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Menachem Tries To Fight The Redcoats
I always wondered why people thought people like us are so different? We are still living and breathing human beings. How could they think of us as something close to a different species? I think that this is a misconception that must be set straight at once. Little did I know that on that 5th of March in 1770 there would be an even bigger problem erupting right in the town square.
“Aba,” The name that my father goes by in this town is Moses, but he prefers that I call him Aba in the house, which is Hebrew for father. My father tells us that since the people who live in our town don’t like Jews, we must go by different names in public so that they do not get suspicious. I asked him, “Why do the people of Boston consider Jews to be so different?”
“Well, Bracha” My Hebrew name is Bracha, which means blessing, and my last name is Goldstein. But, to everybody else in the town, I am Elizabeth Coleman. “To them, different things are scary. They like to consider the Christian religion the most prestigious of all, because it is the one that they practice. However, they are very unaware that there are very many other religions practiced all over the world, and many people who practice those religions think that they are more superior than everybody else too.”
I still didn’t understand why other people thought Jews were so different, but I didn’t want to further divert my father’s attention from his Torah studies. Like the rest of my family, I found studying Torah very calming and fun. The one prayer that I found the most interesting was Ashrei, a prayer that had one sentence for every letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Also, every sentence described something very positive about Hashem, (God). After studying the Torah portion of Bereishis, I walked over to the mirror in the living room to brush my hair. I have my mother’s hair! I thought to myself, which is true. Like my mother, I had very long, dark brown hair, and I also have her deep emerald green eyes, though, I am taller than she was when she was thirteen. I am about five feet and one inch tall now, and she was about four feet and ten inches. When I finished brushing my hair, I heard mother call me down to help her prepare lunch.
After praying to Hashem and thanking him for all of the things that we are so fortunate to have, I began to get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach.
“Ima,” Ima is Hebrew for mother, and her faux name that the public knew was Megan Coleman. “I don’t feel very good may I please be excused to my room?”
“Are you all right?” Ima asked me, “Would you like me to give you some tea?”
“Oh no, I’m alright. I just feel like I maybe ate too much breakfast this morning.” I did not want to tell her that I felt like something bad was going to happen because knowing my mother and how overprotective she was, she would get very worried and be watching us every second for the rest of the day.
After lying in my room for a good amount of time just resting, I decided to glance across the hall into Menachem’s room to see what he was doing. The house was kind of dark, except for the light coming from the candles, so I was guessing that it was already evening. I sat up to get a better view of his room, but to my surprise, his room was empty. I got up, grabbed my robe and slippers, and ran over there just to make sure he wasn’t hiding. Then, I noticed that his window was open. I glanced outside to see if maybe he was sneaking out to go to Adam’s house, since he had left his Kippah in his bedside table. Whenever my father or my brother left the house, they always left their Kippahs in a safe place because if they wore them outside, people might suspect that we were Jewish.
The cold, March, evening air bit my skin like a swarm of mosquitoes. There was no sight of him anywhere, but I did see a big group of colonists throwing pieces of cobble from the street, very large chunks of ice and anything else that they could get their hands on at the Boston Custom House. They were all attacking the Redcoats inside that Custom House because of General Thomas Gage’s orders to bring them here in order to enforce the new laws. Then, in the middle of that crowd, I noticed a boy who looked very strong, tall, and just like me with shorter hair. Then, I realized, that boy was Menachem. He was picking up by far the biggest chunks of ice out of all of the boys that were sixteen years old; he had always been very naturally strong. Oh no! I thought, he’s going to get himself killed. And I was right. At that moment, tens of Redcoats ran out of the Boston Common House, guns pointed at all of the colonists, including my brother. I climbed out of the window, still in my slippers and my robe, and ran over to where this scene was taking place, which was actually very close to my house. At that time, the worst thought that I have ever had went through my head. What if one of the Redcoats fires his gun instead of just standing there with it? They might hit Menachem! What if he misses? He could shoot straight at our house! Aba! Ima!
I finally found Menachem in that giant crowd of people and said, “What do you think you’re doing?” I actually kind of yelled it, since there was so much noise being made from all of those people screaming.
“What are you doing here?” he asked me.
“That’s not the problem the problem is the fact that you are here throwing whatever you can find at…” I didn’t even finish what I was going to say because at that moment I heard the Redcoats’ commanding officer, yell “Fire!”
I immediately froze at the sound of that command. It seemed that everybody else, though, seemed to think that if we threw more chunks of ice and cobble at the British Redcoats, they might put their guns down.
I tugged on Menachem’s sleeve, “Come on,“ I said, “It’s not safe here, we have to leave!”
“What are you talking about?” He asked me, “We are finally beginning to win!”
“I just heard the commanding officer yell ‘fire.’” I yelled, clearly shocked.
Menachem finally realized the gravity of the situation and said, “Let’s get out of here!”
But it was too late. The Redcoats had already begun to fire, and then I saw five colonists drop to the ground, dead. Then, Menachem collapsed to the ground and began to say the Shema. The Shema is a prayer that you would only say in the morning, right after you wake up, and when you are dying. I looked down and saw Menachem’s shirt covered in blood. He’s been shot! I thought. Then, I realized that the bullet had actually gone through his leg, not his heart. This definitely calmed me down by a lot because now I knew that he’s not dying.
“It’s alright Menachem it’s just your leg!” I said to him, “I’m gonna get you out of here.” I am not as strong as Menachem, but in my opinion, I do think that I have quite a bit of muscle in my body. I tried to pick Menachem up and carry him on my back, like a yoke, but this didn’t work at all. I didn’t have any time to think about a logically good way to carry him, so I had to just drag him by his arms. I did not drag him by his feet because that would put his leg in more pain than it was already in. I never realized how heavy Menachem was. I was running as fast as I could, dragging him behind me. When I brought him through he front door, I took one glance at Ima and Aba’s faces, and then I fell to the floor.
When I woke up, I found myself lying on the floor of our kitchen, with Ima gently rubbing my head with some ice wrapped up in a towel.
“Oh,” she said, “thank goodness, you’re alright.”
“Where’s Menachem?” I managed to ask. I felt like I had just awakened from a six-day nap.
“He’s just fine.” Ima said, “Aba is tending to his leg. Do you feel okay?”
“Just a little tired, that’s all,” I said.
“Okay. Would you be alright with me leaving you to go and help Aba with Menachem’s leg?” she asked.
“Can I come too?” I asked her.
She thought about it for a minute and said, “Very well.”
When we reached the door of Menachem’s room, I paused for a second, took a deep breath, and then walked in. Menachem was lying on his bed, with his leg wrapped in about ten different towels, Aba was praying for a speedy recovery for him in the corner, Ima went to make sure that his leg was okay, and I was just standing in the doorway. I walked over to Menachem and asked him if he was feeling better.
“Yeah, I’m feeling much better. Thank you so much for everything,” he said. Even though he said he felt much better, he was still looking very weak. “Honestly, I would have died out there if you hadn’t done what you did.”
“You’re welcome,” was all I could manage to say.
“I guess there is no point in grounding you since you can’t even leave your bed for about three months,” said Ima.