Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Jeweler

Sometimes , when I look in the mirror and notice my earrings, I recall for a minute the smiling, kind face and  sweet french accent of the one who has  sold them to me - the jeweler from the Shopping Center passage.

At the end of that  year of the earrings' purchase, I returned to the jewelery shop . I had some buying plans for the new  upcoming year, and I thought that would be the best place to get quality at a decent price, and excellent customer service.

The shop was closed.  There was an obituary both on the window and on the entrance door.  I was shocked. The man was barely middle-aged, too young to die.

I entered the neighboring shop to get some information. Had he been ill? was it an accident?
"He was murdered", came the neighbor's answer."The police had arrested a suspect".
Murdered?!!  I was shocked again.

There were customers in the neighboring shop, so I couldn't go on with  my questions, but I promised myself to get the whole story. 
I supposed it was a robbery attempt that went  wrong. 

As I happened to know someone on the board of our local newspaper I asked to have a word with him on the matter.He informed me that the story won't be published  any time-  at the specific request of the deceased's family.

It appeared the jeweler  (married, with wife and kids) was sexually involved  with a young man, in charge of the cleaning of the shops in the passage. The young  lover was arrested by the police and charged with murder.

Whenever I'm in the vicinity, and enter the shopping passage, I see deterioration: empty, closed shops , frequent change of names and ownership, messy place with items displayed outside the shops, etc..
It occurs to me that perhaps it's some kind of punishment, having to do with the fact that a murder has been committed here, a soul has been taken away by force and it's crying above.

When buying or renting property people usually take interest in the price, physical condition, proximity to important places. Few are interested in the dark history of the asset such as past tragic events involving death. These few are usually people who believe in superstitions or have religious/mystical beliefs,  and they probably won't buy/rent the asset or part of it after all.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Living Among Us

I've got the strange feeling that Sars was a warning, Corona (officialy named covid-19) is the 'real thing'. The viral outbreak doesn't seem to be under control. Words like 'global', 'outsource', 'China', have become ominous. If the chinese stop working , the economies of the world might collapse.

In the meantime, people go on with their plans, especially touristic ones. During the second week of February we have the annual IMTM  fair (see my previous posts on the subject). Usually, it's a popular, colorful touristic event that lasts two days; half of the day dedicated to professionals , the other half open to the public.

Expo area in TA


Pavilion 2 out of two main exhibit pavilions

This time, however, something in the air, perhaps fear of the virus,  got translated into fear of the crowds. Most visitors just grabbed maps and flyers without pausing to ask questions or discuss itineraries like in the past; some of the beautiful booths were partially or totally deserted.

Indian booth posters  - Incredible India

India booth posters- Human and Nature

Perhaps,  there's some other explanation ( I arrived late,  the business transactions among tourist operators once closed , the public was of little interest to them, the operators were tired from the 'after party' of the previous evening... ), but it's hard to ignore the virus rumors, these days.

Men's  chat

girls'  chat

deserted  booths

If I understand correctly, the covid-19 virus is part of the same virus family as the 'flu' (the corona family).
Not much is known about it, so hopes, at this stage,  are modest - mainly to bring it down, at least, to the level of the flu (influenza) virus.

The latter has practically been living for decades among us. We are familiar with it, have an annual vaccine, anti-viral drugs, understand its spreading  process, can foresee mutations etc..

May God protect us from  the Corona  family !


Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Beggar in Black

I remember from my childhood and early adolescence in a communist country, that begging was seen as public disturbance and  forbidden by law; beggars were treated cruelly if caught. 
Charity and fundraising were not allowed either. 
The rationale behind it was that the government took good care of its citizens , and the above activities implied the opposite, which was unacceptable.

Perhaps the communist approach was not so bad after all, considering the amount of fraud and corruption regarding benevolent, non- profit organizations in the western world.
People give away stuff and money without properly checking where it goes to and that doesn't help fix the situation.  Sometimes even the social services are involved  in the scam.

Well. to go back to what I started with - begging and beggars.
Over the years, I occasionally stumbled upon a certain beggar who for some reason or another, managed to capture my attention. His "territory" was the heart of  Tel Aviv city. 

He was not the standard beggar. He didn't have a 'fixed' place, but was rather on the move, stretching his hand to passersby and shop keepers, an imploring look on his face . He seemd ageless, with no visible physical disability. He made no use of kids or heart-breaking little posters to ellicit symphaty. He was casually dressed in a black t-shirt and  pants.

begging-   (Getty's images)

I happened to see him a few times in an adjacent town, probably his hometown as he was not begging there.  Last time, I saw him sitting in a posh restaurant checking the table menu. I stood outside for a while, not believing my eyes; my imagination ran wild. Was he leading a double life? Was the man at the table, perhaps,  a twin  brother?

I entered the restaurant and approached his table; looked him into the eyes, but... couldn't do it, couldn't ask him about the begging, couldn't tell him that people begging money, do so for very basic needs, not for luxuries.   
Just turned around and left.  
Were are the story investigative journalists when you need them?

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Sitting Shiva

'Sitting Shiva'  is a mourning custom in judaism. It starts immediately after the funeral and lasts seven days and nights ('shivah', literally means seven).

The 'shiva' is kept at the residence of the deceased or in the home of one of the principal mourners (relatives of first degree). The mourners usually sit on low beds and stools, express their grief, and discuss the loss of the loved one with visitors that come to offer their condolences and comfort .

web picture (from the Jewish Chronicle) -Sitting Shiva

Shortly before my  retiring from work, the secretary at our office lost her mother, a last year hospice patient. 

The 'shiva' was held at the home of the secretary's sister.  The latter, a TV writer and director, wife of  a well-known hospital doctor, lived in a beautiful house, located in a respectable neighborhood of a central city.

We were a bunch of four-five people from the office coming to extend our condolences to the bereaved family. 

The spacious living room was occupied by the sister and her family awaiting the visits of high society people from the TV and medical fields.. We were directed to an adjacent room where we found our secretaryׂ with HER visitors.

I  felt very badly about that, not to say shocked. The 'shiva' is meant to be a custom of togetherness not of separation, of human solidarity not of human polarization.

The thing is I've met the sister on a previous occasion and she had left a great impresion on me: good- looking, witty, polite, kind. And now this... perhaps,  her husband's idea. Who knows.
We (the office colleagues), were too embarassed to discuss the matter among us.