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 – Italy – CLXXXVII. The Early Days (1 of 5)

When Egypt’s door slammed shut behind us, other doors opened up. Italy, the land of our ancestors received us and, at the onset, helped us out. Israel was another possibility; Jews that wanted to immigrate there were allowed to do so, no questions asked; indeed, it existed to provide, at long last, a home for the Jewish people. Finally, there existed many countries that were willing to provide us with an immigration visa, and a chance to start a new life, provided we met their immigration criteria. And there, our sights were firmly set on a country at the other end of the globe.

We didn’t know it then, but our departure from Egypt opened new horizons for us. We would see places we could only dream about; mingle with other cultures; learn new languages; get acquainted with the goodness that is an integral part of our fellow humans; and, unfortunately, on occasion, the perfidy of some of our brethren.

And it didn’t take us long to realize that we had begun an exciting adventure.

A pleasant surprise

On December 31, 1956, our ship reached the shores of Greece. We had docked at the port of Piraeus and were going to remain there for an extended period since the ship needed to obtain provisions and fuel.

The announcement advised us that we were near the Acropolis, and that this was our chance to visit the Parthenon, a world-wide renowned historical site (the Parthenon stands atop the Acropolis; the distance between Piraeus and the Acropolis is small, as is the distance between Piraeus and the capital of Greece, Athens).

The collective reaction of that ship full of refugees was: why not? There were no laws that said that refugees cannot also be tourists.

Before going ashore our family donned heavy coats, and put on gloves and berets. Robert has a picture of us on that day; if you look at it, you’ll conclude that we were ready to explore the North Pole! We were under the mistaken impression that Europe (all of Europe) was very cold in the winter. However, that wasn’t true for all places and at all times. Greece certainly enjoyed a balmy climate in the winter.

We got a chance to visit Piraeus, the Acropolis, and, of course, the Parthenon. We hired a taxi to go to these places. (I believe we had the time to also visit Athens and be shown its highlights, but that would have proved too much).


Piraeus is Greece’s largest port; population-wise, it is the third largest city. It was established in 478 BC in the ages of Themistocles. It gained considerable importance when Athens became a naval power. Its ancient harbors were Zea and Munichia.

Zea, now called Pasalimani, is one of the largest marinas in the Mediterranean sea.

Munichia, also known as Mikrolimano or Tourkolimano, is a pretty haven that shelter yachts and fishing boats. All around it you will find fish taverns. Above Mikrolimano is the hill of Kastella; and above it is the Church of the Prophet Elijah and the Veakeio Theater, reputed for its summer performances.

The Acropolis

The Acropolis of Athens is a high, rocky hill in the middle of this capital. Acropolis in Greek refers to a citadel in a high location. There are many acropolises in Greece, with the most famous being the Acropolis of Athens. This particular acropolis is covered with the ruins of many ancient temples, with the most important being the Parthenon.

Your tour bus (or taxi) will leave you at the base of the Acropolis. It is then up to you to walk a long, winding trail up a rocky hill, and this is followed by 80 steep, slippery steps. When you reach the summit, your efforts are well rewarded, for you’re greeted by the breathtaking view of the temples and the city of Athens below.

The distance between Piraeus and the Acropolis is about 10 kilometers (or 6 miles).

The Parthenon

The Parthenon of Athens is the most famous surviving building of Ancient Greece and one of the most renowned on the planet.

It has stood atop its present location for nearly 2500 years. It was built to give thanks to Athena, the city patron goddess, for sparing Athens and Greece during the Persian Wars. It was named the Temple of Athena the Virgin; “Parthenon” comes from the Greek word parthenos which means virgin.

The Parthenon has survived in its present form despite the formidable odds stacked against it.

It was started in 447 BC and finished in 433 BC. The purpose of the building was to house the 40-feet-high statue of Athena Parthenos.

By the 4th century AD, the temple was still intact. Sometime, in the 5th century, the statue of Athena was taken to Constantinople where it was later destroyed, possibly during the fourth crusade.

Thereafter, it became a church with the inside, including the sculptures, gutted. When Athens fell to the Ottomans, it was converted into a mosque.

It was then used as a fort, and during the war between the Ottomans and the Venetians, it suffered great damage. In time the building fell into disuse and was forgotten by the rest of the world.

By the late 18th century, it was rediscovered and gradually became a magnet to million of tourists from across the world.

The Parthenon we saw consisted of broken, but still magnificent structures; we greatly admired the legacy left to us by the ancient Greeks. After we were apprised by our guide of its history, it was left up to our imaginations to reconstruct the glorious Parthenon of yore.

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