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 – Israel – CCLIV. The Language of the Realm (4 of 7)

Next, I was given field work.  It was backbreaking work, and it was unbearably hot despite the fact that it was winter!  I requested and obtained numerous breaks, but it was obvious that the foreman felt that I was not pulling my own weight.

Again, this proved a one-day affair!

Avi tried hard to find me work for which I was suitable, in vain.  There was also another problem.

My work was so physically demanding, I could barely keep my eyes open in class.  My Hebrew instruction was going nowhere fast.

One day, Avi simply asked me:  “Tell me what job you would like to do, and I’ll keep you there.”  I remembered that I was a “specialist” in harvesting citrus fruits and that this was, luckily for me, the harvest season.

This should have been the ideal work; but there was a fly in the ointment.  In Kfar Saba, I could keep on working until I reached my quota; here, the day could not be extended beyond lunch, for thereafter, I had to go to my Hebrew classes.  Day after day, I was nowhere near the required quota.

I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t.

One day, Avi asked for a “special” meeting.  He went straight to the point:  “I am afraid we have to let you go. You cannot cope with the work here, nor are you learning much Hebrew.”

Kibbutzim are very understanding.  They do not reject a person easily.  However, there is a limit even to the patience of a kibbutz.

I had succeeded in getting fired from a kibbutz.  Not an easy feat!

On the way back, I sat on the bus and felt totally dejected.  Shortly after we left, the driver put on the radio; they were playing “Erev shel Shoshanim” (Evening of Roses).  This is a beautiful and very romantic Israeli ballad.  Under the best of circumstances, it brings tears to my eyes; in this case it proved to be too much.  Soon the tears were freely flowing.  The driver mumbled something about an unrequited love and the fact that there were many more fish in the sea.  A passenger joked along the same line.  Other passengers glanced sympathetically in my direction.

At a certain point, I wondered how my father would react at this turn of events.  Not well, as it turned out.  So much was going wrong already.  He did not need that.  He asked me what my next move would be.  I had no idea. Finally, my mother succeeded in calming both of us down.

As we have done so many times when faced with a knotty problem, we approached uncle Maurice for advice.  He took the whole thing very casually.  He advised me to go to an ulpan where I could study full time.  That, in his opinion, was the best way to learn Hebrew.

The J.A. was again approached.  They proved surprisingly cooperative.  A loan was arranged, and I was sent to an ulpan in Beersheva.  The course would take 6 months, and I would have a working knowledge of Hebrew by the time I was through.

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