| Magazine Feature |

Total Turnaround       

A Purim production in 12 scenes

The day of miraculous, joyous, unexpected salvation is approaching, and there’s no better time for our Purim production. It’s a gripping tale of tension and turnaround, suspense and surprises, complete with musical numbers and iconic characters from the best of Jewish entertainment. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!



TTTO: A Time for Music’s

“We’re Making History Tonight”

We’re making history this week

With a feature so unique and thrilling

Oh it’s a brand new play

With a plot that is both fun and chilling


So sit back and relax and enjoy the show

This doesn’t happen every year

Laugh out loud

The time for Purim is here


Scene One
Location: a nondescript office in one of those NJ Turnpike cities whose only claim to fame is the yeshivah that shares its name

“Emotions,” Director Scott would bark, “have no place in this business.”

But Officer Bradley felt only a twinge of guilt as he summarily ignored his mentor’s directive. Giddy with excitement, he made no effort at all to dispel the sensation. Since joining the FBI, his jobs had been relegated to investigating phony bomb threats and tracking down low-class drug dealers. This was different. This was big. It would be all over the papers and he, Officer Bradley Q. Doyle, would be the face of the once-in-a-decade exposé.

He shut off the surveillance camera and turned to his trainee, Oliver Murphy Jr.

“Oliver,” he said importantly, “here’s a learning moment. Never over-investigate. Once you got the evidence, start drafting the documents immediately. Excessive diligence is a subcategory of laziness.”

The sheer coherence of that comment surprised even him, and he made a mental note to give himself a pat on the back. But if his thoughts were conveyed effectively, young Oliver didn’t seem to notice.

“Uh, Boss,” he said meekly. “I’m still not sure that I get it. What exactly is the conspiracy? If they’re such high-profile counterfeiters, why are we only seeing five-dollar bills?”

He regretted asking the question immediately.

What don’t you understand?” Officer Bradley stormed. His expression softened slightly as Oliver began to visibly tremble. “Anger is a sign of weakness,” he could hear Director Scott saying. Officer Bradley took a deep breath. Perhaps, he realized, it would be best to explain this in song.


TTTO: “There’s No Place Like Home” (Journeys 1) 

I have searched so long 

For some fortune and some


To earn a reputation 

Bring honor to my name 


Now this story’s mine

Success is just in sight

I’ll blow its cover off

With all my might 


What I’m looking for

Is right behind that door 

A mountain full of evidence

I don’t need any more 


And once their cover’s blown 

My name will be oh-so well-known 

Book deals, prime time interviews,

They won’t leave me alone. 


Oliver nodded but Officer Bradley wanted to spell it out directly.

“These people aren’t stupid,” he explained in his best mentor’s voice. “They know that we’re typically on the lookout for larger bills; twenties, fifties, hundreds, things like that. And so they’ve placed all their emphasis on five-dollar bills, thinking that they could fly beneath the radar.” He lifted his head and let out what he hoped sounded like a diabolical cackle. “But they won’t! No one can fly beneath the radar of Bradley Q. Doyle! Absolutely no one!”

Oliver forced a guffaw.

“True,” he said, graciously. “But you gotta admit, that was pretty crafty of them, eh?”

Officer Bradley was quiet for a moment, then glanced furtively around. He lowered his voice.

“Don’t tell anyone that I told you this,” he nearly whispered, “but these Jews ain’t stupid. If anyone can beat the system, it’s them.”

Oliver nodded. He would tell no one.

Scene Two
Location: a Boro Park basement

It had been a long day of tinkering with exotic machinery and the old doctor wanted to take a well-deserved rest. He headed over to the soft green chair positioned comfortably in the corner of the room, sat down, and was just about to put his feet up when the phone rang.

With a sigh of minor exasperation he looked at the caller ID. Hmm, 972-58… who was calling from Yerushalayim?

“Hello?” he said curiously. “With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”

The voice on the other end was raspy — and familiar.

“Dr. Middos, it’s me. Dr. Doomshtein.”

“Ah, Dr. Doomshtein!” Dr. Middos responded, genuinely pleased. “How nice to hear from you! How are things in Yerushalayim? How is Yeshivas Aish Somayach?”

He expected a burst of enthusiasm, the exhilaration that naturally follows spiritual development, the type of deep satisfaction that can lead one to burst into spontaneous song. He felt a pit in his stomach when it didn’t come. What could possibly have gone wrong? Why did Doomshtein’s voice sound so despairing? Did he not do teshuvah? Suddenly, Dr. Middos found himself singing.


TTTO: “Teshuvah Song” (The Purim Story)

Oh, you did your teshuvah, you repented from your ways

You did your teshuvah, just like in previous days

Your Twitter’s long gone, your phone barely texts

Did you not do teshuvah—

Oh, I’m so perplexed


“Uh, Dr. Middos, I—I have to share something with you.” Dr. Doomshtein responded. It took Dr. Middos a minute to identify the tone of voice. Shame. There was so much shame. He kept quiet, allowing Doomshtein to continue.

“I’ll get straight to the point, Doctor. You see, after doing teshuvah and joining Yeshivas Aish Somayach, things were really going well. I was beginning to shape an entirely new identity.” Doomshtein paused for a moment, and Dr. Middos allowed himself a quiet gulp. Doomshtein continued.

“But then, one day, I was walking down Rechov Yaffo, and I saw a thuggish group of men pointing right at me. I began to walk away quickly but it was too late. They recognized me — saw straight through my tzitzis. They caught up, and we started talking.”

There was a sniffle, and then Doomshtein resumed.

“To make a long story short, this group called themselves Middos Menaces. They have lots of power, lots of money, and they offered me a fortune to assume the presidency of the organization.”

Dr. Middos gasped. “Gevalt! Don’t tell me you accepted!”

Dr Doomshtein made a miserable moaning sound.

“I did. Dr. Middos, I couldn’t resist the offer. I continued to learn in yeshivah during the day but, at night, I led the Middos Menaces in their devious projects.”

Dr. Middos did the best he could to contain himself. “Okay,” he said with forced calm. “What sort of projects are we talking about?”

“Right, so that’s actually why I’m calling.” Dr. Doomshtein’s voice had taken on a business-like tone. “Basically, Middos Menaces wanted to inject bad middos into the entire citizenry of the United States. The plan was to identify someone with real geferliche middos and make sure he takes the highest office in the land. I was the one tasked with responsibility.” Some involuntary pride slid into his voice. “I found the perfect guy.”

“No!” cried Dr. Middos. “Don’t tell me that Donald Trump’s presidency was your doing! I’ve been getting an unprecedented number of middos alerts since he got elected! Of course, there’s an uptick in alerts for the “Gaavah Song” and the “Emes Song” every time a new politician overtakes the headlines — comes with the job description — but this was the first time that sweet Yiddishe kinderlach identified so fully with a president.”

“Wait, what am I hearing?” Dr. Doomshtein exclaimed, his voice hollow with shock. “There’s music coming out of my Fiber One cereal box!”

Dr. Middos giggled. “Yes, I thought you might enjoy hearing this message. I composed it specially to deal with the growing trend.”

The music swelled, and soon a slightly threatening voice began to sing.


TTTO: “Who Spilled the Milk on the Kitchen Floor” (Marvelous Midos Machine 1)

Who followed news all day and night? Not me, not me.

Who got obsessed with narishkeit? No, it was not me.

Who spent their time glued to campaigns? Not me, not me.

And who forgot Who holds the reins? No, it was not me.


Take a break from all those screens, minimize the news

Torah, tefillah, chesed, that’s what occupies good Jews.

You have a higher calling, a strong sense of right and wrong,

The muddy world of politics is not where you belong.

“Wow!” said Dr. Doomshtein, sounding truly impressed. “I can’t believe you’re still composing!”

“Ha!” said Dr. Middos, somewhat bitterly. “That’s nothing compared to what I had to do to address all the bad middos coming out of the White House. I had to create a new type of Middos Machine just to deal with the whole mess!”

“Really?” Dr. Doomshtein sounded intrigued. “Not our old, trusty satellite, the one with the faint whiff of chocolate-covered pickles?”

“We needed something new this time,” Dr. Middos said crisply. “It actually looked like a balloon hovering over Alaska. I used it to play the “Move Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem” song for Trump… and it woiked!”

“Yes, yes,” said Dr. Doomshtein, “the Menaces are well aware.”

Dr. Middos froze. This was scary.

“In fact,” Doomshtein continued, “they plan on shooting the satellite down and telling everyone that it was a Chinese spy balloon.”

This was chilling news — but there was one thing Dr. Middos didn’t understand.

“Trump’s been voted out of office. Why is this conversation even relevant?”

Doomshtein grew serious again. “Ah, that’s what you think. But there’s a whole lot happening behind the scenes. You see, I felt really guilty about what I had done. So, in 2020, I rigged the elections to make sure that he lost, and that someone boring was in office, so the kinderlach would focus on what’s important.

“After the election results came in, he was still in the news, but then the story got stale — how many times can you complain about the same rigged election? — and eventually the kinderlach lost interest and got back to learning Torah, doing mitzvos, and focusing on good middos. Just the way I wanted it.

“Of course, the Menaces found out about it, and they’re furious. They fired me immediately. But they’ve since hired someone else, and I’m confident that they’ll try to rig it for someone with terrible middos, come 2024. That’s why I’m calling you, Dr. Middos. I need you to come up with a plan. A plan to ensure that… that….” Suddenly, Doomshtein burst into hysterical sobbing. “That the right candidate wins. It’s my only chance at teshuvah! Oh, please will you help me, Dr. Middos? Please?”

Dr. Middos was overwhelmed by the sincerity of his former nemesis.

“Dr. Doomshtein, I will do my best to help you. B’ezras Hashem, everything will be gevaldig.”


Scene Three
Location: Oorah Headquarters, Lakewood, NJ

A ripple of excitement ran throughout the Oorah Development Committee. Yes, they excelled at marketing, they knew that, but Mechel Gvir was a different level entirely. (Rumor had it that his last name used to be Gevirtzman, but these days everyone knew him by the shortened moniker. It had a much spiffier ring, and it fit.)

His healthcare company, Golden Crown Royal Princely Noble Baronial Monarchy Healthcare, which had committed to purchasing a whopping 395 nursing homes — b’gematria “parnassah” — had successfully reached its goal. Now, Mechel was taking something of a sabbatical to dedicate his time to Klal Yisrael. The mission of his new organization, tactfully named “Frum in the Forbes,” was to help others in the frum community gain the sort of success he did.

His business philosophy, as his organization’s website made clear, was that the key to success is good marketing. For no cost at all, Mechel would visit the corporate offices of major frum companies or non-profits and advise them on proper marketing tactics. His ideas sometimes raised eyebrows but they were always implemented. Who would dare question Mechel Gvir? Now, as Oorah’s Development Committee readied themselves for his visit, there was a shared, unspoken intuition that big things were about to happen.

Speaking of big, the door swung open with a flourish and in ambled Mechel the Great. For a man of such stature, he was markedly humble. He wore a white polo shirt and navy lululemon pants. Oorah had prepared a lavish spread in his honor but he waved it away, producing a half-eaten yapchik-schnitzel-kishke sandwich from his pocket instead. Not one for pleasantries, he sat down at the head of the table and began to sing.


TTTO: “I Am Simcha Shtark

(The Magic Yarmulka)

I am Mechel Gvir

The askan of the year

When I fly to Dubai

Collectors pursue me in the sky


They all know of course, that I am the boss

If they don’t find my eidems shtellers it’s their loss.

I have this thing for cars, and roll my own cigars,

Cancun is boring, I’m thinking next of Mars.


On Purim I serve vintage scotch that has my private label

The Vatican lends me ancient vessels for my table

My private jet’s not fast enough, I’m in talks now with Elon

He’ll build me my own SpaceX for a nice parshas hamahn.


B’kitzur hama’aseh,” he began, pausing to take a bite out of his sandwich, “I don’t like this whole Fiveish business.”

There was an uncomfortable shuffling in the room, and facial expressions betrayed undisguisable offense. Mechel didn’t notice. He had specifically asked for no tomatoes and, somehow, a piece of tomato had made its way into his sandwich. Disgusted, he extracted it and tossed it on the floor. He continued talking.

“You think I became what I became because of five-dollar bills?” he chortled. “Of course not! Today, cash is out of style. If you want to run a successful business, you need to know how to handle debt. Leveraging a business using debt helps to consistently build equity value for shareholders as the debt principal is repaid.”

Here, the gathered listeners were authentically impressed. When it came to actual dollars and cents, Mechel really did seem to know what he was talking about.

“So hertzich ein.” Mechel forged on. “I think you should get rid of the five-dollar bill. Instead, replace it with a rectangular object that has nothing on it at all — representing healthy debt. This will resonate with the community much more than five-dollar bills.” Silence reigned, and Mechel sensed the tension. It was time for another song. He closed his eyes and rubbed his hands together — zemiros style — and began to sing.


TTTO: “The Wedding Song”

(Journeys 2)

Well the first thing I must say

Is that Oorah’s on display

On Chol Hamoed, the kids only wanna watch the Shmorg

But Fiveish I don’t get

Cuz real money’s made off debt

So chuck all of that cash into the morgue 

Yes in the morgue, yes in the morgue


It was a short song but was sure to do the trick. It was time to get on to his next meeting.

Someone began to say something but stopped when they realized that Mechel was bentshing. Mechel then stood up and left the room, leaving the Development Committee looking at each other, then to the sandwich wrapping left on the table, then back at each other again.

“Get rid of Fiveish?” their facial expressions all asked. There was a room-wide shrug.

No one disobeyed Mechel Gvir.


Scene Four
Location: that nondescript office which is in fact not as nondescript as it seems

Intern Oliver Murphy Jr. watched carefully as Officer Bradley pounded at the keyboard. Drafting classified documents was a tricky skill, and the slightest fumble can result in the most severe consequence.

This time, though, the process seemed fairly straightforward. Bradley began with an opening paragraph, summarizing the suspicion of a high-level counterfeit operation. He then went into detail describing the process of the espionage. He concluded with a statement declaring that, under his professional judgment, no further investigation was needed. He then printed the document, signed it, stamped it with a big red CLASSIFIED stamp, and slipped it neatly into a file which was then deposited into a special cabinet.

“So, what do we do next?” Oliver asked.

A devilish smile crossed Bradley’s face. “There’s a fine line between tough and nasty,” Director Scott would tell him; “make sure not to cross that line.” He sat down on an armchair, lit a cigar, closed his eyes, and inhaled heavily. He was crossing the line.

“The next step,” he said slowly, “is to call Skita Reeter.”

“Skita Reeter?” Oliver repeated, genuinely baffled. “She’s a reporter for the New York Times! What’s she got to do with this?”

Bradley drew deeply on his cigar and nodded slightly. This was another teaching moment.

“Sometimes,” he said lavishly, “good publicity is half the job.”

He reached for the phone and dialed.


Scene Five
Location: the Boro Park basement

Dr. Middos paced back and forth, back and forth. This was the greatest dilemma he’d faced since Shnooky soaked himself with invisibility spray. He had to make sure someone with good middos would win the presidency, especially if the Middos Balloon would be shot down. He needed that lightbulb moment… that lightbulb moment… that….

“I got it!” he cried and raced down to his basement where he kept a spare kugelator. Turning to Dizzy, he explained. “By adjusting the dial on this machine, I can program it to act as a super-duper kugelating document transmitter. I will transfer classified documents to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. The FBI will come down, and there will be a big scandal. The scandal will make him so unpopular, he’ll have no chance of becoming president ever again. Baruch Hashem! We found a solution!”

Dr. Middos made the necessary adjustments to the frequency of his kugelator. Then, hands trembling with excitement, he began typing in the keywords: SEND CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS TO PRESIDENT IN FLORIDA. He stepped back, filled with satisfaction.

But contentment soon turned to confusion as he watched the documents begin to fly through cyberspace toward… the Trump Doral Hotel!

“Oy vey!” he cried. “What’s going on? How did my machine make that mistake? How could this be happening?!”

“Uh, Dr. Middos.” It was Shnooky, sounding tentative as usual. “Isn’t the Torah Umesorah Presidents Conference tonight? The machine must have gotten confused and sent the documents over to them! After all, it’s full of presidents, and it’s in Florida!”

“Oy gevalt!” cried Dr. Middos. “If all those wonderful frum Yidden at the Presidents Conference are caught with classified documents, they can get into geferliche trouble!”

Once again, Dr. Middos began to pace, more rapidly than ever, trying, as best he could, to come up with a solution.


Scene Six
Location: Midtown Manhattan, New York

In an office in the New York Times headquarters, Ms. Skita Reeter put down her Quick-Quotes Pen and reviewed her draft, lips curling with pleasure. It was moments like these that made all the student debt from journalism school worthwhile. This article was a masterpiece.

According to her sources (a homeless fellow she had met in Penn station), not only was chassidic education deficient, it was also racist and bigoted. Journalism integrity meant everything to her, and so she made sure to google the subject before writing the scathing piece. Sure enough, there it was, on www.frustrated angry and confused.com. A direct corroboration of Mr. Homeless’s claim. This deserved a cup of Nespresso. She had just finished her brew when the phone rang.

Hmm, Officer Bradley. She hadn’t spoken to him in a while. What could he want? She lifted the receiver.

“Hello, Officer, to what do I owe this great honor?” she asked.

Bradley was all business. “Ms. Reeter. I have the scoop of the century for you.”

This sounded legitimate — her journalism instincts were tingling — and so she kept quiet.

“Hassidim,” Bradley pressed on.

Skita nodded. She knew it.

“We caught an underground operation of hassidim. They’re producing counterfeit dollar bills at full throttle!”

“Counterfeit?!” Skita cried, spilling her coffee everywhere and not caring at all. “Where? Where? You must take me immediately!”

Bradley chuckled. “Okay, okay. We’ll take you to the crime scene. But first, we’ve got to get our classified documents in order. We can’t get the ball rolling until we have this certified by federal court.”

“All right,” said Skita. “Call me when you have them.”

She sat down, her heart racing. Her long-awaited Pulitzer was within reach, she could feel it.


TTTO: “I Am An Ancient Wall Of Stone” (Marvelous Middos Machine 3)

I am an angry journalist, I have an ax to grind.

And if you want to read my work,

 just buy the New York Times.

Where have my usual targets gone,

they’re trendy victims today

Teachers’ unions and public schools,

all banned from an exposé.

But there’s a group here in New York

that I can demonize

They stay apart, they won’t blend in,

refuse to modernize.

A source or two, some professors, too,

and I’ll cherry-pick some stats

Throw in some tropes, Yaffed gives us quotes,

my article’s a wrap.



Together, together, these scandalous citizens

vote as a bloc

Forever, forever, they cling to their values,

their Maker, their Rock.


Scene Seven
Location: the nondescript office (you know by now it’s really a camouflaged FBI building)

In the FBI office, usually a scene of decorum (and some snoozing), absolute pandemonium had broken out. The usually calm and collected Officer Bradley was frantically opening cabinet drawers and slamming the shut, turning desks, chairs, even potted plants, upside down.

“Uh, Officer?” Intern Oliver attempted meekly. “Are you, uh, looking for something?”

No, I’m not!!!” the officer roared in response. “I’m turning my office inside out for excercise!”

Intern Oliver opened his mouth to respond but then thought better of it.

The documents!” Officer Bradley spat. “The classified documents! Where on earth are they? How could they have disappeared into thin air?

It was truly a mystery, Oliver noted. He had watched Officer Bradley carefully as he took every precaution to place maximum security on the filing cabinet. Now his investigation had evaporated into thin air.

Officer Bradley slumped onto an upside-down chair, defeated. What would Director Scott tell him? “Failure is just another step toward success,” or something along those lines. Bradley sat up a bit straighter. He could redraft the documents. All was not lost. A nice trip down to the crime scene, along with Ms. Skita Reeter, would help cool his temper.

He picked up the phone and dialed again.


Scene Eight
Location: The Middos Residence

Back in Boro Park, Dr. Middos had stopped pacing. He had a plan. Its chances were slim, but he had to try. He simply couldn’t risk endangering all those dedicated askanim innocently filing into the Trump Doral Hotel.

“All right, boys,” he said, turning to his group of trusty assistants, “here is what we’re going to do.”

The boys leaned in to listen.

“Many years ago, I had a friend. His name was Yankel. Oish, was he an am-ha’aretz. A geferlicher am-ha’aretz.” Dr. Middos smiled nostalgically. “But baruch Hashem, he went to Eretz Yisrael and became a great talmid chacham. He said the secret was yiras Shamayim — that’s where all chochmah comes from — and the most basic sign of yiras Shamayim is a yarmulke. So he decided to go from town to town selling yarmulkes, sharing his success with the oilem.

“A while ago, Yankel once asked me to invent a magical yarmulke that would help Yiddishe kinderlach who need an extra boost. I did that, and, kein ayin hara, it has done some wonderful things for boys who were down-and-out.”

A look of amazement crossed Shlumpy’s face. “Golly, Dr. Middos, that sounds really amazing,” he said in wonder. “But what does it have to do with us? How can it help us stop those documents from getting to the Presidents’ Conference?”

“Aha,” said Dr. Middos, “Because one of the things this yarmulke does is give the wearer incredible powers of speed. If we could get hold of this magical kippah, with the Eibeshter’s help, we can run fast enough to chase down the classified documents!”

The boys look at each other enthusiastically. Imagine that, a yarmulke that turns its wearer into a marathoner!

Dr. Middos picked up the phone and began dialing. The phone call was answered immediately and, after a brief rundown of the dilemma, they listened in to hear Yankel’s response.

“Ah, I understand, one thousand percent! But I must admit, I must confess, that I no longer sell any yarmulkes! Not one little bit. The parnassah is just not working out! I decided to run an Amazon warehouse instead. Would you perhaps be interested in some matching Shabbos pajamas for all the eineklach? Or maybe a hot-cup holder for your car, with separate holes for milchig and fleishig. We also have some collector’s items — there’s this spritz bottle of seltzer, one of the last remaining bottles from the famous Sidney’s Seltzer Factory on the Lower East Side. And something really special for the discerning buyer: an authentic Joe DiMaggio card—”

“What?” cried Dr. Middos. “Yankel Talmid Chacham became a businessman? But-but, you have to help Yiddishe kinderlach!”

Yankel sounded truly apologetic. “I know, I know, but what can I do? I need to support my own kinderlach, you know. Tuition just went up — we all want the morahs to be well-paid, don’t we? — and my oldest is going to seminary next year, they say the Mitz Pri iced coffee really adds up.”

Dr. Middos’s brow creased.

“Okay,” he said. “I came up with a plan. A new invention. I will create an online campaign to raise money for you. In fact, using my datameter expolizer, I will even create a matching campaign where every donation doubles!” It was a burst of genius that Dr. Middos knew must have come straight from Shamayim.


TTTO: “The Trolley Song”

(When Zaidy Was Young 1)

Give a donation, send a donation, pledge a donation, for your fellow Jew.

Help out your nation, join the sensation, solve our equation,

that’s what you gotta do.

Your nephew is sighing,

your neighbor is trying,

Everyone’s hoping you’ll

help them meet their goal

The deadline is nearing,

the kids will be cheering

If you open your wallet and

help them fill the hole…. So….



Give a donation! Send a donation!

Pledge a donation, every dollar

makes a dent.

Help out your nation, join the sensation, solve our equation,

we’ll match it cent for cent!


“Wow!” Yankel cried. “If that’s the case, then, no problem at all! I can bring a magic yarmulke to your home in five minutes. But I must admit, I have only one left. Who will get to wear it? Shnooky? Shlumpy? Dizzy?”

Looks of disappointment were shared all around. But the boys knew better than to complain. There was a long pause, then… “I think Shnooky,” Dr. Middos spoke with finality. “He did a moiredige job in Dr. Doomshtein’s satellite.”

“All right, all right, I’ll be right over!”

Dr. Middos smiled. Hashem had helped them again.


Scene Nine
Location: Oorah Headquarters, Lakewood, NJ

The undercover FBI jeep pulled up just one block away from Oorah headquarters. Two men and one woman exited the car. They looked ordinary — until you got a closer look at the devilish expression on the woman’s face. The men positioned themselves strategically, where they could see and not be seen, and handed Ms. Skita Reeter a set of ultra-zoom, high-power binoculars. She placed them before her eyes.

“So, Ms. Reeter,” Officer Bradley said pompously, “I don’t know how many counterfeiting operations you’ve seen, but this is one of the most obvious I’ve observed in all my years on the job. Zoom in through that window, and you’ll see it — the entire interior of their headquarters is lined with five-dollar bills.”

Reeter stared long and hard, but said nothing. Finally she spoke.

“Officer,” her voice was tense, “I don’t see any five-dollar bills at all. I just see rectangular sheets of paper. But they’re blank. Absolutely blank!”

Bradley waved his hand in exasperation. “Oh, you journalists know nothing about espionage.” He grabbed the binoculars and stared through them. Five long minutes passed. The binoculars fell to the ground and Officer Bradley turned to Intern Oliver.

“Oliver.” His voice was trembling. “The five-dollar bills are gone. Along with the classified documents. This operation is jinxed!”

Oliver was about to respond but the blood-curdling shriek of anger emanating from the heart and soul of Skita Reeter made intelligent comments irrelevant. The incensed woman grabbed the car keys out of Bradley’s hands, stormed into the jeep, and roared away.


Scene Ten
Location: 13th Ave. and 51st Street, Boro Park

Dr. Middos’s galactic document tracking system only gave approximate locations, which made the task even trickier. According to its algorithm, the documents would be in the vicinity of Boro Park’s 13th Avenue and 51st Street for the next ten minutes or so, before continuing south toward Florida.

Shnooky placed the magic yarmulke gingerly on his head and began to walk, then run. The wind rushed against his face as he raced up the long blocks of Boro Park. The feeling was incredible! It was literally as if he were flying! The avenues whizzed by quickly: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, he could already spot crowds of men wearing hats and jackets — of course! Thirteenth and 51st was the location of the famed minyan factory, Shomrei Shabbos. And what was that floating above their heads? Documents! Those must be the documents!

With a superhuman leap, Shnooky soared through the air, grabbed the precious papers, and clutched them against his chest. It was such a special moment, he wished he could just stay there, dangling mid-air. But of course, he couldn’t. Reluctantly, he allowed gravity to take its course.

Shnooky Shapiro hit the ground with a thud.

Meanwhile, Skita Reeter was zooming down Ocean Parkway like a maniac. She may have been uncontrollably angry to see her Pulitzer evaporate before her eyes, but she had enough composure and ambition to know exactly where she was going. That synagogue, the one that operated at unseemly hours, it was a goldmine of hit piece material; hassidic Jews literally oozed from its walls. If she couldn’t get the counterfeit story, she’d get something else.

Skita Reeter had long ago learned to tolerate Boro Park’s horrific traffic and, after wading through 13th Avenue’s standstill for an hour or so, she finally pulled up to her destination. 13th and — huh? What was going on? A kid wearing a crazy-looking beanie had just landed out of thin air. He was clutching papers against his chest, holding them for dear life.

Her journalist’s intuition began to tingle again. This Jew was up to no good, and she’d make this a scoop, one way or another. She leaped from the car, strode swiftly over to the boy and, before he could say anything, grabbed the papers out of his hands. He stared at her, befuddled.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she snarled. “What are these anyways, huh? Another tax-free property you ripped off the government? Well, soon the whole world will know! Just check the front page of the New York Times in a week or two!”

She placed the documents in her crocodile skin bag and reentered the car, snickering loudly. She felt much calmer now, her mind began reviewing the day’s activities and suddenly, she felt guilty. She valued her professional relationship with Officer Bradley and didn’t want to burn any bridges. She owed him an apology.


Scene Eleven
Location: Officer Bradley’s private office

Two hours later, Skita Reeter pulled up outside the nondescript building that camouflaged an FBI office. She grunted a hello at the receptionist and went straight for the elevator that would take her directly to Bradley’s office. She had full security clearance; she was a frequent visitor.

Bradley and Oliver were busy tidying up, and she took a seat, placing her crocodile skin bag on the floor, waiting for them to notice her. They finally did, and there was some understandable bitterness as they greeted her.

“Ah, Ms. Reeter,” Officer Bradley said coldly, “how wonderful it is to see you again.”

Skita knew she had to be extra friendly. She smiled brightly.

“Well, Officer, it’s wonderful to see you as well. I came to apologize for…” Her voice trailed off as she noticed how Officer Bradley wasn’t paying attention to her at all. His eyes were fixated on her crocodile skin bag, and something about his facial expression was making her feel uneasy.

“Your bag,” he said in a dangerous tone. “What are those papers in your bag?”

His voice was terrifying and she began to sputter. But there was no time to speak. Officer Bradley had already extracted the papers and was leafing through them quickly. He then called over his intern and the two held a brief, secret discussion. She stared, frozen in place, as Officer Bradley turned to her with a steely expression.

“So it was you,” he said icily.

“What was me?!” Skita cried, suddenly finding her voice.

Bradley laughed mirthlessly. “Oh, quit the charade. You know good and well. You’re the only one with security clearance to this office! Classified documents mysteriously go missing, vitally important classified documents that can mean a huge promotion for me — and where do I find them? In your handbag! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on here, Madam! Mr. Trump wasn’t lying when he said the mainstream media is out to destroy our country. I should never have trusted you. A journalist, you call yourself? How about a purveyor of fake news. Fake news, I tell you. That’s more like it!”

Officer Bradley was angry. Fuming, in fact. But suddenly he heard Director Scott’s authoritative voice. “Anger will get you nowhere. When the tensions are high, find a way to lower them a notch.” Hmm, it was good advice but easier said than done. What could he do to lighten the mood? Struck by a flash of inspiration, he closed his eyes and began to sing. Intern Oliver, who had a real knack for music, caught on immediately and began to sing along.


TTTO “Neshomeleh” (Journeys 2)

Officer Bradley:

Come with me, you wicked reporter

And let me show you to the door

Your libels won’t be going any further

They are rotten to the core.

Come with me, ill-fated reporter

You’re not the first, won’t be the last.

You have tried and failed to stop the Jewish people

From clinging to their precious past.


Skita Reeter:

But dear officer, no, I don’t want to go

There’s this leftist liberal line

the yeshivahs just won’t toe

We need to keep attacking them

until they all submit

This is a fight that we can’t lose

how can you make me quit?


Officer Bradley:

Come with me, ill-fated reporter

Don’t you see, your game is done.

A promise so divine sustains these people,

They are bound to the holy One.

And now your game is done.


Ms. Skita Reeter was then led from the office with her hands up in the air.


Scene Twelve
Location: polling stations across the US

Dr. Middos was thrilled that the documents had been stopped midair, saving the good askanim at the Conference from the ire of the FBI… but there was still an election in the offing. Once again, Dr. Middos began to pace. He had to think. He had to come up with a plan.

“Aha!” he cried out. “Why, it’s so simple! If the Middos Menaces can rig the election, so can I! I will make sure that Joe Biden wins — he’s boring enough to keep all the Yiddishe kinderlach focused on what really counts.”

Dr. Middos quickly tinkered with his machinery until he produced an operative electromagnetic voting manipulator. He then punched in the keywords: SOMEONE WHOSE NAME BEGINS WITH JOE AND IS VERY FAMOUS.

There, the job had been done. Now he could relax.

On a fine November morning a bit more than a year later, the big day came. The American people headed out for the polls. Little did they know that, by hook or by crook, SOMEONE WHOSE NAME BEGINS WITH JOE AND IS VERY FAMOUS would win.

The final number was tallied, the screens in the election headquarters revealed the winner. JOEY NEWCOMB had won the presidency of the United States of America!

There’s no arguing with election results. At least not in the mainstream media.

Throngs gathered and the din quieted as the newly elected president, long sidelocks flowing and guitar strapped securely over his shoulder, ascended the stage and approached the mic.

“My fellow citizens, how aw you over there?!” The crowd erupted in cheers. The president continued. “As president of the United States, my mission is to create unity. Under my watch, the Chassid, the Litvak, the Breslover, and the Sephardi will all dance together!” Another eruption of applause. “I will make peace with Morrocco! We will eat shakshuka together!” The crowd roared their appreciation. “I would like to thank all of the American People for their faith in me. I would like to thank my Mom, my Dad, and my producer, Doni Gross. But above all else, I would like to say… Thank You Hashem!”

And tens of thousands thundered their thanks in collective song.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 951)

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