Too Close For Comfort

I met Terry in the checkout line at Aromas, Cooper City’s only kosher market.

“Terry, join me for some coffee, a nosh and some schmoozing—my treat.”

Over coffee and chocolate rugelach, we talked about the state of Jewish affairs.

Terry didn’t look at me while we talked.

She stared out the window as if she were a detective doing surveillance on the parking lot.

With a tremble in her voice, Terry inquired, “Did you read today’s Sun Sentinel?”

“No, not yet. I’ve been too busy preparing for Shabbat?”

“You mean you haven’t heard the news. What a shonda!”

The words pour out of her mouth as if they were being plowed down by a car in Charlottesville.

“Last night, around 6:30, a 68-year-old member of Young Israel of Greater Miami was shot six times in his legs.

The police said, a Black Chevy Impala circled the shul several times and as the congregant approached the Synagogue’s front door the shooter, who appeared to be in his 20s, jumped out of the car and opened fire.”

Mein gut! That’s meshuga! Here in South Florida.

Have the cops caught the anti-Semitic mamzur?

It sounds like they got video of the shooter and his car.”

“Yup, they got video and nope they haven’t arrested the him yet.”

“How’s the victim doing?

“He underwent surgery and he’s listed in stable condition. The doctors think he’ll be okay.”

“Wait a minute,” I exclaimed.

“I’ve been to Young Israel. It’s orthodox.

I’ve attended services there.

It’s on 171 Street in North Miami Beach.

That’s less than 16 miles from this market.

The shooter—in his Impala—could drive here in 25 minutes.”

Terry’s face turned a lighter shade of pale.

She stuffed the last piece of rugelach in her mouth, washed it down with a gulp of coffee, and headed toward the exit.

“Terry, what’s the rush? Where are you headed?

Almost screeching, she accentuated each word,

“Mort, this is a kosher Jewish market!

Where do you think I’m headed? I’m headed home.”

As I sipped my coffee, nibbled on my pastry and licked the chocolate off of my fingers, I remembered past discussions with Terry:

On why she never visited Israel—“Too dangerous;”

On how far away Squirrel Hill was, “Pittsburgh that’s at least 1,500 miles away;”

“Isn’t Poway somewhere in California? That’s 3,000 miles away.”

But seeing her run out the door, I realized that in Terry’s mind 16 miles was too close for comfort.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort was a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal. He has recently taken on the post of president of the South Florida Writers Association.
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