By: Esther Pardes
Daddy burst in, waving the newest copy of Community Magazine. The whole Pardes family looked up, surprised, as Daddy literally ran across the kitchen floor and deposited the magazine in front of Ezra’s bowl of chicken soup. Ezra, startled, dropped the spoon with a clatter into his bowl. Soup sloshed over the edge and some droplets flew onto the cover of the Community.
“Careful!” Daddy grinned. “You’re going to want to save this copy to show your kids one day!”
As the family began hurling questions and guesses across the kitchen table, Daddy held up a hand for silence. “Open to the table of contents, Ez.”
Ezra held his breath as he skimmed the table of contents:
You Are What You Eat by R. Eli Mansour.
Top Ten Halachot of Birkat Hamazon.
He looked at Daddy in confusion. “I don’t…”
Daddy smiled. “Check between Shaatra Files and Ask Sito.”
Ezra looked. Right there, staring back at him, was his name. “Ezra Pardes: A True Hero.”
Ezra felt a slow blush begin spreading across his face. His heart began pounding. He
checked the page number and quickly flipped through the magazine.
“Read it aloud!” Mommy urged. She smiled like she already knew what this was all about.
Ezra handed it back to his father. “I’m too embarrassed,” he said, smiling shyly.
Daddy cleared his throat and read:
Ezra Pardes: A True Hero
While most kids would be quick to agree that honesty is the best policy, Ezra Pardes has taken this concept to a whole new level.
It all began last spring, when the Pardes family opened “Pardes Acres.” A family farm resort that seemed to promise a busy and exciting summer for the Pardes children, nicknamed “The Crocs Kids” for the footgear they often wear. However, “busy” and “exciting” took on new meaning when the resort was subject to numerous acts of sabotage… At first, the mischief was attributed to Ezra, who had been disappearing mysteriously for many hours. But then Ezra’s innocence was revealed, as the damaging attacks took on a dangerous turn when the mysterious intruder set fire to the horse barn while several of the Pardes children were inside with the riding instructor. The instructor and children ran for safety – except for Ezra, who stayed behind just long enough to free the horses trapped in the blazing barn. The act of heroism almost cost Ezra his life, until the fire chief became aware that not all the children had escaped. Ezra emerged alive, but with serious injuries.
Before his wounds even healed, Ezra notified the police about a strange and frightening man he’d seen on the outskirts of the farm.
The police contacted the FBI when Ezra’s description of the man was revealed to match the features of NY’s most wanted criminal, the thieving Cropsy.
A search party was then assembled to find Cropsy’s hideout. During the search, the chief questioned Ezra as to why he had been hiding out in the forest. Ezra, in an act of admirable honesty, answered the chief straightforwardly that he’d been hiding from his parents and playing clandestinely on his Wii – even though he was forbidden from doing so.
Ezra’s brave decision to reveal the truth made a tremendous impression on the chief. When the investigations in the forest failed to find any hideout, the chief refused to turn back. “I trust this young man,” the chief declared to the group. “Any person who’s man enough to admit a wrong the way this kid’s done, is someone who’s word I take seriously.”
The investigators, following Ezra’s hunch, searched further and discovered Cropsy’s hideout under a convincing decoy of branches and brush. Although the crude hut was empty, the FBI said he’d left significant clues as to his whereabouts, and they are currently scouring the countryside for the scoundrel.
If and when he is found, Cropsy will be forced to stand trial for at least 34 armed robberies, and various damages, including those done to Pardes Acres. The star witness will be the “boy of truth” who resides in the heart of our community, Ezra Pardes.
A respected Hacham, familiar with the details of the story, commented, “The greatness of a young boy, to admit the truth in such a fine way, creates a tremendous kiddush Hashem. Such emet (truth) surely created a great tumult in Heaven.”
Daddy closed the Community and said softly, “And guess what, my Crocs Kids? Ezra will be standing as witness in Cropsy’s trial this coming March. They found Cropsy. And you’ll never guess where…”
To be continued…