The Departed

The Departed

By Orli Santo, August 17, 2010 – Translated from Yediot Achronot

Children laughing, a baby’s muffled cry, the peaceful sounds of a Saturday afternoon drift through the open window. This is New York—one of the liveliest, most turbulent cities in the world—but here, within the boundaries of the eruv string—the thin line separating indoors from outdoors, the community from the world—Crown Heights lay deep in its sacred Sabbath slumber.

Malkie Schwartz didn’t join her family in the synagogue today. She stayed home, saying she wasn’t feeling well, and for the last hour she’s been staring intently at the phone, incapable of lifting the receiver. She knows that once she dials, intentionally desecrating the Sabbath for the first time in her life, it’ll be a step from which there will be no return: one that will separate her from her religion and her family, severing her past from the possible course of her future.

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