Zion and His Brother

Institute History


It’s a hot summer, and 14-year-old Zion takes off for the seashore. He’s on top of the world when he’s diving into the waves, a far cry from the way he feels when tagging along after his older brother, Meir. At the beach, his shoes disappear. They were brand new and real soccer shoes, which his family can barely afford. Dad is mostly out of the picture, and Zion’s mom, Ilana, is trying to make a go of it with her new man, Eli.

When the boys aren’t working at the local garage, Zion hangs around Meir and his friends in his soccer outfit. Meir taunts his younger brother every chance he gets, but the brothers are also deeply connected, and Zion is fiercely loyal to Meir. The bored teens spend their days shooting bottles with a BB gun. Michelle, a girl Zion’s age, lives next door with her grandmother and hangs out with them as well. She is a little in love with Meir, who only screws her to entertain his friends.

And then summer ends. In the schoolyard, Zion suddenly sees his soccer shoes on Solomon, a new Ethiopian kid. He enlists his brother’s help to get them back, but a fight ensues. Zion just wants his shoes, but Meir wants Solomon to apologize and won’t let him go until he does. At home, Zion realizes the shoes aren’t his; they only look kind of similar. They picked on Solomon for no good reason. Zion decides to return the shoes, but Solomon has disappeared. Even the police are looking for him. Guilt ridden, Zion adopts Solomon’s flea-infested dog, but Meir wants all memory of Solomon out of their lives. As time goes by, Zion must decide whether to guard their secret or call the police. The decision takes on larger ramifications because the family is already in the midst of a fragile transition. Threatened with abandonment by both his brother and his mother, Zion is forced to assert his own independence and rely on himself.

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