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 – CCLXXV. Moshé (1 of 3)

If you`re lucky, you will make one good friend in your life.  A friend that, in a different way, will mean more to you than a brother; you do not choose your brother; but you can chose that friend; and in return, he has also chosen you.  In other words there are no impositions; you are friends because you genuinely care for each other; and, no matter what, you will remain friends for life.

This is rare and precious.  If it doesn`t happen to you, no blame is attached.  Circumstances beyond human control preside over such a friendship.

Moshé and I were given such a gift; and we never lost it; that would have been impossible, for it was kept in the safest place in the world:  Our hearts!

Moshé Rozenowicz also worked in the Records department.  Therefore it was inevitable that we would meet.  The two of us hit it almost instantly.  Two personalities that were a near-perfect fit.  Early on, I gave him the nickname of Moshiko, a name that was adopted throughout Records, and that survived our many years of friendship.

The gods of friendship are capricious.

Moshiko was 10 years older than me, but he looked much younger; only later did I learn his actual age from one of his friends; it did not affect our friendship in the least.

Moshé was Polish and therefore an Ashkenazy Jew; being Egyptian I was a Sephardic Jew.  If anything, that disparity was living proof that Ashkenazy and Sephardic Jews are not separated by an unbridgeable chasm.

He was an optimistic person, and, more often than not, was in a jovial mood. This was difficult to reconcile with the tragedies that had visited him in the not so distant past.

During the war he had been in Auschwitz.  He only referred once to this part of his life.  He used to squint in the sunlight, and often rubbed his eyes.  He explained to me that, in the concentration camp, he had done welding without protective equipment.  As he got older, he had trouble with his eyesight, and eventually lost his sight in one eye.  He also could no longer easily read and write.

The Nazi hell was followed by the anguish of living in a communist country.  Mercifully, Poland opened its doors for the Jews that wanted to immigrate to Israel.  Moshé, needless to say, did not hesitate to take advantage of that opportunity.

He was a widower.  He had lost a wife to cancer.  A shadow fell upon his face when he mentioned her, for she had suffered a great deal towards the end of her illness.  I believe he was already married when he left Poland; but I never asked him.

It was a given in those days that you didn`t question a holocaust survivor; you just listened to what he had to say; and that was usually very little.

In the case of Moshé, he had passed through the gates of hell, not once, or twice, but thrice.  While loquacious, Auschwitz, Communism, and witnessing the painful death of a wife, were not subjects he cared to talk about.  I respected that and, indeed, welcomed his silence.  I much preferred the cheerful facet of his personality.

Moshé wanted to remarry; one cannot mourn forever, and he wanted to have children.  He had to look for a while for that ideal match.  Eventually, Clara came into the picture, and they had two daughters in quick succession.

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