"N othing further, your honor. The defense rests.”

The courtroom rustling grew silent in anticipation.

Gavi looked at Laylee who gave him a little nod and smile.

If we lose... His mind raced. If this is just the first domino, it’s all going to come crashing down now. Gavi glanced at Laylee again. She looks so calm. I never knew she had it in her. Six months ago she would have booked a spa day and left me to face this alone.

The judge took off his glasses, rubbed his temples, checked his watch.

“As this case was pushed up on the docket, and I’m not even supposed to be here right now, I’m going to make this quick. I grew up in the Bronx. I’m familiar with the food gifts given at the end of the winter in honor of the Jewish holiday, though I… uh… don’t recall ever seeing anything like the elaborate arrangements we saw here today.

“The evidence here is far too paltry to justify an injunction. Therefore, at this time, the court finds insufficient evidence to support the motion for an injunction on the synagogue and its offices at 51221 Chestnut Street. Motion denied.”

The gavel came down. Gavi felt the tension in his neck suddenly dissipate, while the adrenaline rushed through his body. He closed his eyes in thanks and opened them to find Laylee smiling widely next to him, his father and father-in-law vying to shake his hand, the air around him practically jubilant.

“Celebratory dinner?” Gavi asked Laylee with a smile. “I know it’s a schlep, but we can drive into the city early, get reservations at Reserve Cut—”

“I just want to relax. I was thinking chamomile tea in the living room. Without a million people looking at us.”

Gavi raised his eyebrows. “Sounds perfect,” he said, surprised but gratified.

They began walking toward the exit of the courthouse when Gavi noticed Laylee hang back, staring down the hallway.


“I’ll be there in a second. I just have to…” She trailed off and started down the hallway. Gavi followed her, and noticed Redlick sitting solemnly on a bench at the end of the hallway.

“Lay, what are you doing?” Gavi whispered loudly.

“Mr. Redlick...”

Redlick looked up, surprised, his face immediately taking on its characteristic scowl. “Here to gloat, Mrs. Beloff?”

“Not at all. I just wanted to say that… you’re right.”

“Excuse me?”

“The stuff that you said to us on the street last week. About the skullcaps and the shirt strings not being a measure of the man inside. You’re right.”

Redlick let out a little cough. “Yeah, well…”

“I haven’t… I haven’t been the best about remembering that, Mr. Redlick. I tend to focus on appearances. I mean, the whole reason I wanted to build this synagogue… was kind of just a status thing.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 539)