Arrival Pt. VII
Miracles do Happen
The chapters in this Arrival series are individual stories from a general time, rather than a chronological seamless set. Nevertheless, I have placed them in an order that can be followed, even if some missing chapters can be visited later.
In all, I spent exactly a year in Brooklyn on Eastern Parkway and still imagined that it was a home mislaid. It was a wonderful place, but my existence there was more precarious than I realized when one day a landlord of sort – a man I had never seen – visited the apartment I was now inhabiting by myself and informed me that he wanted everyone associated with the lease to be gone by the end of the month. I had never seen a lease and had become merely a caretaker of this three-bedroom apartment with maid’s quarters.
About four months earlier, Morris and I (see Pt. VI) had parted company. An increasing religious fervor had convinced him that he wanted to become an observant Jew among other Jews, and so he found a basement apartment among the Lubavitcher community just up the street. Everyone had heard about its leader Rabbi (“Rebbe”) Menachem Schneerson, thought of as a messiah among his followers who were themselves able to trace the movement back to the 18th Century.
Now they prayed together in a synagogue in Crown Heights that looked more like a house gone wild – expanded numerously to handle great crowds.
The Lubavitchers were not only fiercely religious they were highly community-minded – a sense of belonging Morris was evidently seeking. He searched for something as an antidote to the sting of growing up with his wretched family. There would be advice for living, support, and there might even be a match. I think Morris was looking for someone.
I was happy to help with the move. A connection of his – a tough man with a pugnacious Brooklyn demeanor and a moustache - provided a panel van. As we drove East toward Crown Heights, two young haredim (religious Jewish men) crossed in front of the van. Our driver bellowed “Hey! Will you f*ckin sue me if I hit ya??”
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