The Necessary Stories Archive

An archive of all my Necessary Stories, from 2008 to the present.

The Necessary Stories book

Read “The 100-Story Man Hits His Milestone” in The Forward.

IMG_3412The Necessary Stories Show

These stories are roughly categorized into:
Fictions–stories, serious or light, based on actual experiences or completely made up
Meditations–stories/essays pondering ideas and feelings
Satires–political, social, and literary
(but of course the categories are fuzzy).

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October 7 War Stories

Roadblock: Holes, Part 6
Fiction: At first Ruth thought that Etti intended to ram down the barrier and drive on, but she braked almost at the last minute.

The Times of Israel, March 3, 2024

Akatziya: Holes, Part 5
Fiction: This silent girl who has just mussed his hair is really weird, Akatziya thinks.

The Times of Israel, Feb. 25, 2024

Sitra Ahra: Holes, Part 4
Fiction: Someone is looking at her. She homes in on the gaze. It comes from a reservist, an older one, mid-thirties, maybe.

The Times of Israel, Feb. 18, 2024

Naama: Holes, Part 3
Fiction: At first, Naama sees them as tanks deploying for combat but, when Etti’s car catches up with them, they resolve into trees.

The Times of Israel, Feb. 11, 2024

Victory: Holes, Part 2
Fiction: In the car: Etti Badihi, fleeing the shiva for her youngest son; Ruth Mutzafi, fleeing her abusive husband; Naama, seeking her dead lover.

The Times of Israel, Feb. 4, 2024

Holes: Part 1
Fiction: She put her eye to the peephole. It was the man she had shared her bed with for 48 years.

The Times of Israel, Jan. 28, 2024

Propsero Underground: The Crater, Part 5
Fiction: Gidi has a tense exchange with the grandfather who’s locked himself in a bomb shelter.

The Times of Israel, Jan. 21, 2024

What a Soldier Never Has: The Crater, Part 4
Fiction: Gidi’s needs what a soldier never has: solitude.

The Times of Israel, Jan. 14, 2024

Sticky Kids: The Crater, Part 3
Fiction: Gidi’s mother finds herself in all too familiar a role in wartime.

The Times of Israel, Jan. 6, 2024

The Crater, Part 2
Fiction: Sergeant Gidi finds a self-imposed hostage, deals with a law professor. And his Mom calls.

The Times of Israel, Dec. 31, 2023

The Crater
Fiction: Sergeant Gidi mourns a friend and discovers a man underground. Part 1

The Times of Israel, Dec. 24, 2023

The Bridge between Yesterday and Tomorrow
Fiction: When the IDF comes to your home to tell you a son has been killed in action… for the second time

The Times of Israel, Dec. 3, 2023

In the Rubble
Fiction: Ami has been murdered, but all Naama can focus on is her vision of a baby in Gaza

The Times of Israel, Nov. 24, 2023

Fiction: Ruth Mutzafi flees a bomb shelter to safety

Jewish Book Council, Paper Brigade Daily, Nov. 6, 2023

Cold Water
Fiction: Two women in a war and a swimming pool

Jewish Book Council, Paper Brigade Daily, Oct. 20, 2023

Books of the Dead
Essay: The horror of the Gaza perimeter settlements after the Hamas massacre

Jewish Book Council, Paper Brigade Daily, Oct. 27, 2023
ספרי המתים
הארץ, תרבות וספרות, Nov. 7, 2023

Stories 2021-2023

The Shape of Love
Fiction: A chance encounter on a bench in Jerusalem

The Tel Aviv Review of Books, June 1, 2023

על קו פרשת המים (פעם היה לנו בן)
English version: On the Watershed Line

Meditation: Landscape and memories of my son

Ha’aretz, May 3, 2022

The Green Woman

Fiction: A man hikes back into past temptations

Halah, July 11, 2021


Meditation: Ten years after the loss of my son Niot

The Jewish Review of Books, April 12, 2021

Published in The Times of Israel

The Azedarach Tree
Fiction: What a father sees from his window in the dark of an October night triggers painful memories.
Oct. 26, 2020

Fiction: For Rosh Hashanah–a father seeks out the son he sent away, with his mother, many years before.
Sept. 17, 2020

We’ll Always Have Paris Square
Fiction: When you’re demonstrating against Bibi, you can’t hurry love, you just have to wait.
August 22, 2020

Coronavirus Hike with Ninja Turtle
Fiction: Two boys take a hike with their father in an unexpected direction.
July 19, 2020

A Detour to Mars from the Jordan Valley
Fiction: A family in crisis after its first-grader skips school for a space trip.
June 27, 2020

Fiction: A Shas door-to-door emissary explains Shavuot to a non-religious woman and tells her own story in the process.
May 28, 2020

The Anemone’s Smile
Meditation: A flower remind me of my son’s smile, nine years after his death.
April 27, 2020

Fiction: Being alone and being together–Seder in the time of Corona.
April 5, 2020

Fiction: About men and masks–a Purim story.
March 10, 2020

On the Fast Train
Fiction: A woman finds friendship, but not for herself, on the fast train to Jerusalem.
Feb. 9, 2020

Fiction: Love, heartbreak, and the night sky as reservists encounter romantic crisis in the West Bank.
Jan. 21, 2020

A Prayer for Bibi
Fiction: About words and devotions and rules and strangers.
Dec. 12, 2019

How Long, My Lord?
Satire: A prophetic Necessary Story. Except the prophet is a cat.
Nov. 16, 2019

The Next to the Last Time I Read Etgar Keret
Fiction: In which I ponder father-son relations while channeling Neil Young and Israel’s second-best writer of short fiction
Oct. 21, 2019

Turning the Pages
Fiction: My kids don’t listen to me, my life’s total chaos, who will I vote for, and what is this music? A pre-election Necessary Story.
Sept. 14, 2019

Meeting on a Rock
Fiction: Two estranged friends discover that they betrayed each other one night decades ago.
August 23, 2019

Aethon Fires
Fiction: A very dark comedy about a lost and troubled soldier
The Tel Aviv Review of Books, July 30, 2019

Saul at Ein Dor
Fiction: An IDF officer in crisis
July 27, 2019

Mo’ed Bet
Fiction: Sex, power, and second chances, real and imagined
June 30, 2019

Words of Love
Fiction: Language, love, and betrayal in an update of an old story for the WhatsApp era
May 31, 2019

Black Hole
Meditation: Remembering my son Niot z”l
April 24, 2019

The Chair
Fiction: What you see and what you might unexpectedly get gazing through a rear window at election time.
April 2, 2019

The Performance
Fiction: Two street actors perform politically in the shuk, and get their point across. Or not.
March 5, 2019

Unheeled, with the General in the Shuk
Fiction: A stressed, high-energy political campaign publicist runs into a cobbler with all the time in the world.
January 29, 2019

The Deceiver
Fiction: A Talmud teacher struggles with forbidden desire.
January 3, 2019

Back to Gaza
Fiction: Driving from Gaza to Jerusalem with a nun, a little girl with cancer, a reservist, and a protester.
December 6, 2018

Published in The Jerusalem Report

In Gaza
Fiction: The Land of no miracles.
Issue of August 6, 2018

Off Gaza
Fiction: An encounter on the perimeter.
Issue of June 27, 2018

Gazing at Iris
Fiction: What you see isn’t always what you get: a love story.
Issue of May 28, 2018

Four Waterfalls, One Hidden
Meditation: Seven years without my son, Niot.
Issue of April 30, 2018

Witch’s Broom
Fiction: We crave heroes, but the charisma and confidence we admire so much can turn out to be a deformity.
Issue of April 16, 2018

Transfigured Night
Fiction: Love and betrayal, in the desert, in the night.
Issue of March 19, 2018

Help Me Rwanda
Satire: In which I rob a refugee of a free trip
Issue of February 19, 2018

Three Codas
Fiction: How does the story end?
Issue of January 22, 2018

Honor Thy Mother
Fiction: “She was kind of strange.”
Issue of December 25, 2017

Sweet Unrest
Fiction: Love in the King David Hotel, just before the end.
Issue of November 27, 2017

The House of Wisdom
Fiction: Which woman to go home with? See Proverbs, Chapter 9.
Issue of October 30, 2017

On This Side and That
Fiction: A Yom Kippur feast, Jerusalem, 1911.
Issue of October 10, 2017

Paper Rule
Fiction: Shabbat, two sisters, and toilet paper.
Issue of September 9, 2017

The Shirt Off His Back
Fiction: Sometimes a guy really needs his lucky shirt..
Issue of August 7, 2017

Fiction: A come-on on the beach.
Issue of July 10, 2017

One Flesh
Fiction: A story for the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.
Issue of June 12, 2017

Fiction: A frustrated soldier, friendship, and love.
Issue of May 29, 2017

Third Day of Spring
Meditation: Planting flowers at my son’s grave.
Issue of May 1, 2017

The Madonna Lily
Fiction: Frankfurt airport as a metaphor for life.
Issue of April 3, 2017

The Treasure Room
Fiction: Unrequited love in sixteenth-century Safed.
Issue of February 20, 2017

The Dig at Bab al-Wad (on SoJo)
Fiction: Five centuries hence, an archaeologist digs up today’s Israel.
Issue of January 23, 2017

Fire (on SoJo)
Fiction: Escaping the flames.
Issue of December 26, 2016

avi-katz-caught-in-the-meshworkCaught in the Meshwork (on SoJo)
Fiction: Nir assumed he had only dreamed of waking.
Issue of November 28, 2016

avi-katz-peck-of-pickled-pollstersPeck of Pickled Pollsters (on SoJo)
Satire: My friend Frank, paragon of progressivism and avatar of alliteration, tells me to vote his conscience.
Issue of October 31, 2016

avi-katz-besiegedBesieged (on SoJo)
Fiction: Jerusalem, 1948: A woman, a soldier, and death.
Issue of October 2, 2016

Avi Katz -- A Line of WhoA Line of Who (on SoJo)
Fiction: Two soldiers and a love song on a mountain in Lebanon
Issue of September 5, 2016

Avi Katz -- The Outpost on Oliphant StreetThe Outpost on Oliphant Street (on SoJo)
Fiction: Jerusalem, 1948: “This is the story of how I lost him. And about the outpost on Oliphant Street.”
Issue of August 8, 2016

Avi Katz -- Lerner in the MirrorLerner in the Mirror (on SoJo)
Fiction: Old soldiers, Ben-Gurion, and democracy.
Issue of July 11, 2016

Avi Katz -- The Plowman Meets the ReaperThe Plowman Meets the Reaper (on SoJo)
Fiction: May 1967. War is in the air. A boy takes the train to Jerusalem to bring his mother home.
Issue of June 13, 2016

Avi Katz -- VoidGrasping the Void (on SoJo)
Meditation: Five years without my son
Issue of May 16, 2016

Avi Katz -- Summer of '88Summer of ’88 (on SoJo)
Fiction: An abortive attempt to save my country
Issue of April 18, 2016

Pepe Fainberg On Lupine HillOn Lupine Hill (on SoJo)
Fiction: A young couple’s less than perfect love
Issue of March 21, 2016

Avi Katz -- Fifteen Characters in Search of a Better AuthorFifteen Characters in Search of a Better Author (on SoJo)
Fiction: Haim’s characters mutiny as he writes his 100th Necessary Story
Issue of Feb. 22, 2016

Avi Katz -- Savta Levana Cooks a CatSavta Levana Cooks a Cat (on SoJo)
Fiction: How to get a Grandma.
Issue of Jan. 25, 2016

Avi Katz -- The Night HallThe Night Hall (on SoJo)
Fiction: The wife of a reservist imagines.
Issue of Dec. 28, 2015

Avi Katz -- Against the OddsAgainst the Odds (on SoJo)
Fiction: A baby is born, a woman is stabbed, a man ends his life, all before the first course.
Issue of Nov. 30 , 2015

Avi-Katz-Brine-Drain_thumb.jpgBrine Drain (on SoJo)
Satire: What they really discovered on Mars
Issue of Nov. 2 , 2015

Avi Katz -- The Rossini RedemptionThe Rossini Redemption (on SoJo)
Meditation: A man, a mezuzah, and repentance
Issue of October 5, 2015

Avi Katz -- HitchedHitched (on SoJo)
Fiction: A woman, a wedding, and a friend of a friend
Issue of September 9, 2015

Avi Katz -- Sin OfferingSin Offering (on SoJo)
Fiction: Soldiers and Sudanese
Issue of August 10, 2015

Avi Katz -- Icks FactorIcks Factor (on SoJo)
Satire: I am appointed Bibi’s minister of national embarrassment
Issue of July 13, 2015

Avi Katz -- Next Summers WarNext Summer’s War (on SoJo)
Fiction: A young couple argue about summer vacation.
Issue of June 15, 2015

Avi Katz -- FirefliesFireflies (on SoJo)
Meditation: Mourning my son, four years later
Issue of May 18, 2015

Avi Katz -- Peripheral VisionPeripheral Vision (on SoJo)
Fiction: Careful what you look at on your phone
Issue of April 20, 2015

Avi Katz -- Until You Don't KnowUntil You Don’t Know (on SoJo)
Fiction: Alone in Jerusalem, in the snow, on Purim
Issue of March 23, 2015

Avi Katz -- The BalconyThe Balcony (on SoJo)
Satire: An unwanted visitor
Issue of Feb. 23, 2015

Avi Katz -- CloudburstCloudburst (on SoJo)
Fiction: Rain and love, father and son
Issue of Jan. 26, 2015

Piano photo by  Jean-Pierre DalbéraThe Last War But One (on SoJo)
Fiction: A story of exile and return, with piano
Issue of Dec. 29, 2014

Avi Katz -- Socrates and SemitesSocrates and Semites (on SoJo)
Satire: An operatic Platonic dialogue
Issue of Dec. 1, 2014

 Rescue (on SoJo)
Fiction: An Arab and Jew save each other, 1929.
Issue of Nov. 3, 2014

Avi Katz -- Comfort from CalvinComfort from Calvin (on SoJo)
Meditation: A war, a wedding, an encounter, a death.
Issue of Oct. 6, 2014

Avi Katz Page TurnerPage Turner (on SoJo)
Fiction: An unseen visitor.
Issue of August 11, 2014

Avi Katz -- Miss Violets PianoMiss Violet’s Piano (on SoJo)
Fiction: In an old Arab house, a piano teacher returns.
Issue of July 14, 2014

Avi Katz -- Lock Me UpLock Me Up! (on SoJo)
Satire: Why can’t a decent guy get a jail term?
Issue of June 16, 2014

Avi Katz -- DesertionDesertion (on SoJo)
Meditation: When a child dies, he becomes incessantly present.
Issue of May 19, 2014

Avi Katz -- Foreign RelationsForeign Relations (on SoJo)
Fiction: Love, once a duet, now on the bus.
Issue of April 21, 2014

Avi Katz -- Justice Justice (on SoJo)
Fiction: Boy has locker, boy loses locker, boy gets locker back.
Issue of Feb. 24, 2014

Avi Katz -- Keep Spain SpanishKeeping Spain Spanish (on SoJo)
Satire: An illegal immigrant gets what he deserves.
Issue of Feb. 24, 2014

Avi Katz -- The DryadThe Dryad (on SoJo)
Fiction: A woman goes on a hike to forget.
Issue of Jan. 1, 2014

Avi Katz -- Inta OmriInta Omri (on SoJo)
Fiction: Arab music and Arab strangers.
Issue of Dec. 16, 2013

Avi Katz -- Thatll Be the DayThat’ll Be the Day (on SoJo)
Satire: Bibi rocks!
Issue of Nov. 18, 2013

Avi Katz -- Dirty JokesDirty Jokes (on SoJo)
Fiction: A kapo from Auschwitz tells some stories.
Issue of Oct. 21, 2013

Avi Katz Hooligan Oil 1Hooligan Oil (on SoJo)
Fiction: A Jewish widow in the Alaska gold rush.
Issues of Aug. 12 and 26, 2013

Avi Katz -- The Devil and Theodor HerzlThe Devil and Theodor Herzl (on SoJo)
Fiction: Herzl parleys with a Russian antisemite.
Issue of July 15, 2013

Pepe Fainberg Our Lady of the WallOur Lady of the Wall (on SoJo)
Satire: A funny thing happened on my way to Women of the Wall.
Issue of June 17, 2013

Pepe Fainberg PassionPassion (on SoJo)
Fiction: Heavenly and profane love, on a bus.
Issue of May 20, 2013

Pepe Fainberg A Him to himA Him to him (on SoJo)
Meditation: A letter to Bach on the loss of my son.
Issue of April 22, 2013

Pepe Fainberg Non SequitorNon Sequitur (on SoJo)
Meditation: Esther, Moses, and a blind date.
Issue of March 25, 2013

Pepe Fainberg Odysseus EatsOdysseus Eats (on SoJo)
Fiction: An Israeli soldier falls for a Palestinian girl.
Issue of February 28, 2013

Pepe Fainberg White DressThe Next Prime Monster (on SoJo)
Satire: Preschool elections.
Issue of January 28, 2013

Pepe Fainberg nobody smilesNobody Smiles (on SoJo)
Fiction: A lonely Israeli soldier looks for the Atlanta Aquarium.
Issue of December 31, 2012

Persuasion (on SoJo)
Satire: A Jewish couple faces an American election, Jane Austen style.
Issue of November 19, 2012

In Exile, at Home (on SoJo)
Meditation: A page of Talmud at my son’s grave.
Issue of October 22, 2012

Passacaglia (on SoJo)
Meditation: Brahms and Torah
Issue of September 24, 2012

Republicanfellas (on SoJo)
Satire: Some really bad Republicans come after me.
Issue of Aug. 27, 2012

Bananas (on SoJo)
Fiction: A son remembers his immigrant father.
Issue of July 30, 2012

Bottom Up (on SoJo)
Fiction: Shakespeare in love, on a Jerusalem bus.
Issue of July 2, 2012

Little Secrets (on SoJo)
Satire: Israeli secrecy exposed.
Issue of June 4, 2012

Other Nights (on SoJo)
Meditation: The Seder, chamber music, and the death of my son.
Issue of May 7, 2012

Spring (on SoJo)
Fiction: Soldiers speak of first love.
Issue of April 9, 2012

Once More, With Feeling (on SoJo)
Fiction: Shostakovich and freedom.
Issue of March 12, 2012

Confessions of a Cross-Sitter (on SoJo)
Satire: It’s tough to be a sensitive and Haredi.
Issue of Feb. 13, 2012

Winter (on SoJo)
Fiction: Night comes, a soldier dies.
Issue of Jan. 16, 2012

Intermezzo (on SoJo)
Fiction: An Israeli pioneer meets a Jewish composer.
Issue of Dec. 19, 2011

The Truth About Dave (on SoJo)
Satire: A friend who always tells the truth.
Issue of Nov. 21, 2011

Plane Story (on SoJo)
Fiction: Tales get told on a Delta flight.
Issue of Oct. 24, 2011

Visitor at Cambous (on SoJo)
Fiction: An Israeli seeks roots in southern France.
Sept. 2011

   painting by James TissotSlouching Toward Sodom (on SoJo)
Satire: Bibi visits the social protest.
issue of August 29, 2011

Boxing of Parts (on SoJo)
Fiction: I fall in love, pathologically.
issue of August 1, 2011

Piano Lesson (on SoJo)
Fiction: A young Felix Mendelssohn learns about Jewish music.
July 4, 2011

The Day of His Birth (on SoJo)
Meditation: On the death of my son.
June 6, 2011

Driving Louella (on SoJo)
Fiction: I encounter segregation as a young boy.
May 2011

Sex in the Diamond City (on SoJo)
Satire: My wife and I visit swinging Ramat Gan.
April 11, 2011

Muscle and Mahler (on SoJo)
Meditation: I chat with a famous composer at the gym.
March 14, 2011
That Fickle, Freckled Faith (on SoJo)
Meditation: Should I praise the simple piety of a friend who died too young?
Feb. 14, 2011

The Big Schlep (on SoJo)
Satire: Detective Ahrele Andorra solves a crime.
Jan. 17, 2011

Of Feet and the Man (on SoJo)
Meditation: Hitler, Torah, and a hike.
Dec. 20, 2010
Counter-Demonstration (on SoJo)
Meditation: A protest about my failure to protest, with some poetry.
Nov. 8, 2010
For Whom the Pole Knells (on SoJo)
At The Jerusalem Report
Satire: A friend who seeks to align my moral compass.
Oct. 15, 2010

Land’s End (on SoJo)
Meditation: Talmudic rabbis watch the destruction of the earth from on high.

Sendoff for my Son (on SoJo)
Meditation: A letter to my son on his enlistment.

You’re a Good Man, Bibi Brown (on SoJo)
Satire: Bibi gets tough.

The Story of Mr. In-Between (on SoJo)
Fiction: My father-in-law’s career in the British Merchant Marine.

How To Jump Off A Cliff (on SoJo)
Meditation: A walk to a Golan spring with my son.

Profound Esophagus (on SoJo)
Satire: I get a scoop.

Aunt Bernice (on SoJo)
Meditation: Remembering an aunt, and the discovery of ice cream bars.

The Things They Knew (on SoJo)
Fiction: Army security and childhood fantasies.

Diplomacy By Other Means (on SoJo)
Satire: Our deputy foreign minister puts me in my place.

Train Tale (on SoJo)
Fiction: I get an offer I can refuse.

Rachel's graveRachel Goes for a Swim (on SoJo)
Meditation: Saving the Jerusalem Pool, while quoting Rachel’s poetry.
Dec. 7, 2009 Would Brenner Say? (on SoJo)
Meditation: I try to become a Hebrew writer.
Nov. 23, 2009

The Oration Vocation (on SoJo)
Satire: I try to get a speaking gig.

army truckRed Briefs and Rain Ink (on SoJo)
Fiction: An accident in Lebanon.

Hummus from Robobby's photo streamMy Big Fat Iraqi Hummus Joint (on SoJo)
Satire: Reclaiming Jewish property.

Yosef MiloThe Method in His Madness (on SoJo)
Fiction: A famous Israeli director lies next to me in the hospital.

Hagar (on SoJo)
Fiction: A castoff cat’s fortitude.

mendelssohn-symphonies-abbadoMendelssohn And Monotheism (on SoJo)
Meditation: A symphony takes me to Sinai.

shaul-tchernikovsky-gnazim-archiveHarms and the Man (on SoJo)
Satire: I get analyzed for shell shock.
May 11, 2009

Avraham Halfi on stageSoldier, King, Slave

April 27, 2009

The three judges looked at me impassivelyMy Day in Loyalty Court
March 16, 2009

practice-hike-2009-019The Mordor of My Mind
Feb. 16, 2009

A life's workMove Over, Madoff
Satire: My financial empire collapses.
Jan. 19, 2009

Brenner in a tense momentPioneer in the Swim
Dec. 22, 2008

by Avi KatzJews, Despite the Holocaust
Meditation: A letter to my son upon his class trip to Poland.
Nov. 24, 2008

Yehuda_YaariThe Importance of Low Expectations (on SoJo)
Meditation: My first day of aliya
Oct. 27, 2008

The Dark KnightLessons of the Dark Knight
Sept. 29, 2008

A Case of Identities
Sept. 1, 2008

“A Guy at a Bus Stop”
Aug. 4, 2008

“A Cab Driver’s Lament”
June 18, 2008

“Political Morality”
May 26, 2008

Traversing the Bounds of Sense
May 12, 2008

Animated Identities
April 14, 2008