Books by Fred Reiss
~Jewish Calendar~
~Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism~
~Jewish Religious Fiction~
~History of Education in Camden, NJ~
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                        Praise for
          Reclaiming the Messiah

    "Not accepting Jesus as the Messiah, there are Jews who continue to wait for the true Messiah to come. 'Reclaiming the Messiah' is a religious thriller with a Jewish twist, as protagonist Ben Silverman sees the emergence of the Messiah as something that will soon become a reality. Using the biblical code, he will soon be able to find two treasured items to Jewish mysticism that will spur on the coming of the Jewish Messiah. A riveting read of Jewish religious intrigue, 'Reclaiming the Messiah' is of interest to fans of religious thrillers in the vein of 'The Da Vinci Code'." Midwest Book Review 

     "Fred Reiss ... has woven fascinating speculation about the true nature of these holy objects [the Urim and Thummim] into a suspenseful story pitting a secret Jewish society and an equally secret Muslim organization against one another in a life-and-death struggle that just might lead to Armageddon....W
hile being an entertaining suspense yarn, Reiss’s novel painlessly instructs us along the way in some of the biblical byways of Judaism." sandiegojewishworld.com 

       
 "A thriller about a secret Jewish organization looking to build the third temple in Jerusalem." North County Times

        "For the past several years the bestseller lists have hosted a deluge of titles based on historical religious artifacts and secret societies. Most of those books are based on Christianity, so it’s a wonder that no one has written a book based on another religionuntil now. This thriller [Reclaiming the Messiah] fills the void with an intriguing Judaism-focused adventure that begins in ancient Jerusalem and ends in present-day Israel." Foreward CLARION Reviews  

Excerpt From Reclaiming the Messiah 

    

The alarm clock woke Nur al Din Rahman early. He hurriedly dressed, said his prayers, and drove to Karmiel’s industrial park. After circling the parking area a couple of times he spotted a blue van with the words “Ein Kerem Carpeting” stenciled in large white letters on both sides of the van. Without hesitation, he parked, walked over to it, and found the driver’s door unlocked. Sure that the Brotherhood left this van for him, he opened the driver’s door, pulled down the sun visor, and as he expected, a key fell to the floor.

He jumped into the driver’s seat, picked up the key, and started the motor. Now turning his attention to the back of the van, Nur al Din saw two rug steamers and a vacuum cleaner fastened to the wall by bungee cords, and three thick rugs lying on the floor, which spanned the length of the cargo area. The unopened box at the rear of the van, he soon learned, contained three large-sized blue jumpsuits, three pairs of gloves, and three baseball-style hats with the name “Ein Kerem Carpeting” embossed on them. He undressed in the back of the van, changing into one of the jumpsuits, and putting on a hat, before driving to the front entrance of the industrial park to await his accomplices.

Although coming from different directions, both the van, and Jalil’s car arrived in Jerusalem almost at the same time. Jalil, dressed in a cream-colored suit, and carrying a locked briefcase secured to his left wrist by a handcuff, entered the hotel through the front door. In the lobby, he saw a large stylized bronze-colored medallion of the earth, with a massive replica of Jerusalem sitting on the top half, and took a moment to admire its magnificence. At about the same time, Rahman backed the van into the loading dock behind the hotel. A hotel worker, sitting on a chair and smoking a cigarette, saw the three men getting out of the van. Two of them, he observed, went to open the back doors, but the third headed towards him.

As he approached the worker, Rahman yelled out, “As-salamu alecum,” and waved his hand.

The employee crushed the cigarette with his foot and called back, “Wa alecumus salam.”

“What’s your name?”

“Taslim,” answered the hotel worker.

“Taslim, where’s the manager’s office? I have an order to deliver some rugs here, and I need him to sign my paperwork before I can unload them.”

“Sure. His office is on the first floor, behind the lobby desk. You can take the service elevator; it’s through those doors, and to the right.”

“Thanks,” replied Rahman with a smile and a wave.

Rahman walked into the hotel, and Yasir, one of the men in the back of the van, soon called out, “Sir. Excuse me, sir.”

“Yes,” Taslim called back.

“Would you come here?” he requested, motioning with his hand to come. “I need some help with these rugs.”

Not really wanting to go, Taslim took his time walking to the van. As he approached the back doors, he noticed a red rug partially unrolled on the van’s floor.

“Come inside and take the other end,” implored Yasir, pointing to the far end of the rug.

Taslim entered the van and Marzu, who stood near the rear doors of the van, hit him hard on the back of the head with the grip end of his semi-automatic pistol. Taslim fell unconscious onto the rug. Marzu, whose gun had a suppressor, turned his semi-automatic around and fired one shot into Taslim’s head. Marzu, looking up at Yasir, announced matter-of-factly, “No witnesses, now.”

Walking up to the front desk, Jalil announced, “As-salamu alecum.”

“Wa alecumus salam, good afternoon,” replied the desk clerk. “Can I help you?”

“I have an appointment with one of your guests, Mr. Zahavi.

“Just a moment,” acknowledged the clerk, “let me find his room number for you.” There was a brief pause while the clerk searched the hotel’s computer system. “He’s in room 926. Would you like me to call him?”

Jalil did not hear the question. He had already turned away, heading for the elevators, and reaching for his cell phone. He dialed the number given to him by Sahid.

“Hello,” said a voice at the other end.

“This is Jalil. I’m heading to room 926,” and hung up.

Rahman, who waited patiently near the service elevator, closed his cell phone, and sprinted directly to the van. As he approached, he saw Marzu and Yasir rolling up the red rug, and guessed immediately what happened. “We’re going to the ninth floor. The two of you get another rug,” he ordered, while taking hold of the vacuum cleaner from the wall.

“Do you have your gloves?” asked Raman.

“Yes,” answered Marzu.”

“Yes,” replied Yasir.

“Okay. Put them on, and let’s go.” The three of them filed into the hotel, and up the service elevator to the ninth floor.

Zahavi paced back and forth like a new father waiting excitedly for the announcement of his first baby’s birth. Yet, when the knock came, he briefly froze in panic, rather than emit an excited sigh of relief. A moment later, he snatched his sport jacket from the back of a chair and quickly put it on. Instinctively, Zahavi, pushing the jacket’s coattails out of the way, clutched the handle of the pistol, which fit into a holster, held to his waist by his belt near the small of his back. “Who’s there?” he asked, as he made his way to the door.

“It’s Jalil.”

Zahavi, looking intently through the peep hole, recognized the man staring back. Before opening the door, he peered through the enlarged field of view provided by the lens to double check that Jalil came alone. Seeing no one else, he simultaneously released the gun’s handle, and slowly opened the door. “You can’t be too careful,” said Zahavi with a sheepish smile.

“I agree, dealing in rare antiques is a deadly business,” replied Jalil, as he entered the room. Zahavi closed the door behind him. “But now we’re on the same side. You want to sell; I want to buy. Besides, the Americans, the Asians, they all send millions, and millions of dollars, rupees, and yuans everyday through my employer. One-and-a-half million new Israeli shekels is nothing to him.”

How ironic Zahavi thought to himself that a Muslim and Jew should be on the same side. “Did you bring the cash?” Zahavi inquired.

“Of course. Did you bring the tablet?”

“Let me see the money first,” demanded Zahavi.

Jalil took a few strides to rest his briefcase on the bed. With his right hand, he reached into his left inside-suit pocket, and pulled out a small key. In what seemed to be a single motion, he put the key into the lock, opened the handcuff, and lay the briefcase flat on the bed. Jalil put his hands out and palms up. Looking toward Zahavi he said with emphasis, “It’s all yours,” while taking a few steps backward at the same time. Zahavi hurried to the briefcase, and pushed the two buttons holding the latches and lid without hesitation. Once open, he took a few moments to examine the stacks of money. “It’s all there, Zahavi. Now my tablet, if you please.”

Zahavi briefly looked back at Jalil. Without saying a word, he walked to the phone, picked up the receiver, and pressed three buttons. “Ephraim, you can bring the tablet,” he ordered, and put the receiver down.

Ephraim, who came out of room 927, the room immediately across the hall, barely noticed the three rug cleaners working a few meters away. With tablet in hand, he knocked at the door. “The tablet is yours,” Zahavi said, motioning for Jalil to open the door. Jalil opened the door as wide as possible. “Give the man his tablet, Ephraim, and then go.”

Holding the door with his foot, Jalil took the gauzed-wrapped tablet in his hands, spent some time feeling its weight, and then carefully removed the gauze. Focusing intently on the ancient tablet, he murmured softly, “Beautiful.” Looking back to Zahavi he opined, “My employer will be very pleased. Perhaps you will be lucky once more, and find another Jewish treasure from Solomon’s Temple. Then, we will do business again.”

“Perhaps I will get lucky for a second time.”

“As-salamu alecum, goodbye,” said Jalil, and left the room. As he made his way out, he used his empty hand to allow the door to close very slowly behind him. Without saying a word, Zahavi turned back to the bed, and began counting the money. He did not turn around when he heard the door close because he expected to hear that sound. By the time Zahavi did turn back, a stranger in a blue jumpsuit, with gun-in-hand, stood just inside the room, looking back at him. Jalil had let Rahman into the room, and then advanced down the hallway, removing his wig, moustache, goatee, eyebrows, and other parts of his disguise, putting them in his jacket pocket, as he walked to the elevator. By the time he arrived back at his car, the man called Jalil had vanished from the earth. The tablet would soon follow.

Seeing a stranger in his room, a stunned and shocked Zahavi demanded to know, “Who are you? What are you doing in my room?” while thinking how he could distract the stranger, and pull out his own gun. Rahman, displaying a face without emotion, did not answer. He did not want to fire his gun prematurely, so Rahman kept his gun pointed at Zahavi, walking slowly backward to the door, opening it, and allowing Marzu and Yasir, each holding an end of a rolled up rug, to enter. “Put the rug anywhere, and unroll it,” commanded Rahman, and let the door close behind them.

Terrified at the unexpected turn of events, Zahavi demanded to know, “Who are you? Why are you pointing a gun at me?”

“We don’t pay for Jewish Temple treasure,” Rahman answered with authority. “We find it, get it, and destroy it along with anyone associated with it.” Motioning to Zahavi with the gun, Rahman ordered, “Go stand on the rug.”

Zahavi, shaking with apprehension, and hoping to bide his time, followed Rahman’s orders, but now realized that he had been negotiating with The Brotherhood of the Mount. His own greed ensnared him. “Take the money,” he implored his captors, “you don’t understand. You don’t have anything related to the Temple. I made the tablet in my own workshop. The tablet’s a forgery.”

“Ha, Ha, Ha,” Rahman laughed, and his co-conspirators laughed with him. “The best minds in the world say it’s real, and now you are lying to save your own skin. It won’t work.”

“It is a fake,” insisted Zahavi, “I did the engraving. Did you look at the tablet? I mixed different fonts in a single word because I didn’t know all the cursive letters of ancient Hebrew. I made the patina myself; I mixed in flakes of gold to make the patina look old.” He waited for them to say anything, but they just stared back, grinning at him in disbelief. “Let me take you my workshop, I’ll show you,” he pleaded.

Rahman laughed again. “If what you say is true, you will have died for nothing.”

“Please. Please, don’t kill me,” pleaded Zahavi. “I’m just an innocent businessman.”

 Rahman aimed for the heart, and recalled, as he always did before killing a Zionist, what the Jewish soldiers did in October 1948, in his village. A few men from Majd al Kurum, carrying a flag of truce, came out to meet some Jewish soldiers at the far end of the village. They came to tell the soldiers that they had chased out the Arab Liberation Army, and now wanted to surrender. Unexpectedly, a second Jewish force, approaching from the opposite direction, joined forces with the first group. Soon they ordered everyone to assemble in the center of Majd al Kurum. There, the Jewish soldiers randomly picked twelve men, blindfolded them, and shot them to death; his grandfather among of the victims. Rahman fired one shot. Zahavi collapsed on the rug. “Marzu, check him. Is he dead?”

“He’s breathing.”

Rahman aimed for the head this time, and again pulled the trigger. “No need to check. Put the money on his chest, and wrap him up.”

The three assassins rolled Zahavi up in the rug, and carried him down the service elevator to the unlocked van. They immediately left Jerusalem, heading for Jericho, and the Muruj Cement Company, where the two bodies would be processed, and soon find a home as part of the foundation of a thirty-five story apartment building under construction in Ramat Gan.

 

 

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