#FALL FRENZY 2022 Contest Entry

Thank you for hosting the Fall Writing Frenzy contest, Kaitlyn Lean Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. Also, thank you to the special guest judge, Alyssa Reynoso-Morris and all the generous prize donors!

                                                                                       THE SWEETEST PRESENCE

                                                                                                                  By Ilana R. Wieder

Lemons on a towel
Credit: Olalamk-for-freepik

Dad put on his prayer shawl and smelled the sweet, savory scent of the etrog.

He closed his eyes and smiled, bringing the four species close to his heart.

David hasn’t seen his dad this happy in months. He walked out into the balcony and reached for the second lulav and etrog.

“Be careful,” Dad whispered. “You don’t want to break the pitom.” 

Once, when David was little he bit into the etrog and broke the top edge of the citron fruit. Dad was mad. Real mad. The Fall holiday of Sukkot had already started and the Jewish stores were closed. They couldn’t make the blessing then. 

Now, it was almost David’s Bar-Mitzvah. He knew better and he knew this ritual was his Dad’s favorite.


Dad nodded. 

“Bzzzzz” they made a light saber sound as they turned the citron to face the sky. They shook the lulav in all six directions, reciting the blessing together.

“Do you feel Him?” David asked.

“God? Yes.” 

Dad placed the etrog carefully back in its case. Closing his eyes again, he inhaled the fresh morning air as a tear rolled down his cheek.

“Do you feel her?” he asked.

“Mom? Yes.”


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