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The Great Adventure: Chanukah Story Supplement

Mishpacha Contributors

“The Great Adventure” is our bonus Chanukah story supplement. Enjoy this collection of true stories from your favorite authors

Wednesday, December 05, 2018



A Ruff Day

By Chani Muller


ridays in Kochav Day Camp consisted of the weekly CIT skit, hot, stringy pizza (complete with heated arguments over which store had better pizza, Mendel’s or Mendelsohn’s — I seem to recall I was on the Mendel’s side of the argument), and of course the weekly newsletter, with highlights of the past week, and most importantly, trip announcements for the upcoming week.

That Friday, the newsletter informed all campers that next week we would be going to, drumroll, Marine Park. All campers were to bring caps, suntan lotion, and water. Grrr. I gritted my teeth. Water parks, amusement parks, even bowling would be fun! Marine Park, not so much.

The next week found me and the rest of my bunk sitting on the grass in the park and eating sandwiches. I finished eating, and in a self-fulfilling prophecy, I was bored. I looked around to see who also felt that way, and saw that Ruchy looked antsy too.

“Ruchy,” I called, “want to run races with me?”

“Yeah, why not?” she said.

We got up and quietly moved away from the bunk. I didn’t bother asking Freidy, our counselor. I knew what the answer would be. We moved a good distance away from the rest of the camp and marked a tree in the distance as the end point. I could see a black shape in the distance, but didn’t give it a second thought. At the count of three, we were off.

We started off running side by side, but soon enough, I had the lead. The tree we had designated as the finish line was coming up. Just then I heard Ruchy panting behind me and yelling, “Stop, stop!”

I ignored her. It was obvious to me that she was calling a time-out because I was winning.

Ha. I would have been a lot better off if I would have taken Ruchy seriously and turned around. I would have seen a big black dog, the “shape” I had seen from a distance, who had decided to join our game and was running right past Ruchy… and right toward me. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 738)


Lights and Sirens

By Chaya Rosen



ave you ever been taken to a police station for questioning? No? Well, I hadn’t, either.

Until I was.

It was a hot, sunny Friday, not long after my family moved from New Jersey to Ramat Beit Shemesh in Eretz Yisrael. I was learning Hebrew and going to the same school as my Israeli cousins. My cousins were around my age — well, a little younger, but they knew more Hebrew than I did, and they knew how to play all the Israeli games (I was still learning). We enjoyed spending time together. In fact, we even got to ride the hasaah home from school together. Our new house was really close to theirs, so we all got off at the same hasaah stop, and then we all walked home. (I’ll tell you what a hasaah is, just in case you don’t know. It’s like a school bus or a large van and it brings kids home from school.)

The day that ended at the police station started out just like any other day. In fact, it was so ordinary that I don’t remember anything about it. I probably woke up when my brother started screaming at the top of his lungs that he didn’t want to wear the itchy shirt, and then ate my cornflakes. Then I probably went to school and sat through a whole bunch of 4th grade classes before making my way home from the hasaah stop with my cousins and a neighbor later that afternoon. We were probably talking about school, and our napkin collections, and art projects and friends and stuff like that.

We were walking up the street toward our homes when a big, white van rumbled past us. Of course, we didn’t pay it any attention. Why would we? Do you pay attention to every big, white van that rumbles past you? Of course you don’t. There are probably ten trillion big, white vans rumbling past people every minute. Well, this one suddenly pulled to a stop right behind us. I still didn’t pay it much attention — until something terrifying happened. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 738)


Jump in the Lake

By Faigy Gut



lan: Arrive at camp with Yehudis, guard the campers at the pool, get a great tan, then return home.


How it went down: Very differently.


“Lifeguards, gather round,” Mrs. Shron said, smiling.

Yehudis and I joined the group of lifeguards, lathering on sunscreen. We’d been together at camp in July, and had decided to come to this camp for August, as a last-minute decision. Now it was our first day lifeguarding at Camp Devorah, and we were excited to start.

“There will be eight lifeguards at the pool and two on the lakefront.”

Yehudis and I looked at each other.

Lakefront? We hadn’t realized that anyone would be guarding the very un-glamorous lake, on the other end of camp.

“Yehudis and Faygie will be at the lake, and the rest of you will be at the pool.”

The others grinned at each other and bumped fists, while Yehudis and I looked at each other, horror-struck.

“What?” I whispered. “It can’t be! The lake?”

“I know!” she whispered back.

I didn’t hear much of what Mrs. Shron said, afterward. All I could think about was the lake.

We trudged back up through the huge campgrounds — up the paths, past the bunkhouses, dining room, and main office. When we got to the edge of camp we stopped. We looked at the forest that surrounded the grounds and at the rocky, bumpy path between the trees that would lead us to the lake. I sighed.

I thought about sitting on a chair down at the pool, bathed in sun, shades on my eyes, tube on my lap.

“Let’s run away,” I groaned, pointing to the road that led out of camp.

“Yeah,” Yehudis agreed.

We sighed and headed into the forest.

Things got worse from there.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 738)


Something Fishy at the Airport

By Y. Bromberg



omb threats are no joke. Especially in an international airport. Particularly when the suspected bomb is in mysuitcase.

I was in 11th grade when I got the news that my older brother was engaged. A short while later, around Chanukah time, I made plans to fly in for the wedding.

My father called me to work out some of the travel logistics. I was flying in from Denver and he and my mother would be coming from St. Louis.

“Yehuda, your flight is coming just 45 minutes before mine. After you land in Newark, wait in the waiting area until I arrive and then we’ll rent a car and drive down to the wedding hall together.”

“Okay, Abba.”

All was set and ready to go. It was an easy, foolproof plan and I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing break and some private time with my parents during the trip to the wedding hall. Boy, was I in for a surprise.




I checked in my big black suitcase in Denver International Airport and kept a carry-on containing my seforim and tefillin with me for the flight. The flight passed without a hitch, just the occasional bump of turbulence and the expected passenger elbow war over the single armrest.

After landing, I claimed my black suitcase and headed off to a quiet part of the airport. I found myself sitting alone on the hard benches in an empty area. I glanced at my watch and saw that my parents should be coming pretty soon.

I learned a little and then felt my stomach beginning to rumble. Too bad I didn’t bring any food from the yeshivah canteen. Then I remembered the single apple I had tucked into the outer pocket of my suitcase.

“Better than nothing,” I surmised, unzipping the pocket and sticking my hand inside.

Suddenly, as my fingertips touched the apple I felt my hands brushing against something cold and smooth. Confused, I opened the pocket wider and glanced closer inside.


(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 738)

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