking a break. That had been the driving force behind his success on the paper: he never knew when to call it a day with a story. This story had become a personal mission; something was niggling at the back of his mind. He couldn't think what it was, and that is what worried him.
     The drive was a short one to the offices, but Jehoiakim stopped off in a cafe to have a coffee to attempt to calm his shaking, while he was there he phoned ahead to Abir, "Abir, could you spare me for two weeks? I think I need a vacation. I want to go on an Aliyah, a homecoming back to Israel. I have something that I need to do to attempt to clear up for my peace of mind. I'll tell you more when I get to the office."
    Abir didn't take long to reply, "Of course, you can take the time; this is only the third time you've asked for a vacation in the eight years that you've worked here. This trip must be important to you to request the time off. I am intrigued to find out the reason for your request."
    After the 20-minute drive from his lodgings to the office where he worked, he pulled into the office car park and stopped his engine. The longer he thought about his situation; the more Jehoiakim was puzzled about what was going on. Being Jewish, he'd learned the value of staying calm, reasoning things out, and not making rushed decisions, but the more he tried to reason his problem, the more he found himself at a loss.
     Abir watched as his disheveled friend entered the room in a rush, and said to his secretary, Joanna, "This looks like being a long morning; can you make some coffee please?" Abir opened the door to his office for his friend and walked over to his seat behind the desk. "Shalom. Before we get to the reason for your request for the Aliyah, when do you want the time off?"
    Jehoiakim replied, "Shalom, Abir. I must apologize for my appearance and the rushed entrance; I have many things on my mind. When is it suitable for the paper for me to take my vacation?"
    Abir shrugged his broad shoulders, and then replied, with typical Jewish humor in his tone, "You ask, when can I let you go? My friend, you so rarely ask for time off."  Abir laughed, and then continued, "I am usually the one begging you to take a vacation or lose the time. You are the paper's best writer, but unless you take a break once in awhile, I fear you'll repeat the nervous breakdown you had the year you arrived. You were so keen to impress, you drove yourself to exhaustion, All I can say is tell me when you want your Aliyah, and I'll book the dates in the calendar for you. I can tell by your appearance that something serious is going on, in all the years of our friendship, you've never seemed so on edge and looked so ragged."
     Jehoiakim replied, "You're right, there are too many things on my mind, and I'm worried I'll have a breakdown if I can't sort at least the main issues out soon. I'd like to fly to Israel next week if you can spare me. Abir. I recall those days well, my friend. I recall thinking my writing at the time as a hack writer is zevel. "
      Abir smiled and said, "You may have been rough around the edges, but your work was far from rubbish. I always admired your tenacity and devotion to the truth." Raising his hands to the heavens, Abir added, "Even if it does make you enemies in high places. Don't worry about the dates, consider the dates booked. Now, can you please enlighten me about what made you ask for time off."
     Joanna came in and put the coffee pot on the table in front of Jehoiakim. After thanking her, Jehoiakim continued their discussion, "For the last two weeks, I've had vivid dreams about taking an Aliyah. I can't tell you why this year of all years. Something is driving me to return this year. In these dreams, I see a beautiful mature woman with a full figure and dark brown hair beckoning me to the shores of
Eilat, or at least I think it's Eilat."
    Abir sipped his coffee and was deep in thought. After a while, he replied, "You and mature women, will nothing change. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you haven't been to Israel in the last five years - other than for the job in Tel Aviv - have you?"
     Jehoiakim didn't need to think about his answer, "No, you are right. I haven't been to my homeland since then. That job was important to us, and I spent the week in Tel Aviv ."
     Abir continued with his line of inquiry by asking, "In that case, what makes you think your dream was about Eilat and not Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem, Jehoiakim?"
    "Abir, the only thing that comes to mind is I can hear jazz music playing in the background."
     Abir smiled as he realized his friend could be right. Eilat holds an annual music festival, but something else was intriguing him, "Have you any idea who the woman is? Have you thought of anyone recently who could have triggered your thoughts?"
     After a little thought, Jehoiakim replied, "No, I have no idea who she is. Most of my dreams have been about the trip. It's only in the last week that she has appeared in my mind."
     There followed a short silence. Then the phone rang. After putting the phone back in the cradle, Abir said, "Joanna has booked your flight and hotel; all you need to do is pack and relax."
      Jehoiakim glanced around at the map on the wall showing the areas covered by the paper, and then said, "Relaxing is the last thing I can do, Abir. This story could be a big story for our paper. I don't want to mess things up."
     Abir rose from his chair and walking past Jehoiakim on his way to the cabinet to get a file out, and he said, "Listen to yourself. For once, take a break and relax. Who knows, this woman might turn out to be the holiday romance you need to calm down."
    Jehoiakim rose from his chair and paced around the office, first looking out at the throbbing world outside the window, and then at the world map on the office wall. He walked to where Abir was standing and asked his friend, "Do you think I still push myself too hard, Abir?"
    Abir turned from the cabinet and replied, "If you are asking the question, you know in your heart what the answer is. You do need to take this trip back to Israel. I think if you don't go, you'll end up having a breakdown. One thing still puzzles me."
     Jehoiakim scratched the stubble on his chin and replied,"What's puzzling you?"

    Abir gave a slight shrug, "You still haven't told me why you want to go this year?"

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