Where are you and what are you doing when you find out about the Many Worlds Collective and that your aunt is the liaison/Chief Communicator?
KESHET: Funny story. Our parents' anniversary is right around then, in the American calendar, and we usually celebrate it on the Hebrew calendar date, which varies. So, that year, it just so happens to be their 37th wedding anniversary, which is not so special, really, but we're all there, anyway. My brothers, their wives, all their kids and I are at their house in old New Jersey.
It's Shabbat, which happens early in December because candlelighting is at sunset.
Anyway, it is about 8 PM and the phone rings. We're already eating, talking all at once, sitting at three tables spanning our parents' dining room, kitchen, hallway. There are 16 of us just in the family and some nights (not that one, thank HaShem!), there are a few extras.
It's very loud and fun, chaotic and orderly, all at once. Feels like "home," to me. My mom is an amazing cook and organizer. On this night, she has help with so many of us there, so it's quite a feast.
We never answer the phone on Shabbat, but since Abba is "on call," he has to listen to the message and then he decides if he'll call back, pick up, ignore it, whatever. So, we all get quiet so he can hear it.
Aunt Clara's voice comes through, loudly (she is somewhat hard of hearing, so she speaks loudly, anyway. Plus, she knows our habits, so she's yelling to make sure we can hear her from the answering machine on the table in the kitchen all the way to our dining room).
Aunt Clara says something like this: "Tom, Raisa, everyone: Happy Anniversary, you two. Love to you all. Sorry to call on Shabbat. Can't be helped. I know it's not usually OK, but, Tom, consider this an emergency and pick up, please."
I think my dad thinks it must be about my grandma, Rose, 'cause he jumps up and picks up. I have never seen him do that. So, we all watch, and he listens for a minute. Then, he shakes his head, gets this disgusted look on his face, says, "Are you kidding me with this shit?" and hangs up.
He doesn't say a thing to any of us. He comes back to the table, laughing. he looks at Raisa, who raises one eyebrow at him. "It's nothing. Just Clara being Clara." He declares this as if it's a done deal, then sits back down to continue eating dessert and drinking his schnapps, shaking his head.
Meanwhile, my mom jumps up and says: "I'll be right back." She runs upstairs, gets her cell phone out of the charger—another thing I've never seen her do on Shabbat—and calls Aunt Clara, right in front of us!
I am shocked!
Ema talks, standing where we can all hear her:"Clara, it's Raisa. Sorry about Tom. Is it today? Really? OK. What do I tell everyone?"
I guess Aunt Clara asks to be put on speaker 'cause my mom does that so we all can hear Aunt Clara. Ema holds the phone high over the table, but the kids are making some noise in the other rooms.
My mom says, "Wait, Clara. Got to sheket the kids." My mom gestures to my brothers and their wives.
My sisters-in-law go shush their kids and come right back, with the older ones walking behind and the youngest three in arms. I take Ag and Dafna's toddler, Nessa, on my lap, Moran takes his toddler, Orna, and Abba gets the youngest boy of Lav & Betel, Yidel, which usually calms them both down.
Abba looks nonplussed. Somehow, we all know something monumental is going on and even the babies are quiet, now.
Ema says: "Go on, Clara. We're all here, listening."
Aunt Clara begins. She explains.
Well, you know the info.
When she gets to the part about the aliens, the entire room erupts in laughter. But, one look from Ema and we all get quiet. My brothers and Abba look stunned.
Aunt Clara keeps talking, explaining more.
Then, Ema says, "That's probably enough, for now, Clara. I'll take it from here."
She thanks her, Aunt Clara says she loves us all, and Ema ends the call and sits back down.
No one talks for a minute, which is more than unusual in that group.
Then, Moran says, "I believe her," which starts an eruption at the table.
Everyone at once is yelling, laughing, talking. I think Lav's wife, Betel, is crying, so Yidel starts crying and squirming on Abba's lap.
It's crazy loud and chaotic, even more than usual.
Ema stands up, slams her hand on the table and shouts: "SHEKET!"
She never yells like that, EVER. We all sheket, even the babies.
Then, Ema explains her previous call with Aunt Clara, what she knows, what's really going on, all that. She talks quietly, for a long time. Kids and adults are miraculously listening and quiet.
Abba is turning purple, he's so mad. But, he shekets for Ema to talk and he jiggles his legs to calm Yidel, too.
This whole time, I'm jiggling Nessa in my lap, thinking wild thoughts, like, Is HaShem an alien? and Does HaShem rule the multiverse? and stuff like that. I think it's all rather rad.
Ema says, "That's all, for now."
Moran jumps up and says, "I know it's all true. I have dreams." Eruption, again, shouting, laughing, asking questions.
Then, Agam and Dafna's son, SOLOMON, who's three years old and who has been listening intently to all of this, goes over to Moran, taps him on his arm and says, "Dod [Uncle] Moran? Me, too," he looks kind of nervously at his parents, then back to Moran. "I see the funny people talking to Doda [Aunt] Clara."
Lav and Betel's only daughter of their four kids, Chaya, who's also three, jumps up from her chair and yells, "I do, too, Dod Moran. Look!"
She pulls a folded-up, crayon picture out of her pocket that must have been there since before dinner. On it are a drawing of what must be Led, 'cause he's the blue-grey zeppelin, and Aunt Clara.
I recognize her 'cause of her blondish curls and bright blue eyes. Led is floating in front of Aunt Clara. Chaya, amazingly, has all five of the holos there, drawn pretty well for a little kid, you know?
Chaya waves it at everyone: "See?"
Chaya's actually quite talented as an artist, even at that age. She's very proud of her drawing. She holds it up for all of us to see.
I gasp, and others do, too. It's quite shocking, even now, when I think about it, but so funny! This teeny kid already knows what we're now learning!
I start laughing, then so do Betel and Dafna, then Ema, then Liora [Moran's wife], then most of us. Abba, Lav and Ag sit there, not smiling or talking, and that says a lot, right?
The older kids are crowding around to see Chaya's drawing, asking her questions about the other aliens, but she shakes her head and says, "Just this one."
Ari and Dov, her older brothers, are trying to take the paper from her, but Chaya holds on, and then they all start yelling. Betel has to intervene. It's back to normal, now. Almost.
Moran, holding Orana, goes over to Chaya and brings Solomon with him. He kneels down so he's at her level and says, "Good job, Chaya. You are an excellent dreamer and a great artist!" He gives her a hug, then hugs Solomon and says, "You, too, Sol. Great dreamer!" Moran looks defiantly at Abba, at Agam, at Lavi, at the wives, daring them to contradict him. No one does.
Ema adds: "That's right, listen to Dod Moran." She beams at the group assembled there.
Orna is squirming in her dad's arms, trying to grab for the drawing. Moran notices this and asks, "What is it, Orna-la? Do you like Chaya's drawing, too?"
Orna bats at it, babbling something, but she's only about 4 months old and we don't know what she's saying.
Of course, now we could all guess that she's probably telling us everything we don't know, yet, being Orna and already knowing it all!
The rest of the night is taken up with all of us trying to understand the implications of what Aunt Clara tells us and what we all know and don't know, how we feel, what we think. Abba is strangely quiet but with so many others talking no one but my mom really notices.
Ema tells me they talk later, after everyone goes to their respective rooms and it's just the two of them in the living room. He's not happy and he's not convinced it's true, yet.
He's still disbelieving, she says, right up until the Big Reveal. It's only after CNN and Fox News carry the story and show the vid that he believes Aunt Clara.
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