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 – CCXXXII. The Ma’abarot Stage (8 of 26)

Uncle Maurice was unlike the other Ezris; he was calm, laughed easily, and was always optimistic.  “All problems eventually get solved in Israel,” he would often say.  It was a revelation for me to discover an Ezri that didn’t have a temper.  I have witnessed some of the major explosions of my father; they were rare, but frightful.  Uncle Joseph got excited over trivial matters.  Aunt Angéle was better but could easily fly off the handle when she didn’t get her way.  Nonno Zaki was apparently the worse.  That my grandmother managed to live with all of them is downright miraculous.  Her grief when Maurice, the only “sane” Ezri, left cannot be comprehended.  It occurred to me, many years later, that he felt he didn’t belong.

For me it was a delight to discover an Ezri that was so different from the rest of the clan.  How many times did I tell him how I wished I would have known him all my life; I bemoaned the lost years. He would remind of that when I was preparing to immigrate to Canada.  I explained that I had good reasons to leave; I would like to think that he understood.

If only I could bring back the times when we were all seated in his dining room eating, drinking, and laughing at his recollections of his early years in Palestine; he was able to find humor even in the difficult trials of his life.

He loved to tease me over the fact that I didn’t tolerate hot food, and couldn’t hold my drink.  He would bring a hot pepper from his garden and urge me to sample it to enliven my meal.  His ouzo was potent and opened in me a floodgate; it didn’t take much ouzo for me to crack one joke after another.

I was later to discover that he was a worrier; and with his siblings trying to establish themselves in Israel, there was plenty to worry about.

Aunt Souma would later tell us of their life before the State.  Inadequate housing and lack of basic staples made it difficult to properly bring up their children.  His work was hard and demanding.  And if all that wasn’t enough, there was a war on the horizon.

When the 1948 war started, the Haganah came calling.  How on earth was a father of four children expected to train and fight in a war?  Eventually, they realized that while they needed all hands on deck, exceptions had to be made.

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