Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts



The Family Secret – flash fiction

From the time Cora Kingston attended the one room school house she had eyes for no other than John Yendow, a boy four years older. At home Cora’s mother would rail the girl that he was unacceptable. As Cora grew older her mother tried to pair her with unknowns from out of town but Cora refused. After typhoid took both her mother and John, Cora finally accepted another and moved far away. Years later she returned to erect a tombstone for her true love. If only he had been Jewish like her mother. The best kept secret in town.


In response to Charli Mills December 13, 2018, prompt from Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Cora Kingston. You can answer any of the questions history obscures or completely make up a Cora Kingston story. Go where the prompt (and the name) leads you.

A Jewish Ark Curtain

I have a creative tip for you. If you are going to make something, or create a personal gift for a person or organization that includes lettering, do yourself a favor and do it in your own language. Why do I say this? Simple; it’s too easy to make a mistake in another language and not grasp you did it or realize the ramifications of having done so. What am I talking about?

I offered to make a new curtain to cover the Ark in a Jewish Temple. The Ark is where the Torahs are kept and it’s a holy receptacle that plays an important part in the Jewish faith. I looked on-line for ideas, combined a couple of them and happily went to work with shiny gold and dark brown fabrics on white velvet. Of course there was Hebrew lettering involved which I traced, cut and appliquéd onto the curtain. Continue reading “A Jewish Ark Curtain”

Floaters Not Sinkers

As the only non-Jew in the house, I cringed when my new husband’s father demanded to know at the dinner table, “Who made these matzoh balls? They aren’t round.”

A female cousin said, “I tried to show her, but she said I was taking all the air out of them by rolling them in my palms. She barely touched them with her fast fingers and dropped them into the boiling pot of broth. They floated.”

“Well that’s it then. When it comes to matzoh balls, floaters are much better than sinkers. She is to make them from now on.”


In  response to Charli Mills March 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about fingers that fly. Think about the different ways we use our fingers and what happens when we add speed. Go where the prompt leads.

March 29: Flash Fiction Challenge

Not an Ordained Rabbi

Temple Beth-El in Hornell, NY, had a celebration to recognize its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places on Sunday, October 9, 2016.  The building itself  is not impressive to look at.  It is “Minimal Tradition” in style, and small compared to what the mind thinks of when it hears the word temple, or synagogue.  As we learned in the dedication yesterday, it’s not what the building looks like, it’s the people who make its heart beat that are important.

There were thirteen of my husband’s family there  because their grandfather was instrumental in making the congregation a thriving entity back in the ’40s when there was a large contingency of Jewish people living in Hornell.  Today, that is not the case.  The Temple is only open for the fall High Days, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Since the year 2000, the services have been led by a teacher from a Jewish school in Washington, D.C.  We call him our visiting Rabbi, but he will tell you, “I’m not ordained.”  We still call him Rabbi out of respect and love.  My husband and I had the privilege of having him stay in our home Saturday night and taking him to the event on Sunday.  We do not keep a kosher home and I was concerned about what to feed him.  Somewhere in the conversation we remembered from sharing other meals with him, that he doesn’t eat meat, and he loves fruit.  I relaxed a little.

The  question in our modern world of travel is always, will the plane be on time.  He was supposed to arrive at 11:30pm Saturday evening.  Well, that turned into 3:00am Sunday morning.  When we got back to the house, Paul had a meal of fresh fruit, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, peanuts and three peanut butter cookies.  He did join us for a cheese omelet late Sunday morning.

The celebration was a HUGE success.  The Temple was full to almost overflowing.  A sight to behold when you know what it looks like on a high day.  A few people did a lot of work to make the registration happen.  We are proud to be a part of the heart beat.  So what’s the point of all this?  Our cousin took our “Rabbi” back to D.C after the service. Before they left, he whispered to me, “What do I feed him?  Can I stop at a restaurant?”  I laughed, relieved to know I wasn’t the only one with that question.  I had packed them a bag with fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and cookies, but I meant it as a snack.  I’ll have to find out if they stopped someplace.

We appreciate that Paul leads our services every fall.  You ought to hear how fast he can speak Hebrew!  [Note; he looks nothing like the above picture and doesn’t wear a collar.]


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