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Alan D Busch

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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This story is the sequel to one I posted (by a link to on Facebook several hours ago under the title of "Shabbos Mincha with Reb Isser". It would be advisable have read the first part in order to better understand the second. I have begun the second story with a few of the last sentences from the first, but they serve only as a context reminder for those who have read the first part.

... "But by the time I realized she was right, the Germans came to our village. The men they rounded up. The women and children ... they took away, gone. We never saw them again. Mr.Busch, I never saw them again! Understand?”  I returned the picture.

“Go home to your family.” 

Could he have said it any more plainly? He stopped short, however, of advising me any further. My wife and I had indeed arrived at a fork in the road. Whether to keep Shabbos by myself, well ... that decision Reb Isser left to me. 
I had only to make the choice. 
From the stairway, a voice beckoned. “Reb Isser? … Ashrei!”  I followed him upstairs for minyan. (END OF FIRST PIECE)

I did as he had advised. I could no longer ignore my problems at home, hoping they would simply disappear. The decision I made to keep Shabbos by myself-though difficult-I felt I needed to make, a choice that only strengthened my resolve to live more observantly. 

My wife and I did try marriage counseling, but I think we both knew it was a case of too little, too late. If nothing else, the sessions highlighted our differences so sharply that our irreconcilability became painfully obvious.

“I feel this emptiness in my gut,” I confessed.

We went out one summer evening for a short drive 
and stopped to pick up some ice cream. There wasn’t much time to talk things over. 

It was just around sundown when I noticed several cars hurriedly pulling into the parking lot of the shul just across the way from where we had parked the car.
“I want to be part of that,” I said, pointing to the shul. 
“But we’ve not lived that way," she began, "It’s too much. We didn’t raise the kids in a kosher home. I just don’t get why you cannot be happy with where we are."
“I don’t understand it myself, but I know in my heart it’s real," I confessed, overcome at that precise moment of feeling closer to her than I had in a long time.

We headed back home. “You’re sure about this?” she turned to me, “because I can’t go with you.” 

“I know that, I really do,” I feigned as much a smile as I could.
 “What about the kids?" she asked. 
“Tonight, we’ll tell them tonight.” 
“Your mother and I love you unconditionally,” I began. I looked at her, the mother of my children and wife of twenty-four years, as if to get the final go-ahead. She nodded approvingly. “But Mom and I have decided … “

Zac, our youngest, wept a little boy’s tears. Ben, our oldest, was incredulous at the announcement but knew something had not been right between us for a long time. Kimberly, our middle child, who had just completed her freshman year at the university was told by her mother when she drove down to pick her up for summer break.
I moved out of my house soon thereafter to a nearby apartment. Our children remained at home with their mom, but I tended my bonds with them unfailingly. 

I trod the path of Jewish observance very clumsily at times because I was both the "blind" man and the one putting the stumbling blocks before my own eyes.
Alan D. Busch
Revised 11/23/10

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Reviewed by Micki Peluso 12/12/2010
Dear Alan,
This is very well done--impressive. And the last line is a real winner. I went back to see if you quoted someone or wrote it yourself :). This is much the way a Christian feels when getting the "calling." Whether one chooses to serve God solely, like the priests,is one thing, but due to less restrictions, many people can choose Christianity even if the spouse does not and still save the marriage. I wish it could have been that way for you.

All my best,


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