Character Study – Arel Gitterman

Published March 20, 2015 by rochellewisoff


“Havah saw him as if in a dream remembered long ago. His hair and beard, inky shadows, framed a face as pale as dawn. Like silver-gray clouds, his prolific eyes spoke with silent words.

Arel. A strong name. Lion of God.”


Represented by  Loiacono Literary Agency

Published by W&B Publishers (Summer 2015)


Arel Gitterman - Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

AREL GITTERMAN – Original Artwork © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Arel Gitterman is the youngest of Yussel’s five children and his only son. Arel was five-years-old when brain fever killed his mother and took his father’s sight. A gifted child, he became Yussel’s eyes for reading.

He’s always been an obedient son, groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps as the next rabbi. At the age of thirteen he was betrothed to Gittel Levine, the cantor’s* daughter.

Arel’s never questioned his role in life—until the day of Havah’s dramatic arrival in Svechka. For both he and Havah it was love at first sight.

Much to her chagrin, he’s a man of his word and he refuses to break his covenant with Gittel, Havah’s adopted sister.   


*The cantor sings or chants prayers in synagogue service.

The following video is the Kaddish prayer that Havah chanted the night of her escape from Natalya. It is the prayer that’s traditionally recited or sung in honor of the dead. Rather than a prayer for the dead as some believe it’s a prayer honoring the Almighty. Here it’s sung by a Hasidic cantor.


May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future;

and all say, Amen.

May his great name be blessed, forever and ever.

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world;

and all say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel;

and all say, Amen.

He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all Israel;

and say Amen.

22 comments on “Character Study – Arel Gitterman

  • Dear Rochelle,

    Your artistry is going to keep you warm in your old age. You will look back on these days and smile. Your characters are a testament to your vivid imagination, just as your backyard lap pool will be a testament to Jan’s determination. Congratulations to both of you.



    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      That voice is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I love listening to it. Usually the Kaddish prayer is done slowly and with an air of sadness. My husband and kids sing, but nothing like that. We did had two cantors in the synagogue we went to. One could’ve shattered glass but the other one was awesome.

      The reality of the work has set in and the reality of the fact that most first novels don’t do all that well. Of course we all hope for better. At any rate I have to take one step and at time.

      Thank you for coming by and commenting.




  • Dear Rochelle, I love your story and the musical piece is awesome! I’m not Jewish, but it made me appreciate your religion so much more. The cantor has a fabulous voice and the rabbi has a good sense of humor. I’m so impressed, and I hope this doesn’t sound really stupid. Thanks for being our leader Rochelle, you have so much kindness in your heart and I admire you immensely. Nan


    • Dear Nan,

      I wish every cantor were as gifted as the one in the video.😉 We had two cantors in one of the synagogues we attended. One of them could shatter glass, the other one was amazing.

      Your comment doesn’t sound stupid at all. You made me smile.

      Leading Friday Fictioneers has introduced me to some wonderful people such as yourself.

      Thank you for your uplifting words.




  • Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful edition of the Kaddish. That Cantor’s voice! Oy! (No, I’m not Jewish, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.)

    And may I say, that Rabbi is quite the handsome man as well plus he has a sense of humour..🙂


    • Dear Dale,

      It’s a high compliment indeed when someone who isn’t Jewish understands and appreciates the story. And that cantor is one of the most amazing I’ve ever heard and the rabbi is a cutie, there’s no denying that.



      Liked by 1 person

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