"D

o you still keep up with Chaim?”

Nochum Braunfeld looked up from his desk to find his boss standing awkwardly in the doorway.

“I’m sorry?”

“Chaim. You know, Chaim Reimer. I know you guys are friendly. Are you still in touch with him?” Dovi Gelber was speaking the words but something in his face said he was uncomfortable about it. Nochum shrugged. “Not all the time, but I have heard from him here and there, text messages and stuff. Actually, I ran into him at Landau’s one night a few weeks ago. It was a funny story, my wife…”

“Okay, whatever, I’m sure it was,” Gelber said, waving his hand. “I just wanted to know if you still speak to him, that’s all.”

Gelber stepped into the small office and sat down across from Braunfeld. Mendy Coleman, Braunfeld thought to himself, would never have come in without asking permission, boss or not.

“Okay, listen, I’m very concerned.” Gelber said, shaking his head back and forth and narrowing his eyes, as if to indicate just how worried he was.

He reached into his jacket pocket and removed a folded paper.

“Take a look at this letter,” he said, sliding it across the table.

Dear Parents,

We are excited to share the good news that this summer, the Neos Desheh family will have a new member. Rabbi Chaim Reimer, the son-in-law of our beloved director, Rabbi Hershel Levinsky, will be joining us as assistant director.

Rabbi Reimer brings years of successful administrative experience to this position and we’re thrilled to welcome him aboard. We look forward to welcoming your son to another incredible summer at C.N.D., where we have a mesorah of fun.

With best wishes for a happy and healthy summer,

Barry Penner,

Chairman of the Board, Zichron Asher International.

Braunfeld read the letter twice, then looked up. “Your son goes to Neos Desheh? I’d never have guessed.”

It was the most infuriating thing he could have said — worthy of Chaim Reimer himself. “No, of course not, and that’s not the point!” Gelber exploded.

He felt silly at the outburst, and tried to step back. “The point is that this whole thing is a mistake. A big one. Chaim Reimer belongs right here, in this office, working with clients and giving financial advice. It didn’t work out here, fine; it was time for a change, so we went in a different direction.”

“Really, I had no idea that you had anything to do with it,” Braunfeld offered.

“Oh stop it, now you sound like him.”

Braunfeld smiled.

“Seriously Nochum, this is dinei nefashos, it’s no joke. The guy left our company and I expected him to find a similar job. He had clients who did very well with him and would follow him anywhere. I figured maybe he’d take a position as COO with another company, something suitable for him. Look, it’s no secret that we didn’t get along. You know what I think about his sarcasm and disparaging jokes, but I still like him. He’s a Yid, I want him to succeed. But Nochum… he’s cracking up, this is nuts. Reimer’s going to be a camp director? It sounds like he’s lost his marbles, and I feel bad. He’s a rabbi like I’m an astronaut.”