In the excellent book On Writing Well by William Zinsser, the author suggests improving your writing by imitating other writers you admire. My most recent post on cooking is modeled on Frugal Journey, Raanana Ramblings inspired my post on Efi, and the following is the kind of story that Rafi would tell.
On Friday we made a shiva call (visit to comfort a mourner) to our neighbor, who lost his mother. While there the neighbor mentioned that his father’s family has run the hevra kadisha (burial society) in Jerusalem for generations, and told the following story.
During the forties, young Arabs disrupted the funerals on Har Hazeitim (Mt. of Olives) by yelling and throwing stones. Our neighbor’s grandfather, head of the hevra kadisha, decided to put a stop to this once and for all. He dressed in tachrichim (traditional burial garments) and had the hevra kadisha carry him on a stretcher to the cemetery. When the stones started flying, the hevra kadisha ran away and left the grandfather on the ground. The stone-throwers cautiously approached the “corpse,” who suddenly came to life and started shouting. He had a long beard and cut quite a formidable figure; they probably thought he was the Angel of Death.
Afterward the funerals at Har Hazeitim proceeded without interruption, at least until 1948 when the Jews were denied access for the next nineteen years.
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