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 – I. The First Exodus

In the bible, in Exodus, the deliverance of the Israelites from their slavery and their exodus from Egypt is recounted in great details.

Every year, at Passover, Jews across the world celebrate the Seder or Hagaddah.  (Seder means order and refers to the order followed to set up the table before the necessary prayers and rituals take place.  Hagaddah simply means a tale.  And it is the summarized story of the biblical Exodus).  The name used will depend on local customs.  In Egypt we used the term Hagaddah.

As a child, I looked forward to the Hagaddah.  The whole family was assembled thus creating a festive atmosphere.  The food served was also unusual.  The Hagaddah, however, was for me a source of great confusion.  How was it that we were celebrating our exodus from Egypt while we were actually living there?  I questioned my elders and received explanations.  Nevertheless, I was still to some extent baffled.  Time brought maturity, and this particular enigma was finally resolved.  Time also brought a change in our status.  The day came when the first exodus was followed by a second one, thousand of years later!

There was once over 80,000 Jews in Egypt; today, only a few hundreds are left, mostly old people.

This is the tale of my years in Egypt; my forced departure from my native country; my time in Italy; my sojourn in Israel; and finally my arrival in Canada.  It parallels the story of thousand of Egyptian Jews and people of other nationalities, mainly Greeks and Italians.

This account stops after I got married (2 years after my arrival in Canada).  The rest is documented in my book Anguish. At this time, I do not intend to publish this book on the internet.

*  *  *

A number of clarifications follows.

1) Many words in Arabic, French, Hebrew, and Italian are used and translated.  I have dispensed with italicizing or bolding these terms.  It would have proved too tedious for my readers and myself to do so. Why were so many words in the original languages included in the text?  Egyptians reading this account will more affectionately relate to it if it includes some words of their beloved Arabic and French.  Again, many Egyptians passed by Italy, or settled there;  both former Egyptians and Italians will appreciate the Italian words and expressions I have included. The same applies to Hebrew.  (Mercifully, when I came to Canada, I did not have to master yet another language; I already knew French and English!)

2) In Arabic the terms for aunts and uncles are different depending whether they are on the mother’s side or the father’s side.  There is, of course, a word for grandmother and grandfather, and it’s the same whether it’s the maternal or paternal side.  I will not use the applicable Arabic words to avoid confusion.  I will, however, at times, use the Italian appellations for grandmother (nonna) and grandfather (nonno).  In our milieu, this is how we called our grandparents.

3) Keep in mind that my story unfolds in the ’40s and ’50s. Like any other memoirs, it is governed by both time and place. Needless to say, many changes have occurred in the intervening period.

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