What Lies Beneath the Lateran?

arch of titus

Roman Triumphal arch panel copy from Beth Hatefutsoth, showing spoils of Jerusalem temple – From Wikimedia Commons

They were finally gone, sent away empty handed and believing the Priests of the Holy Roman Catholic Church were not latter-day thieves of their oh so precious Jewish artifacts.

Cardinals Angelo Vincenti and Francis Curia were not young men, but still strong enough to assist the eighty-four year old Pope down into the lowest levels of the Lateran, the residence of his Holiness. The party from the Israel Antiquities Authority were granted admittance even here in order to satisfy their suspicious curiosity. Of course none of the artifacts they sought were present. The Church was once again forced to feign friendship and good will to the nation of Israel in defiance of the law of Christ, but it was necessary for now. Once the Lord Jesus Christ returned from Heaven and the Church took full possession of both Rome and Jerusalem, the entire truth would be known. However premature knowledge of the true plan of the Popes spanning back to St. Peter himself would ruin everything.

They now faced a blank stone wall, presumably hiding nothing but tons of rock. “Cardinal Vincenti, if you would.”

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Epilogue One: Mikiko’s Race

fukusima

Found at Open source investigation

Mikiko Jahn was dead. She died on 14 March 2011 when Reactor 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded injuring eleven people and killing one…her.

Who was she today? For the mission with Geoffrey Colins and his covert ops team working for the mysterious “Agency,” she had used the name Mikiko Kojima. Kojima was her mother’s name before she was married. Was that her identity, her former life having ended?

For over five years, Professor Daniel Hunt and elite team of scientists, engineers, physicists, and other experts recruited by his company Synthecon Corporation worked on a joint British-Japanese experiment, a highly secret endeavor to take the barely alive lump of burnt flesh, bone, and blood who was once a woman and reconstruct it using artificial DNA that mimicked her own to manufacture the world’s first synthetic human being.

How much of you has to be replaced before you stop being human?

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The Men I Never Met

Emek HaBacha

Emek HaBacha (Valley of Tears) Memorial – From Wikimedia Commons

It had started at Tel Saki on Yom Kippur, 6 October 1973 when six soldiers embarked on a routine reconnaissance mission to the outpost. For thirty-one year old Benjamin Wolff, now standing at the Valley of Tears memorial, it ended with the death of his uncle.

The Former U.S. Marine put his hand on a Syrian T62 tank. It also ended for Benjamin in Damascus on 13 March 1986 as a thirty-one year old reporter for the Associated Press was killed in a terrorist car bombing along with 59 other civilians.

His uncle had made Aliyah right after his nineteenth birthday and proudly joined the IDF. Dad stayed in the States pursuing a journalism career. Ben hadn’t known either of them, but they bound his soul here. He’d go back home to Idaho, to his wife and three children. By next fall, they’d be living in Haifa. They were Jews and this was their home.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google Maps image and location and use it to inspire the crafting of a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Tel Saki which, depending on the source consulted, is in Syria or Israel.

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia has almost nothing on the location. This is in spite of the fact that a significant battle in the 1973 Yom Kippur War occurred there when a coalition of Arab nations including Syria launched a sneak attack on Israel on the holiest day on the Jewish religious calendar.

However other sources had tons of information such as The Friendship and Heritage Foundation and the Legal Insurrection blog. Since the Valley of Tears or Emek Habacha is in the same area and a decisive battle in that war was fought there, in my research I included an article from The Times of Israel and this time Wikipedia had a lot more to say.

For my research I discovered that there were terrorist car bombings in Damascus in 1986 including one conducted by Pro-Iraqi militants on March 10th which killed 60 people.

One of my sons (he’s a twin) is thirty-one and a U.S. Marine veteran and although I don’t anticipate that he or any of his siblings will make Aliyah to Israel (my wife is Jewish which means my children are too), he’s probably the one who would most likely go.

I created a sense of loss due to war for him which also connected him to Israel and the middle east in a unique way. Some might retreat from that heritage because of the violence, but others would and have fiercely embraced and defended the Jewish homeland.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Diverting Armageddon

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

“Papa, why do I have to go to Hebrew school? You didn’t.”

“My dear little Miss, that’s because I’m not Jewish. You and your Mama are.”

“But it’s so boring. I already know all of the Hebrew, the cantillation is so easy, and Rabbi Endelman drones on and on and…”

“Now stop it. Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, you will not mock your elders. This is important. There are so many Jewish children behind the Iron Curtin who would love the opportunity to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but…”

“I know, Papa. The Communists made it illegal.” Almost twelve-year-old Rachel Aiyana hugged her Papa. “I’m sorry. I love you and Mama. I just sometimes get…well, frustrated.”

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Not Kansas

vw in israel

© Kent Bonham

“You’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“Avi, you can’t believe how many times I’ve heard that since making aliyah.” Morris sounded annoyed but admired how well the native Israeli spoke English. Half the time he struggled to find the right Hebrew words in a conversation.

“Hey, what do you think of that girl over there? Maybe she wants a ride.”

Avi knew Morris was married, but loved to tease the shy American. Neither noticed as she reached inside her shoulder bag. They were both killed in the explosion along with seven schoolchildren who had stopped to admire the car.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as a prompt to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

When I saw the image was titled “VW in Israel” and the Kansas license plate in the back window, I started writing without a clear end in mind. The story just formed itself.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The Name on the Gravestone

rosenberg

Found at commons.wikimedia.org

“No one even knew his first name, just the initial A.”

“It’s okay, Bubbe. It took a long time, but we finally found your Dad.”

Esther Rosenberg Katz had been waiting for this day since she was old enough to understand her precious Abba was lost in the war. She grew up with her mother, two brothers, numerous uncles, aunts, and cousins but she was always without her Tateshi.

Thanks to years of research and her computer savvy granddaughter, Esther finally found him.

“Are you going to have him exhumed so he can be buried in Israel?”

“No, Elisheva. We’ll leave him here with his comrades. Hashem will restore him to Israel in His time.

Esther reached into her handbag, opened the small container inside, took out the soil she’d brought from the Holy Land and sprinkled it on Abraham Rosenberg’s grave in her final duty as his daughter.

Today at “What Pegman Saw” we are taken to Kanchanaburi, Thailand and specifically to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I found the image above when doing a google search and found it and the cemetery’s history fascinating.

The idea is to use the Pegman Google image to create a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 149. I’ve added some links in the body of the story to explain certain words and concept that might not be readily apparent to all readers.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

A Sky Filled With Hope

israel from space

Photo credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore – Israel from space

Each of the 1,038 nanosatellites that launched from the Satish Dhawan space port in India was hardly larger than a milk carton, but these small, inexpensive spacecraft, originally designed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, were the hope of mankind.

Avi Salomon and Havah Tobias stood in Mission Control and watched the monitors as the nanosats reached their initial orbits. The “father” of the project, Professor Dan Blumberg, received a remote feed at Ben-Gurion in Beer-Sheva.

“It’s looking very good, Professor.” Tobias spoke into her microphone. “I think we will be successful.”

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Praying on the Shore of Eternity

jerusalem

Image: Xinhua/Yin bogu

“Jerusalem is a port city on the shore of eternity.” –Yehuda Amichai

Ever since the Israel-Palestinian Accords of 2022, it was illegal for a Jew to even visit the Kotel, let alone ascend to the top of the Temple Mount. The Muslim Holy places, the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock, and the Dome of the Chain, would be soiled if a Jew even breathed the same air, or so it was said by the Islamic Mullahs. But Ezra Koen had grown up with as many Arab friends as Jews, so he knew which of the guards could be trusted to turn a blind eye…for a price (though the price these days was greatly prohibitive).

It had been fourteen years since a Jew had prayed on the Temple Mount, and the last man to do so, Rabbi Ari Boker, was arrested by the Palestinian State Police, and was rumored to have died in prison after a long period of torture.

Ezra was a nineteen year old Yeshiva student and already was thought to have a very promising Rabbinic career ahead of him, but lately, his most defining characteristic, at least in his own mind, was that he was a dreamer.

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At Gunpoint

gunpoint

Image: International Business Times UK

“Admit it. You voted for Donald Trump. I know you did.”

These were the first words Colton heard as he woke up. Angelique was pointing a .45 caliber handgun at his face.

“Wait. What? What are you talking about?”

Angelique and Colton lived in a four bedroom flat on the second floor of a building in San Francisco’s Richmond District along with two other “flatmates.” The election was a week ago. It seemed like the City, Oakland, and several other Bay Area communities, along with major population centers across America, were burning figuratively and literally with hate and fear over a Donald Trump win and what everyone thought it would mean.

“God damn you, Colton, how could you? I thought we were friends.”

Colton’s head had cleared thanks to the sight of the firearm pointing at him from less than three feet away. “What the hell are you doing with that thing, Ang?”

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When the King of Israel Rules

war

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan (Credit: Reuters/Parwiz Parwiz) Reuters/Parwiz Parwiz

“We are all Israelis.” The phrase kept repeating itself in Steve’s head as he huddled in the makeshift bomb shelter in the basement of his house. He never thought this day would come. At least he sent Nancy and the kids away from the city to her uncle’s farm in Idaho. They’ll stay safer there.

He could hear the explosions getting closer. After the bombardment was over, the ground troops would move in. Steve still couldn’t believe that this great nation was being attacked by a country the size of a postage stamp. Where did they get that kind of power?

The enemy freely answered that question, but it was patently insane to Steve. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a believer. He had been a born again Christian most of his adult life. But he’d also been told that God was on the side of the Church and of America. How could things have gone so wrong?

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