Recap: Someone is shining a light in the window of the house and Jordie tells Zevi to duck. Then he tells him they should leave the house. Zevi wants to know what’s going on. They leave through a back window, and Jordie says they should go to Zevi’s aunt’s house. When they get there, she was expecting them. Jordie explains that his parents are part of an Israeli intelligence anti-terrorism group, and Zevi’s parents went to Israel to help. Zevi has a brown envelope with important information and an FBI agent is coming to get it. Someone from the terrorist group must have found out about the envelope, and that’s why they had to leave the house.


I prayed that my parents were safe and that no one would come back to look for us. I did not want to meet any terrorists.

“Shouldn’t you like put that brown envelope with the important information in a safe or something?”

“Mr. Donaldson is coming early this morning to get it.” Jordie’s words slurred with sleep.

I said as much T’hilim as I could, and then I asked Hashem to protect us, and I tried to sleep. I listened to every creaking noise, and I noticed any flash of light from outside.

I must have finally fallen asleep because Jordie was tapping me on the shoulder.

“Something’s wrong. Mr. Donaldson should have been here by now. I’m not sure what to do.”

I glanced at the wall clock in the room. The early morning light was dim, but I made out the time. It was 5:30 a.m.

“It’s too early,” I said.

“No, he should’ve been here.”

As I started feeling more awake, I remembered that I was sleeping in Aunt Ellie’s basement, hiding from someone, and it could’ve been that person I’d seen pass by in a black car on our way to Minchah the day my parents had left, and we’d been waiting for an FBI agent.

“So, wait. Wasn’t the agent going to come to my house? He wouldn’t know we are here,” I said, sitting up in bed.

“No, I sent a code message with my phone. He knew to come here. Something went wrong. Mr. Donaldson should have been here.”

The house was quiet except for the ticking of a clock on the bedstand.

“Can you send a code to say he didn’t come?”

“It’s not as simple as that. The code changes every day, and they didn’t send me a new one yet. I don’t know what we should do.”

Aunt Ellie came downstairs. “The agent didn’t come,” she said matter-of-factly.

Jordie shook his head. “I’m not sure what to do.”

“Well, you still have that document. Keep it hidden and sit tight here until he comes.”

“I hate pulling you into this.”

“My brother and my husband are already in. We’re honored to help keep Jews safe. That’s a huge mitzvah. If this terrorist organization can be exposed, it will save thousands of lives,” she said.

I felt goose bumps. “What’s in that envelope?” I pointed to it like it was a bomb.

“I don’t know exactly but––”

Suddenly, we heard a car motor. Headlights reflected off the ceiling. We all instinctively ducked.

Aunt Ellie scooted over to the window and gazed outside.

The car had already left. “I think it was the newspaper delivery,” she said.

I let out a breath.

“Should I stay here this morning, too?” I asked.

“No, you should go to work and do your normal routine.” Aunt Ellie threw me a smile. “It’s best to keep busy and, speaking of that, Uncle Yosef will take you to shul soon.” She turned to Jordie. “He would take you, too, but this morning I think it best if you stay here.”

We heard the baby crying. “I have to go get Ahuvah. She gets up every morning at six a.m. She’s our built-in alarm clock.”

Aunt Ellie was trying to lighten the atmosphere, but my stomach was in like a thousand knots. How would I go to shul and to my lifeguard job and act like everything was fine? Did I have a choice? Would the FBI agent come? What if something happened to him? What if the terrorists came instead?

Uncle Yosef was calling for me to get ready for shul.

“You’ll be okay here waiting?” I asked.

Jordie nodded. “Pray for everything to be okay and for the FBI agent to come.”

“Will do,” I said, hurrying up the stairs.

I followed my uncle into the early morning. The air was heavy. I could feel the heat rising from the ground. “Gonna be a scorcher today,” Uncle Yosef said.

As we strolled down the street towards shul, I kept glancing behind me. Thankfully, there weren’t any cars on the street.

We entered the shul, and several men who were there greeted my uncle, who happens to be the rabbi of the shul. “Rabbi Horowitz, good morning.” They said hi to me, too.

I didn’t usually go to this shul, except when I was visiting my aunt.

I took a seat in the back row next to a window. Uncle Yosef took his regular seat in front.

I davened with a lot of kavanah, asking Hashem to protect my parents and Jordie’s parents, and to protect us from the terrorists, and for the FBI agent to please come and take the papers from Jordie.

At the end of davening, someone approached Uncle Yosef with a kashrus issue. He told me he needed to go to his study to look something up about it. “You can head on home or wait for me,” he said.

Normally, I would have just gone home. I only had an hour until my job; but today, I was nervous about walking alone.

I pulled a chumash from the shelf and started reading the parshah while I waited.


Uncle Yosef and I strolled back to the house. Aunt Ellie handed me a bag with a sandwich and a covered cup of hot cocoa. “I hope you can grab time to eat before work,” she said.


With full morning sunlight and heading to work, everything felt more normal and the scary knots in my stomach relaxed. Mr. Donaldson would come and take the envelope and the terrorists would be caught. Everything would be fine.

At work today, there was a whole camp load of boys in the locker room getting ready to go swimming. I saw there wouldn’t be time for me to eat my breakfast today.

I headed to the lifeguard chair.

Mark greeted me. “Keep your eye on the littler boys by the shallow end.”

It was while I was watching one boy splash another that I discovered I’d mistakenly taken Jordie’s phone. It was buzzing in my knapsack.

I had to keep my eyes on the swimmers.

It was a half hour later when the counselors called the boys out of the water.

I waited until my lifeguarding time was officially over, which was another ten minutes, and then I quickly changed and rushed towards Aunt Ellie’s house. I handed Jordie back his phone and he listened to messages. His eyes widened. “Someone called on my phone and left a message from a number I didn’t recognize: COME BACK TO YOUR HOUSE AS SOON AS YOU CAN. BRING IT. COME ALONE. CHANGE OF PLAN. D.”

“We have to bring it right away, they said.”

Aunt Ellie shook her head. “I’m not sure. How can we know this is legitimate?”

“’D.’ must be Donaldson,” I said.

Jordie nodded. “Yeh, he didn’t come here, so I guess he changed the plan.

Aunt Ellie held her hand out. “Let’s wait and see if another message comes. You don’t want to walk into a trap.”

Waiting would be hard, but we both agreed it was better to be safe and not rush.

“Let’s read your Nana’s book while we wait,” Jordie said.

 To be continued…

 By Susie Garber