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 – CCLXXIV. A Permanent Job (12 of 12)

A month after the system has started operating; Ben called me in his office and requested my input.  Halperin has already done that a few times.  The purpose of that meeting though was two-fold:  For Ben to get a general idea as to how the new system was working; and to apprise me of important development.

Halperin, in a diplomatic way, has advised Ben that he was not particularly impressed by Amir`s work.  Oh, Amir was doing a proper job, and had many useful comments related to the proposed inventory control method.  But nothing original was suggested.  Ben was not caught by surprise; he had included Amir on the team because A`tzmon insisted on having him.  Amir though was not out; what Ben was trying to tell me was that it was now up to me to come up with new ideas.  I have already done that, but more was expected.

The second piece of news was not a complete surprise, but Ben made it official; IAI was acquiring its own computer!

Already in the early `60s the world of business was starting to use computers to deal with the ever increasing volume of data; and to take advantage of their speed.  Few businesses, however, could afford to have their own computers; but a number of data centres have opened, and, for a fee, you could use their computer and their expertise.

But IAI had enough work to justify its own computer and the personnel that went with it.

Finally, Records was borrowing an extra person from Accounting.  His name was Bertie, and he would be responsible for assisting in the computerization of our department; and I was to help him in this task.  The first thing we both had to do was to attend a course.

Hovering over our discussion was the knowledge that in a few months I would be leaving for Canada!  Ben was not a sentimental person, but I could feel his sadness and his willingness to fully utilize the remaining time.

The course was short:  two days only.  During that time, we learned that the “brain” of the computer was called the Central Processing Unit or CPU.  Software and data was to be “fed” to the computer via tapes which were updated periodically.  The computer area was to be kept like an operating room!  Any dust could be interpreted by the computer as data!  The computer was “dumb,” it simply followed the detailed instructions provided by the software, and reacted to two states only:  On and off; the current is on or it is off!  Hence the reason why a binary system of 0 and 1 was used to program it.

There was more of course; but my 21st century reader knows how a computer works!  The above brief description was simply intended to take you back in time, a time when a computer was a big “monster” which occupied its own building!  A time when it didn’t even come close to doing what the PC sitting on your desk can do now.

Bertie and I became good friends.  This was not difficult; we were the same age, he was Egyptian, and we had lived in the same area of Cairo, but had never met before.

There was no time to reminisce though; there was a lot of work to do, and most of it had to be completed before I left.

Slowly but surely, a picture emerged as to how inventory control was going to work, and what role the computer would play.

I never got the chance to see the computer, only the building that was going to house it!  It arrived after my departure.

*  *  *

Life is made of beginnings and endings.

After seven years in Israel and four and half years at IAI, I was stepping into the unknown once again.  I will explain later on what prompted me to immigrate to Canada.  Suffice to say for now that I had good reasons to do so.  That said, I was leaving behind many people I have worked with, and have come to care for.  I was leaving when monotonous toil was changing into challenging work.  Finally, I was leaving when I was most needed; by no stretch of the imagination though was I indispensable, and yet I felt I was betraying my co-workers.

I still remember the gathering which included Ben, Halperin, A’tzmon, Bertie, and many, many others.

Bertie presented me with the gift purchased with the contributions of many of my colleagues.  It was a black briefcase which I still have and use to the present day.

I had tears in my eyes at that moment; and today, some 50 years later, remembering that occasion, my old eyes are shedding new tears.

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