Recap: Ezra’s teacher put him into a writing club because his big brother was a star writer. Ezra is not a star writer and tries to tell that to the teacher, but he doesn’t have a chance to tell him. He’s stuck in it and the teacher requires everyone to come up with a research project for the club’s display. Ezra can’t think of a topic, and on top of that, there’s a new boy in school who starts acting like a bully towards him. He’s walking home, and the boy has teamed up with a mean eighth grader, and they both start bullying him.


“Where ya headin’ hhhh headin’? Kalman mimicked how I sound when I stammer.

I took a deep breath. I wasn’t going to be intimidated. I didn’t have to answer him.

“Cat got your tongue?” Jake snorted. “Let me see your knapsack. Gonna work on your writing project?”

Kalman grabbed my knapsack off my back and tossed it to Jake. They threw it back and forth.

I reached for it, but they were both taller and stronger than me.

“Want it back?” Kalman cooed. “Come on, be a man and fight for it.”

I didn’t want to fight with this mean guy. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Why had Hashem sent him in my path? Hashem sends messengers – that’s what Aba taught me.

“Lllookkk, jjjust giiive it bbback!” I stammered.

“Lllook,” Jason mimicked.

I’m not going to answer him. They’re just mean bullies. They kept throwing it back and forth and back and forth. I stood frozen, and when they saw that I didn’t reach for it, they finally got bored of their game and Kalman tossed it into the creek.

They took off, laughing.

I fished it out of the creek and kept on walking to Danny’s house.

When I got there, Danny ushered me in. “You okay? You’re all muddy and your knapsack looks like it fell in the creek.”

I told Danny what happened.

“Boy, I always knew that Jake was a bully. Sorry to hear that new boy is getting hooked with him. Sorry they were so mean to you, Ez. You didn’t deserve any of that.”

I sighed. There was nothing I could do about them now, so I turned my attention to my other big problem.

“Danny, what am I going to do about the writing club thing. It’s got me really going nuts. I told my parents I want to transfer to a different yeshivah.”

“Hey, don’t do that. I need you in our yeshivah.”

Danny and I snacked on some chocolate chip cookies and pomegranate juice. His mom makes all kinds of healthful fruit drinks.

“Hi, Ezra,” Danny’s mother said, as she came into the kitchen holding their new baby. “Do you like the cookies?”

“They’re delicious,” I said.

“They’re made from oat flour and no sugar – just dates to sweeten them.”

“Still good,” I said.

Danny groaned. “We’re always getting healthy stuff here.”

“Don’t complain,” his mother said. “Healthful stuff is the way to go.”

We headed upstairs, and Danny and I started working on a puzzle we’d been working on for weeks.

We chatted and my awful encounter with the two bullies slowly faded away.

It was only when I came back home and realized I still had this big problem with figuring out an idea for the research project for the writing club and the problem now with this new bully in my life that I started feeling bad again.

My mother came up to my room and she was holding a big, old-looking book. “Ezra, I think you may find this interesting. It’s a journal I’ve had from my great-grandfather. I read it when I was your age, and I was so enthralled that my mother said I could keep it.”

I took the journal in my hand. It had a worn leather cover. I sat down on my bed and began to read.

 To be continued…

By Susie Garber