A s the weeks passed, Gedalya Neiman threw himself into the construction of his family’s new home. It helped pass the time until his wife returned from her dangerous mission and he welcomed the distraction. Every evening after returning from kollel, he took Benny and Tzipi up to see how their new home was progressing. 

The children looked forward to this time alone with their father after a day spent with their lively cousins in the apartment below. It connected them to each other, and it afforded the opportunity to share some of the events of their days and to discuss their adjustments to their new life in Israel. 

“Today was our last day,” Tzipi announced, stepping over a reel of electric wiring. “I can’t believe the school year is over already.” 

“Does that mean you have vacation now until the new school year starts?” Benny did not try to hide his resentment. “What will you do all summer?” 

“I’m planning to earn some money,” Tzipi declared with a triumphant grin. 

“You’re going to get a job?” Benny’s envy grew at this news. “What kind of a job can a 15-year-old schoolgirl hold?” 

Tatty regarded his daughter with interest. “You’re too young to get a regular job,” he said. “What do you have in mind?” 

“Shoshy and I are going to make a day camp for the little girls on Wolfson Street,” Tzipi explained enthusiastically. “We’re putting up posters all over the neighborhood. The mothers will be happy to have their children busy, and we will also make a little profit after buying supplies and nosh.” 

“Ah.” Benny’s jealousy diminished. “You’re going to be babysitters.” 

“How many girls are you planning to have in your day camp?” Tatty asked. 

“Up to 20,” Tzipi answered, her eyes sparkling. “That makes each of us responsible for 10. We’re full of ideas for craft projects and songs and skits. It will be fun!” 

Gedalya turned to his son. “How’s cheder going, Benyamin?” 

Benny smiled. “It’s great, Ta,” he said. “I’m really lucky to have Rebbi Brizel. He’s full of surprises and it’s never boring. Well, almost never.” 

“I met your menahel this morning on Rabbi Akiva Street,” Tatty told him. “He tells me your Hebrew has really advanced. He says you’ll be ready to go up to the sixth grade for the next zeman.” 

“Good for you!” Tzipi complimented him. “Won’t Mommy be proud!” 

Benny straightened his shoulders and gave a half smile. Suddenly he turned to his father. “Tatty, when is Mommy coming home? I don’t remember her ever being gone this long before.”