| Rocking Horse |

Rocking Horse: Chapter 12

Adler. She nods. This is a nice Jewish name. True, he wore no head covering, but Adlers are solid

"Y

ou knew.” If she modulates her voice then it will become not an accusation, but a statement of fact. Or maybe even a question.

But she can’t. It comes out as an accusation.

Ernst nods.

They are standing in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to sing. Usually, Ernst would not come into the kitchen; it is her domain. But the living room — with the bust of Goethe, the piano, stacks of sheet music — silences her.

She thinks of Dr. Werther in the sanatorium: “Any woman who loses her voice for more than a few months at a time is not going to be privy to the many gifts G-d bestowed on womankind.” Now, she forces herself to speak, despite the fact that she cannot control the tone of her voice, despite the fact that she will surely offend Ernst with her words.

“And you have spoken to him?”

“Of course. While you were… away, he came and sat with us in the evenings, when I didn’t have concerts.”

But nobody had told her. Not even Felix. She had asked Felix, but he had not answered as he should have.

“Joachim.”

“Joachim what?”

“Joachim Adler.”

Adler. She nods. This is a nice Jewish name. True, he wore no head covering, but Adlers are solid. Something releases inside her, just a puff of air, but a release all the same.

Ernst smooths his mustache. “Well, Joachim von Albrecht.”

“Von Albrecht? I don’t understand. What is a good Jew doing with a von as part of his name?”

The kettle begins to shriek.

“Von. Von.”

“Correct.”

“And just how did his family receive this recognition?”

“His father is an army man. He would never have been able to advance in the ranks had he not done the water-paper procedure. And it seems that he did well for himself.”

The water-paper procedure. A sprinkle of holy water. A paper certifying conversion.

Something is stuck in her throat, making it hard for her to breathe.

“So this boy…”

“No. As far as I understand, only the father converted.”

“So he is a real Jew.”

She is saying it to convince herself. Because, really, what kind of a Jew could he be, with a father who rejected his religion.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 681)

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