| Earth to Zalmi |

Far from Home

I’ll be sitting on a spaceship for five days until I reach Boruch’s planet


I come into the house bouncing. Literally. “None days left!” I call, entering the kitchen.

Ma laughs. “Hi, Zalmi!”

For 30 days I’d been counting down to my trip to visit Boruch on his planet. Every day, when I came home from school, I’d call out how many days were left. Now there were none!

“I gotta pack!” I say excitedly.

“You bet!” says Ma. “And we need to go over all the safety rules.”

“Maaaa,” I groan. I know parents know best, but my parents have been obsessed with safety since we moved to Bizan.

“I also baked peanut butter bars for your trip!” she calls.

“Thanks, Ma!” Now that’s good news.

I’ll be sitting on a spaceship for five days until I reach Boruch’s planet. That’s a long time! At least I’m going on the ship with some kids from my class and a chaperone. Also, if we wouldn’t have a spaceship, it would probably take like ten light-years or something to get there, so I should be grateful, right?

I pack pajamas, toothbrush, clothes, sweatshirts, and music. What else for the looong trip? I collect some games from the playroom and start to climb the stairs when I hear my name.

“Zalmi’s doing well, too,” Ta is saying. I pause to listen.

“Everyone except for Chev,” Ma says.

Chev is the sister right under me — she’s nine. On Earth she was always happy, but now she’s sad and doesn’t have any friends. I feel bad for her.

“Rabbi Stein wants to know if we’re staying next year,” Ta says.

Ma sighs. “It’s so hard to know,” she says. “Your job is going well. We’re mostly adjusted, and that’s amazing. But do we want to stay?”

I slowly climb the stairs.

If they asked me, would I want to stay?

I don’t even know.

School here is good, but it was fine on Earth too. I like my friends in both places. But I miss my house on Earth, the park on Earth, playing regular basketball in my driveway on Earth.

I could move back and nothing would be different. Somehow living here for the rest of my life seems... scary.

I try not to think about it as I finish packing.


Five days later, I’m sitting with Boruch and his family around the table, eating meatballs and spaghetti. “Zalmi, trip was long?” Uncle Shia asks.

“Whew!” I sigh. “It was very long.” Five days felt like forever, and it was good to finally be on solid ground. “I’m really glad I’m here now. And I didn’t see Boruch and everyone in forever. And the meatballs are amazing.” Everyone laughs.

“It was fun in the beginning, though,” I add. “We just looked out the window for like an hour. Traveling through space is so cool!”

Everyone nods.

“Wanna travel through space some more?” Boruch asks.

I look at him.

“Well… Abba, you say.”

Uncle Shia smiles. “I’m a researcher here on Terra 3. Recently, I’ve been studying a collection of rocks, and sometimes I take the boys with me for a treat. They wear space suits and all,” he says, smiling.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 775)

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