The Tenth Prayer
The Tenth Prayer
by Stephen G. Esrati
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THE CHARACTERS IN THE TENTH PRAYER AND WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Yevgenia Maximovna Koganova is the daughter of a member of the Soviet Politburo who is
purged by Stalin. She is smuggled out of the Soviet Union and taken to Palestine, where Maxim
Koganovís brother lives in Golania, a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee. She is brought up in
Golania through adolescence and into young womanhood, living in the same room with boys
until well past puberty. She marries someone from another kibbutz, whose members belong to a
different political party, and he moves into Golania. When he votes as he always has, he is
evicted from the kibbutz. To keep her husband, Genia leaves the kibbutz.
Jacob Frumkin is a German refugee from Hitler who enlists in the U.S. Army to get even for the
death of his parents and grandparents. After the war, he joins the effort to smuggle surviving
Jews out of Europe to Palestine, where the British have thrown up a blockade.
He is ordered to spend some leave in Venice with a woman soldier who has deserted from the
Jewish Brigade to work in the illegal immigration effort.
When the U.S. Army discovers his double life, he quickly gets discharged and sails for Palestine
on one of the illegal ships.
The hunted broadcaster of the Voice of Fighting Zion, broadcasting station of the Irgun.
The British find the transmitter for the station in Naomiís bedroom and she flees the country,
then returns once the British leave Palestine.
Yokhanan Galili is a native of Rosh Pina in Galilee, a high-ranking officer of Haganah, and an
atheist. He battles the Turkish system the British left in place, whereby each religious
denomination has total control over matters of birth, marriage, divorce, inheritance, or
As a member of the Tel Aviv City Council, Yokhanan wants to overthrow what he terms
theocracy. He marries an American Baptist and they have a baby. The baby dies and cannot be
buried anywhere because of the intermarriage.
David Gordon, a young New York Jew, was beaten up by the German-American Bund. He goes
to the 92nd Street YHCA to learn how to defend himself and gets recruited into Betar, a
nationalist Zionist youth organization, of which he soon becomes a leader. After Pearl Harbor, he
enlists in the Army Air Force and gets shot down over Ploesti, Romania. Once he is back in
civilian life, he enrolls at M.I.T. and, at the same time, takes command of a Betar chapter in
In the spring of 1947, he heads for Palestine to join the fight against the invading Arabs. When
his ship reaches Beirut, he and all other Jewish males are taken hostage by Lebanon.
[This part of the story is partly autobiographical, as the author was one of the 61 hostages in
Lebanon. Since Esrati was first off the ship, he was the first American hostage in
Dave is repatriated and jumps ship in the Azores, hoping to join an Irgun ship in the harbor. He is
nabbed and his U.S. passport is confiscated by Washington, D.C.
Emanuel Cardozo, the son of a Colorado millionaire, becomes one of the leaders of the American
League for a Free Palestine, a group that makes a distinction between Jews in Palestine (whom
they term Hebrews), and Jews in America (whom it terms Jews).
Manny, a diesel engineer, sails the Sally Jane to Israel but breaks down in the Azores, where he takes Dave aboard.
And then it gets complicated.
Read the first chapter of THE TENTH PRAYER.