Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – LVI. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – My Paternal Family (9 of 9)

Joseph was in his late thirties when he finally settled down. He was introduced to a younger woman, Etty.

Before long, he would bury once and for all the single man way of life, and our family would include a much beloved tante Etty.

Etty brought a much needed breath of fresh air in the Ezri home. She took the bull by the horns and established a routine for the Rue Tour Sina household.

One of the first thing she did was to relieve an exhausted and much older grandmother of her responsibilities. Helene was no longer required to run a household on an impossibly small amount of money. Many times, my nonna rejoiced that her dia (financial squeeze) had come to an end. She had a few years left to live, and she was allowed to enjoy them peacefully.

Etty was a well-educated woman. She has been sent to an English school, and her knowledge of English was much prized on the job market. She also spoke an impeccable French, and, of course, the popular Arabic. I don’t know if she worked in Egypt after she married uncle Joseph, but her skills proved to be a life-saver when her family embarked on their new life in Israel.

Joseph and Etty had 2 children: First Liliane, and then Isaac. They were still very young when they left Egypt.

Before I move on to Israel, let me add to the basic sketch I provided you of uncle Joseph.

While educated in a French school, Joseph preferred to speak in Arabic, a colorful and lively Arabic. To some extent, he also knew other languages.

He was an amazing shopper. He knew what to buy and how to get full value for his money. If you went out shopping with him, you not only saved money, but also got an education. However, he could be very fussy, he was never fully satisfied with his purchases.

He was never an easy person to deal with. But tante Etty was what I would call a “quiet but firm” person and was able – for the most part – to calm things down.

Uncle Joseph had a strong voice. While taking his shower (but at other times as well), he sang some of the well-known opera arias. His favorite was Vesti la Giubba (Put on the Costume) from I Pagliacci (The Clowns). It’s Canio heartbreaking soliloquy who must perform even though he is wreaked with grief upon learning of his wife’s infidelity. The show must go on!

When they arrived in Israel, Etty secured a job with The American Embassy; she was also able to get a position there for her husband.

Liliane and Isaac grew up in Israel.

As soon as it was possible, Isaac traveled to Canada, England, and other European countries. He was a born go-getter, and did well in life. I understand that he is now married after being single for many years.

Liliane married Tzion. Today, they have 3 married children and 4 grandchildren.

In 1992, when I went to Israel, I reconnected with my family and got to hear about the events that have taken place in the intervening years. My son Michael was with me and got acquainted with this branch of his family.

When he received me uncle Joseph was clad in a superb pyjamas, perhaps purchased in the honor of the arrival of his nephew! Between tours, I spent a wonderful time with Joseph and Etty in their Bat Yam home.

The most delightful surprise was to meet Liliane’s children: Sassy, Esty, and Yossi. All married today. I left the best for last, Liliane’s husband, Tzion. He is blessed with an amazing sense of humor. Most of the time he is optimistic despite the fact that life is not always easy in Israel. Time spent with him is guaranteed to be pure enjoyment.

In 2001, Liliane and Tzion came to Canada to visit Robert and myself. Thus, we saw them again and they got to view some of the wonders of Canada and the U.S.

I keep in touch with Liliane and her family, and she provides me with the latest news.

The Ezris do not have a longevity gene, or so we thought until uncle Joseph proved us wrong. He died in 1999 at the age of 90!

Tante Etty now lives with Liliane and Tzion.

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