Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recently my eldest grandson Uri was researching family roots as a school project. I suddenly realized that I know almost nothing about my parent's history, about their youth, where they grew up, how they met, about their parents, brothers, sisters etc. My parents told us very few stories about their origin and when they did we weren't very interested. As far as I was concerned, god created my mother and father as a married couple with three children and that's where the dynasty started. Before that there was chaos.

Shie, (my musician son) has expressed it well in a beautiful song he wrote to his sister Shelly on her wedding with Tal. It was entitled "so many lost memories.

All this made me think and I decided it would be a good idea if I jot down some memories that will give my kids and friends a glimpse to my world.

I don't really know how to label this project. It's not a book and not intended to be published as a book. Nor is it a biography or autobiography. It's just a bunch of memories that will keep growing whenever I'll feel to jot down more memories. There is no chronological order to the memories. As I said it's not a biography. I'll write down what comes to mind without any order or connection to each other. As I said, just a bunch of events that I remember. Some will be boring, some will be funny, some might be surprising and some may have a special significance to me that will not be evident. Some memories will be distorted in time and some would even be memories of things that never happened by I remember them as if they did.

One such memory is that I had a mouth organ (Harmonica) and I dropped it out of the airplane's window on our route to Israel. I was five years old at the time. Now I know that this didn't really happen but I remember it clearly as if it was yesterday.

As I said there is chronological order in the memories so I am inserting recent events.

2018 was a difficult year. Especially for the kids.

Both vita and me came down with cancer.

After 3 operations and 35 radiotherapy sessions, I beat cancer (just by my right ear) but Vita didn’t survive and passed away on February 3, 2019.

May she rest in peace.

We are now on the 21st of June 2019. Today is Eli’s 14th birthday.

Recently my focus has been on new vocations.

In addition to my work as an IT consultant, I am now a Life Coach, about to be certified and I started giving lectures about my life story. Apparently, people find it fascinating.

Yesterday I was interviewed on an internet radio station.

I am attaching here links to:

  1. My first lecture (a pilot lecture) which I posted on YouTube. https://youtu.be/M1onRoBeE_U
  2. A full transcript of my lecture –
  3. A link to my interview.

Last December I celebrate my 75th birthday. Here are links to the celebration:

  1. Friends I lost presentation: https://youtu.be/nBjtmC5BvRc
  2. Birthday full version: https://youtu.be/F8RBkIOxEIk
  3. Song היי שקטה: https://youtu.be/F8LnIDLwwHo
  4. Song – Duet with Adi – אתה לי ארץ: https://youtu.be/40rKxYFEVlI
  5. Tango with Yana: https://youtu.be/SvIPiP5n66U
  6. Rock with Yana: https://youtu.be/NGcCaOvp9kw
  7. Song – One moment in time: https://youtu.be/auHt8j1tBJk
  8. CHA CHA CHA with Raz: https://youtu.be/F7FjK25q97o
  9. Waltz: https://youtu.be/qU5lugll06k
  10. Zeev is 50 years old: https://youtu.be/W9yRAI9dp-o

Back to the original post

Talking about memories, there is a joke about 3 little kids bragging about their memory. I remember my circumcision says the first. Well, I remember the moment of my birth says the second kid. That's nothing says the third kid. I remember going to a picnic with my father and coming back with my mother. This is a good time to write about one of my first memories. Just like the first kid in the joke I remember my circumcision. People laugh at me when they hear me saying this but I sear on my life that I do remember my circumcision. My family and close friends will attest to that.

Although I am from a Pollack origin I was born in Russia, actually in Siberia. My parents fled to there during World War II. But I have no memories at all from Russia.

There is a story that when I was about 2 years old my mother put a large pot of boiling soup under a bench by a window to cool down. I wanted to look out of the window and climbed onto the bench and proceeded to fall into the boiling soup. I spent the next few weeks moving around in a baby stroller. I actually have a vague memory of this and my uncle used to like taking me for walks (so the story goes) because I was such a beautiful baby that all the girls would stop to play with me and he could try and hit on them.
Here I am (on the left) as a toddler with my sister.

My first memories are from Germany where we had gone after the war. We stayed in a village called Friemann. Today it is a suburb of Munich. Back then I think it was some kind of a Jewish refugee camp.

I remember my mother taking me to the hospital and me fighting and crying when the doctor pulled me forcibly from her arms. I was a little over five years old and we were getting ready to go to Israel and I was hospitalized to have my circumcision. You see I told you I remember….

I remember the hospital ward, a large room with many beds just like a dormitory and I remember a bloody bandage where the surgery was done.

Coming into Friemann there was an unmanned guard's post. Shula and I were playing (I can't remember if Haim was with us. He was born in Friemann and was an infant at the time) in the guard jumping and pushing when the shack, which was just put there with no support, fell with us trapped inside. We were too young and the shack was too heavy for us to lift so we cried and screamed for help until a friend of the family came along and lifted it allowing us to go free

I remember learning to ride a bicycle. I need a push to start and I didn't know how to turn. The main street of the village was like a ring road around the village. One day I rode my bike but because I didn't know how turn I had to drive around the village. At some point I fell and had to knock on someone's door asking for a push. I made it home safely.

Another memory from Germany is actually a story I heard, I have no memory of that.

A friend of my mother saw a black American soldier (in this day and age I should say African American but this is a story of pre politically correct days). She came running and calling my mother to come and see this wonder. My mother was pregnant with my brother Haim and another friend warned her that if she would look at a black man, the baby would be born black. My mother was scared but the curiosity was too much and she had a peek. Until Haim was born (white) she was afraid that he would be black.

My mother is a wonderful source of good stories. We used to call her a witch. Not because she was bad, on the contrary she was a gentle and very very smart woman. No, we called her a witch because she was psychic. If she would have lived in the days of the bible she would have most probably been a prophet and we would have learned about her in school. Her "prophecy" was always based on a dream she had where her mother (my grandma) came to her in her dream and told her of an upcoming event. I am still waiting for my grandma to come to my dreams and tell me the lottery numbers. Dream on man !

Anyway here are a couple of the more notable events.

The first story is about my mother's brother Hershel. He was jailed in Russia for 15 years on some made up charges and all contacts with him were lost. When we came to Israel there was missing relative search program. There was a daily radio program where names of lost relatives were read.

One morning my mother woke up crying. When asked why was she crying she said that her mother visited in her dream and told her that Hershel was found. At noon that day the mailman arrived with a letter. HERSHEL WAS FOUND !

The second notable story is when my aunt Tova called to chat and my mother asked her if she was pregnant. When Tova said she wasn't my mother started to cry. In answer to Tova's question my mother explained that her mother came in her dreams and told her that Tova was pregnant and she will have a baby girl and will call her Pnina (after my grandma).

So Tova confessed that she is pregnant but it's in the early stages and she wants to keep a secret for the time being.

Guess what the gender and name of the baby was. Yes, it was a girl and she is called Pnina.

Homework and I were never good friends. During my tie in elementary school I tried to do as little as possible. My homework journal was full of remarks from my teachers with my mother's signature attesting that she saw and read on every page. I think I may have exaggerated a little, it wasn't my mother's signature, it was a master forgery by me.

Usually I spend a lot of time goofing in my room pretending to do my homework. One day we had very little homework and I don't know what possessed me to do them. I finished in a few minutes and came out of my room. "Go and do your homework" my mother said. I did them mom, we had very little. "Impossible" she said "show me your homework journal". As much as I tried I couldn't wiggle myself out of this and finally my mother opened the journal to find her signature all over the place. Like I said it was an expert forgery.

As a kid I loved reading. I still do. We had privately owned libraries in neighborhood book stores and I used to change two and sometimes even three books a day. I just spent every free moment I had laying on my bed and "devouring" the books.

My brother Haim used to be bored and wanted me to play with him. When I refused he'd disturb me and as a result he would get a beating.

One specific afternoon Haim pissed me off more than usual. I needed to take a shower so I promised to beat the shit out of him when I come out.

Promises should be kept and Haim knew that I always keep my promises and so when I came out of the shower I found the door of our bedroom locked with Haim on one side and me on the other.

But Haim miscalculated. He didn't allow for the fact the door had large glass panels and that I had a towel. So I wrapped the towel around my fist, broke the glass, entered the room and kept my promise.

Reading was not the only thing I enjoyed in those days. The other activity I loved was going to the movies. In particular I liked going to a cinema called Beit Haam (the peoples home) in Ben Yehuda street. The cinema was demolished a long time ago, as were most of the old cinemas in Tel Aviv and the EL-AL office building.

Across the street there was a cinema called Gan Rina which had a roof that could be opened in the summer. A cabriolet cinema ….

So, what was it that from all the cinemas in Tel Aviv, I was attracted to Beit Haam ?

Well there were three things.

First they screened a lot of westerns. We used to call the cowboy and Indian movies. Secondly they screened a movie for one week only while all other cinemas screed the same movies for weeks and even month, depending on demand. So my choice was much larger.

But third and most important they were open in the mornings when my parents thought I was at school.

The ritual was as follows, I'd go to school in the morning, walk up to my class, throw my school bag out of the window to back yard, walk down the stairs, pick up my bag and off to the cinema. The ticket cost 22.50 Groosh. One morning when I came to the cinema I found a price hike to 27.5 Groosh. I didn't have it but they knew me and let me in on the promise that I'll pay the difference the next day.

Well, no wonder I finished elementary school with exemplary grades. Straight Fs'.

As I said at the start this is not a chronological account of my life but one memory triggers another and so I'll stay on my early years for a bit. I expect that next time I log in I'll write about other periods.

The story of the cinema ticket price reminds me of some of my economic adventures.

As a youngster I decided to save money. Purchased a piggy bank and put in every penny I could lay my hands on.

One would have thought that my father would have been proud of me, but instead he gave me a beating (with a belt on my behind – that was a customary punishment in the mid 50's) when he found out that when I said I saved every penny I could lay my hand on, my hand was mainly in his pockets when he was asleep.

Another financial adventure happened in summer school. I must have been 11-12 years old. It was Friday afternoon and we were dressed in our best SHABAT clothing – white shirt & clean khaki shorts. There was a swimming pool in the summer school and I was dared to dive in with my clothes. Soon there was a wager for a full LIRA which was collected from all the kids. I had Haim hold on the money for safe keeping and in I jumped.

This was the first time I made money on my own.

Another one of my commercial enterprise is a story told by my good friend Shimi (or as he writes it She & ME). I have no recollection of this story and in a minute you'll understand why I suppress it but I think it's a nice story and I'd like to relate it.

So here is the story in Shimi's words. I was in boarding school in Brighton England. I'll be writing a lot about Whittengahme College as this was probably the most meaningful period of my life.

Anyway I was a veteran coming into my third year when Shimi arrived to school. It was his first day and he happened to sit next to me. I guess you know the feeling of first day in school when you don't know anyone. Now imagine this is 3,000 miles from home in a strange country. No wonder Shimi looked and felt lost. While in school our parents used to send us packages with all kind of goodies. We got Tehina, Halve, Chocolate, sweets and what not. So here comes the punch line. According to Shimi, and I stress that I have no recollection, I turned to him and asked if he wanted some Halva. Shimi was thrilled that someone noticed him and talked to him and offered him something. "what a nice guy" he thought. Yes please said Shimi. So next I asked "how much will you pay"?. Now you understand why I suppress this story.

I went to a boarding school in England because after my illustrious academic career in elementary school in Israel, no high school in Israel was willing to accept me. My parents gave up on the fantasy of me making the dean's list (which I did many years later) and thought that at least I'll learn a language and some manners.

My mother escorted me to school. We flew via Amsterdam where we stayed for two or three days. I remember we flew in a super constellation and it was a 12 hour flight with 3 stops en route. The only thing I remember from Amsterdam are huge bananas. They were 3 times the size of bananas in Israel and I was so impressed that I remember them till today.

From Amsterdam we flew to London and took a train from Victoria station to Brighton.

It was summer of 1957 and I was just 13.5 years old.

Whittengahme College was a boys only school but they had a co-ed summer school.

At the time I was extremely shy. When I walked in the street and saw a girl walking towards me I'd blush and cross the street. I did a lot of street crossings.

And here I am in a new school, not knowing anyone, standing and trying to blend with some guys. Suddenly a girl from the summer school joined us and put her hand on my shoulder and leaned on me. I almost passed out.

In time I am glad to say I overcame my shyness.

The first three month in school I cried non-stop. I cried in Brighton and my mother cried in Tel Aviv. If we would have collected my tears we could have solved the Israeli water shortage for many years.

But England was a long way away and you couldn't take a time out so my parents promised me that at the end of the academic year I will return home.

By year end I didn't want to return home. I had five amazing years in England with fantastic experiences and friendships that are inexplicable. Experiences that I can only wish for one and all.

18 August 2013

Yesterday my dear friend Irith's mom passed away. Whenever someone's parents pass away I remember my parents. My mother died when I was 40. In fact I celebrated my 40th birthday during the SHIVA. My father passed away 10 years later almost to the day. In fact it was 10 years and 3 weeks. Just a couple of weeks after I celebrated my 50th birthday.

My mom had a bad heart and she was in and out of hospital constantly. We got used to here being in intensive care and we were always joking and laughing while everyone around us was worried and weeping. The last time she was hospitalized the doctors told us that this is it "she is not coming out". Miraculously the woman got better and was going to be moved to the general ward when she suddenly had a stroke.

My father and I visited her just before and went to lunch and my brother in law Daddy arrived and was there when it happened. He brought us the news. But my mother was not going to go away without a fight and she lasted a few more days. there were a few words she couldn't pronounce as a result of her stroke and we all, including my mother, had a good lough. We took turns to be with her around the clock. One night when I was on duty I decided the bed light is too bright and I put a cloth over it. Luckily the smell of burning cloth woke me up and I managed to put the fire out before it burned down the hospital. On Friday all hope was lost and we her all in the hospital waiting for her to pass away. At some stage the doctor called us to his office and said she was strong and it will take hours. He suggested we go home and come back in the morning. While we were talking with the doctor the nurse crushed in calling him to my mother's bedside. The doctor rushed to my mother and started CPR while we stood by the main control and saw a continuous straight line on he monitor. I realized then that I am an orphan but when the doctor gave up we came to us and said "it's over" my mind wouldn't accept what I knew to be true and I answered "what's over" ? She was 69 years young and as I writing this I really miss her.

I had my wife's car and on the way back home I had this tremendous urge for a cigarette. I used to be a heavy smoker. I could have probably made the Guinness book of record with 5 packs a day until 1978 when I had nicotine poisoning and quit smoking overnight. I haven't touched a cigarette for more than 5 years but now I just had to have one. My wife who was a smoker had cigarettes in her car so I took one, put between my lips and pushed the car's cigarette lighter. I reached for the lighter but then hesitated. I knew that if I smoke this one cigarette I will lose control. I took the cigarette out of my lips and tossed it out the window. I never touched a cigarette since.

At the time cigarette smoke and smell didn't bother me but now I can't stand the smell and can't date a smoker. The smell of cigars is even worse. One sniff and I get an instant migraine.

Like I said my father died 10 years later. He had Alzheimer. It was tragic to see this great mind falling apart like this. My father had a fantastic memory for numbers and business information. He would collect data from different people and if one bit of information didn't fit the puzzle he caught on immediately. It was routine to hear him saying to someone "but 2 month ago you told me …". But as good as his memory was for figures, he just couldn't remember names and such "unimportant" trivia. He used to invent names for people and you just couldn't get him to use the correct name. When my brother had a baby boy he was abroad and bought him a present … a dress. We had a girl working for us by name of Irit. He started calling her Nurit. After repeated corrections he apologized and said I get mixed up I just had a granddaughter named Nurit. He was referring to my daughter Ronit.

It took us a long time to realize he has Alzheimer. We were so used to his confusions that at first we thought that age has increased it a little but we still didn't think it was more serious. When he was finally diagnosed, the doctor estimated that he was something like 3 years into the disease.

I was with him when he was checked. The doctor drew a circle and asked him to draw a clock inside. My father looked at him with contempt. "what is this childish test ?" and he took the pen and started writing down the hours anti-clockwise changing from normal to Roman figures and back and spiraling inside. When he finished he made a large dot as if to say "you see, you stupid doctor". This was one of the most difficult moments in my life.

Although sad, there were some funny moments. One such moment was when my brother Haim wanted my father to step on the scales. My father was a fat man and constantly on diets and he kept a scale in the bathroom. When he was well he checked his weight on a daily basis, but now it's been a long time since he weighed himself. So Haim took him to the scale but my father didn't know what to do so Haim said put your foot on the scale. My father did as he was told and put one foot on the scale. Now the other one said Haim. So my father withdrew the foot that was on the scale and put the other one on.

When I told my daughter Shelly about Irith's mother death she asked me if at my age we think about death.

Well I don't know about you but I don't. At least not as something that's coming soon or something to be afraid of. On the contrary I have this stupid notion that I will never die. That I am here for good. When the future comes up in conversations I say always say that I will be there in a couple of hundred years. So no, I don't think of death and I am not worried about it. I just can't see myself dyeing. It's so not me. But in the unlikely event (as they say before takeoff) that it will happen I want to control the when and how. So to sum this subject up I will paraphrase something Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers said, If you are a betting man and you the angel of death coming for me, you would be wise to put your money on me.

What I am afraid of is getting old. Yes I know I am approaching 70, but I don't think of myself as old. I just reside in an old body and when Apple comes out with IBody, I'll upgrade every 3 years.

When I see people 80 – 90 years old, and I hear "yes, but he is still …." I say, I am almost there and I expect to be the same as I am now, and working (unless I win the Lotto) and driving and playing golf and having fun etc. The thing that scare me most is to be dependent on others, especially my kids. This I will never allow to happen.

Another thing I think of is (again, in the unlikely event that it will happen) my funeral. I think of that when I attend someone else's funeral. I really don't know why I go to a funeral, after all they will not come to mine…

Anyway, I want my funeral to be a fun event. NO EULOGIES ! yes I know I am an angel and there was never anyone like me and I was sensitive and considerate and a best friend and bla bla bla, but I was also a bastard and egoistic, and vengeful and made mistakes, in other words I am a normal human being, so no eulogies or I am getting out of the cascade and walking away. What I want instead is for some of my friends to tell some jokes, here is one: 3 guys were asked what do they want people to say in their funeral. The first said he wants people to say what a good family man he was. The second said he wants people to say what a pillar to the community he was. The third man said he wants people to say: hey, he is moving". So a couple of jokes, (not too many, I still have a journey up ahead) and music. Some of my favorite songs from the 60's including some Italian & French would be a lovely send off. I might even create a CD for this if I get around to it.

28 August 2013

After five very special years I graduated and it was time to return home for military service. It was summer of 1962.

My daughter once said to me "wow, you lived in the 60's, how I envy you".

Anyway, at that time the government was trying to motivate Israelis living abroad to come back home. For this purpose they gave import duty exemptions. If you were away for two years you could import electrical home appliances tax free. If you were away for five years, you could import and automobile tax free. Custom duties and other taxes on cars were much higher than they are now. Let me remind you that even today Israel is competing for world record in taxes on cars.

It goes without saying that we had to take advantage of this regulation and my father bought me a brand new 1962 Ford Zephyr. The color was maroon and I thought it was the most beautiful car there is. Unfortunately I don't have a photograph of my car but hooray for the internet this is what it looks like

The car had 3 gears and the gear lever was at the steering wheel. Four years later I bought my first Mustang which had the stick shift on the floor and there were four gears. This was a novelty and was advertised as "four on the floor". Today the expensive cars have the gear controls at the steering wheel. Who said the world doesn't go around.

My father and I took delivery of the car in London and immediately set off to London. I had passed my test in April of that year and didn't touch a car since so releasing the clutch without stalling was a real challenge. The plan was that we spend some time together touring Europe, but my father had to cut his trip short due to some business needs. We drove back to Zurich, my father left me some money and flew home. The escapades we had with that car can fill

The money thing is important to explain. At that time there was tight control of foreign currency in Israel. When I first went to England we had a $10 allowance. Eventually it went up. If my memory serves me right first to $150 then to $700 and many years later (I think after the Likud took power in 1977) to $ 3000 until finally all restrictions were lifted.

This means that all monies, tuition, pocket money, certainly a car had to be smuggled out of the car through intermediates and as a result we were always waiting for money to arrive and we were always short of money.

When my father went back home I decided to return to Brighton. I arrived in Brighton and headed straight away to the Andes. This was a coffee shop were we always hung around and was our meeting place. As I walked into Andes I saw Yasha and I was shocked. Yasha was always a slim fellow but what stood in front of me now was a skeleton. I could almost see through him. Yasha was waiting for his money to arrive and hasn't eaten for a few days (any little money we had was saved to go dancing and was not spent on such trivia as food).

So I immediately took Yasha to a restaurant to feed him. I took him to a place called the London Steak House which was reputed to be the best restaurant in Brighton and we order steaks. Yasha could wait and finally when the steak arrived Yasha took a look and declared "I am not eating it". On top of the steak lay a little round slab of butter and Yasha who only eats Kosher refused to eat. It wasn't just the cost of the stake but I was afraid that he will faint by the time it was replaced. So I told him it was margarine which was all the convincing he needed to enjoy what felt at the time as the best meal in his life.

To say that I was a lousy driver at the time is the understatement of the 60s. Parking for example was mission impossible and I was so ashamed that when we went to the Andes I parked down the road even if there was plenty of parking outside the door. I didn't want my friends to see my clumsy attempts at parking. In time I mastered the art of parking and if there is enough space to push the car in sideways, I can park it.

One evening Yasha and I went somewhere and I parked at a curb where there was a big tree very close to the road. When I tried to drive out I scratched the car. The story was that I was trying to teach Yasha to drive and he did it.
Actually Yasha didn't need to learn how to drive. He got his license without taking one lesson. The local AAA was in a beautiful building with a round driveway. The international driving license section was just in front the main doors and the clerk could see all cars that arrived. I stopped my car just outside his view, Yasha took the wheel and I gave a push. The car glided forward and stopped in front of the building. Yasha came out with keys in hand and asked for an international license. He wasn't even asked to produce his British license and 5 minutes later he came out, a proud owner of an international license. Later when we returned to Israel he produced his international license and replaced it with an Israeli one, no questions asked.
We stayed in Brighton for a couple of weeks. Many evenings we used to drive down to London. Not that there was much to do in London, everything was closed by 10 pm, but what do you expect of 18 years old horny guys ? we were hunting.
The first time I drove to London was evening and I was driving fast around 150-160 KPM when I suddenly hit a huge round about. I almost literary hit it. With sheer instinct I to the left, right wheels in the air and back right with sparks flying as the chassis hit the asphalt. I had to stop for a long time until I could control the shakes.
Another popular destination was the newly opened Gatwick airport. Flying in those days was a special treat available mostly to the very rich known as the jet set. People used to dress nicely for flying. So we drove to Gatwick and watched beautiful girls coming and going.
After a couple of weeks in Brighton it was time to start heading home. The plan was for Yasha and me to drive to the French Riviera, stay there for a while and then head off to Milan and from then to Board a boat with the car in Naples.
Yasha had family in Milan and they had money for him but it was up to me to bankroll both of us until Milan.
We were on a tight budget and shared a room at a cheap hotel near the railway station in Cannes. The hotel was 10 FF a night. There was a cheap self service restaurant next door and we could eat well enough for 6 FF a meal. The days were spend mostly on the beach and most evenings we spent in heaven's subsidiary on earth Juan-Les-Pins which was a short 20 minute breathtaking drive from Cannes. An added bonus was the visit of an American Aircraft Carrier which made it next to impossible to keep one's eyes on the road.
One day we drove to St. Tropez. After visiting the town we decided to drive to the beach. O the way we picked up a couple of hitch hikers and one of the asked if we were going to the nudist beach. Well, now we were going. So spend 3 amazing hours in a nudist beach looking at everything that moved while we kept our bathing suites on.
We are talking about 1962. Porno was a picture of a couple sitting in their underwear on a sofa with her having her hand in his underpants. And to see beautiful young girls walking around naked was just unbelievable.
One evening we returned to Cannes and saw three beautiful girls at a street corner. I stopped the car and told Yasha who had passable French to pick them up but Yasha was shy and so while I was urging him to make the move one of them came over leaned in Yasha's window and said "voulez-vous faire l'amour". She was stunning and we would have never thought that they were prostitutes. It was obvious that we no voulez-vous faire l'amour with prostitutes but it was time to have fun so Yasha asked for the price. 50 FF was the answer. With a budget of 10 FF for a room and 6 FF for a meal, we guessed 50 FF must be for a month. So Yasha asked for how long and was told for as long as it takes. In restaurants in France it is customary to ask if service is included so continuing with our fun Yasha asked service compris ? by now the prostitute realized we are there for fun not business and said a qui ou no ? so we said no and she reached in and stroked Yasha's cheek. I think he hasn’t washed his cheek since.
One evening when we were in Juan-Les-Pins there was a club there that charged 8 FF entrance fee which included a first drink. We were dying to go but couldn't afford it. Across the street was a casino. So we went. Entrance fee to the casino was 1 FF each and we gambled in Boule. A Roulette kind of game but with only 9 numbers a large wooded ball and the table did not spin. After a while we were 18 FF up. Exactly what we needed to cover both the casino and the club's entrance fees.
In a nearby club there was a performance of the Trinidad steel band. A bunch of guys from Trinidad who played fantastic music on steel drums. We were dying to see them but tickets were 25 FF each. By now we knew how to make money so we crossed the road to the casino.
Yes you guessed it, we were cleaned out. But I mean clean ! we didn't have money for food drink or gasoline. We had no choice –Milano here we come. So we drove to the hotel, packed and set off. The problem was that Milan is 350 KM from Cannes and we had no money for fuel. I must have broken some world records in gas economy. On down hills I put the car in neutral and drove as gently as possible. We made it to Milan on fumes !

One day in January 2012 Yasha called and asked for my email. Minutes later I received a scanned image of the entrance ticket to the casino.


Here is something Shie wrote me today after reading my blog.

Reading about your road trip to Milan reminded me of when you and I were in an M3 in Germany and we saw our first exit sign on the freeway – Ausfahrt – and we just both started laughing without even having to say anything. And then I was reminded of arriving in Salzburg and driving under the arch and you honking at the police man in the middle of the road and how shocked he was because it turned out you weren't supposed to be driving there. And then I remembered going on a drive with a bunch of friends you used to race with, and you being in the BMW 735i and driving about 20 cm behind the guy in front of you (I forget his name, really nice guy) and me standing up through the sun roof and passing snacks to the kids in the other car while you were driving way faster than the speed limit. I will write more about this at some later time.


I posted a link to the blog on Facebook. My nephew Tal suggested to make it a family project. It's not a bad idea but I have mixed feelings about it. One minute I am excited at the thought, the next minute I am afraid that too much information written by different people with different style might make it unreadable. So I am thinking of it and will decide soon.

But whatever I decide, this idea has triggered a thought that I should include pictures of the family. One of the best pictures I have is of a family gathering at Shelly's place just a few days before Eithan's first birthday. The picture was taken during May 2000 at Shelly's home. We had myself, my sister's and my brother's whole families. Unfortunately Zeev could make it and he and his family are not in the picture. Replacing him is Guy and Family. Guy is my sister's nephew from her husband's Daddy side. All in all there are 44 people in the photograph.

Since that picture was taken we have had quite a few additions to the family. Shie had Zach, Zeev had Nadav (on 12.12.12) and Ronit had Maayan. I know Haim and Shula also had new grandkids but I am ashamed to admit I can't remember the details (following in father's footsteps J). This may be a winning reason to adopt Tal's idea. So expect more pictures to come.

31.8.2013 p.m.

In 1962 there were about 35,000 cars in Israel. I expect that no more than 10 soldiers had private cars. I was one of them.

The first 5 weeks of Boot camp (I think this is the correct term for elementary training) were physically very difficult for me. The last week was already relaxed and fir the last 3 days I was allowed to bring my car. I was parked in a large empty lot. After getting the marching orders I was accompanied by some friends to my car. I had a record player in the car, I took a look back, the lot was empty and I started backing up while putting a record in the record player. Suddenly I saw Micky Gillerman waving at me. When I heard and felt the boom I realized Micky wasn't waving at me. He was trying to warn me of the truck that backed up towards me.

We lived in Herzelia and I served in a base in Zrifin. It was 35 minute drive. We had an inspection on the parade ground at 8:00. At 7:30 every morning I could be seen running down the path to my car buttoning up my shirt. That was part of the morning ritual. It started by reaching out for a cigarette as soon as I opened my eyes and falling back to sleep. When the cigarette burned my fingers I jumped up, washed at record time pulled my trousers on and finish dressing while running to my car. I'd drive like crazy, overtaking on the right or left shoulder and cutting 5 critical minutes from the trip. I'd drive my car all the way to the parade ground. Everyone was already standing at attention and the Master Sergeant was marching. Left right, left right, very military. The guys left me a space at the last row and when the he arrived at the first row I arrived in the last row.

In the 30 minutes that it took me to drive I managed to smoke 5 cigarettes. (At the time I smoked 4 packs a day. Later on it went up to 5).

So I got to may spot and stood at attention and immediately started coughing got convulsions and soon was on the floor fighting for breath, everyone trying to help me and the parade was in shambles.

After a few weeks the Master Sergeant came to me and in his menacing voice said "Rozow, I don't want to see you at the parades any more". I think this is one of the rare times when smoking is good for you.

I usually gave some of my friend a ride both to and from the base. Driving home we were more relaxed because there was no time issue. I used to drive like a typical irresponsible 18 year old idiot. I used to drive fast with my upper body out of the window waving at other cars with both hands. It looked like no one was holding the wheel, but it was held at the bottom by the guy sitting next to me. At that time the front seat in cars was a bench with room for three. (seat belts weren't invented yet). One afternoon we started driving home (fast) and soon came up to a general's car which was driving slower and wouldn't move over to let me pass. The road had 3 lanes. One lane for each direction, and a middle lane for passing. We called it the death lane because it was used for passing from both directions. The general was driving in the middle lane and I couldn't pass. We were approaching an intersection and had an extra lane so I passed him and turned right. The general turned right after me and passed me back crossing a white line. This made me mad and I tried to pass him again. For the next 10 miles or so I was "glued" to his tail. He tried to shake me but I had a more powerful car and I liked to believe I was a better driver. At least a crazier one.

We now came to another intersection and I needed to turn left. There were two lanes. One for turning left and one for going straight. The general took the right lane and I thought e was going straight but as I started turning he turned in from the right and if not for my jumping on the brakes we would have hit each other. This really got me going. A couple of miles further on there was a right turn with open visibility all around. As the general's car slowed down to take the right turn I passed him. This prompted the general to turn on his siren. Once I heard the siren I moved and slowed down to let him pass. As he was parallel the general, who was sitting in the back seat, half climbed out of his window and screamed at me to stop. When I stopped the general took my car keys, told me to go into his car and drove off leaving my car and my passengers at the road.

He took me straight to detention. I was in a good mood. I thought I was going to teach a general a lesson. Yes I was in uniform but I was in a civilian car, he had no right to stop me, certainly not to take my keys and leave my car at the road. There were a couple of guys there waiting to be transferred to military prison. They hoped I would also go to prison because I kept making jokes and making them lough.

A couple of days later I was sent to base and brought before a court martial by my base commander. "You are charged with disobeying a general's order and conduct unbecoming a soldier. What do you have to say in your defense ?"

Well, I answered, "conduct unbecoming a soldier is valid only for sergeants and higher ranked military personal. I am a private and cannot be charge with that. In addition the conduct in question was a traffic violation and I am facing a civil traffic summons for it. As for disobeying an order, I had 5 passengers in the car including an officer and they will all testify that as soon as the general told me to stop, I stopped".

"Well I think we'll let you sit and ponder your actions for a bit. 35 days military jail. About face, left right, left right, left right, and before I understood what was happening I was on my way to prison.

This is when I learned about military justice. Years later I learned that civil justice is not much better but this is another story.


We were approximately 120 inmates per cell. The first 44 were lucky enough to get hold of a bunk. The rest of us had to sleep on the floor and even that was crowded. My friends from the detention were happy to see me. They thought I'll keep their spirit high. We were given 5 Israeli made cheap cigarettes. They tasted terrible but were all we had. We were only allowed to smoke them at certain times and places. Smoking in the cells was strictly forbidden. For someone who smoked four packs a day this was hell. One day my mother came to visit. She knew someone who knew someone who knew someone and so they arranged for s to meet in a private room unsupervised. Very quickly a packet of Kent was passed over.

There is only one place to hide anything that would pass scrutiny. No, you dirty people, not up any cavity. The only place was under the bucket of the belt. Patting the belt would only reveal the metal of the buckle and unless they made you strip, which they didn't, this was the only safe place. The trouble was that I couldn't take the cigarettes out during the day for fear of been seen by my peers who would blackmail me to share. One day we were in the cell and I was dying for a smoke. I had a friend who knew about the Kent so I asked him for one of his cigarettes and promised to pay back with a Kent after dark. As I was smoking the cigarette an officer walked in. I immediately threw the cigarette behind the bed but it was too late. I was caught.

Give me the rest of the cigarettes came the order. I don't have any more I replied, shaking like a leaf, I was given this one by a friend. The officer patted me but didn't find the treasure under my belt.

Who gave you the cigarette was the next question. I am sorry sir, I said, someone did me a favor and I am not going to give him up. The officer picked up the burning cigarette and brought it within a centimeter from my nose. This is your last chance, he said. I could feel the heat of the cigarette on my nose but stood my grounds and refused to tell. This impressed the officer and he said, ok, you are a man, now if the person who gave you the cigarette will come forward I'll let you both go unpunished. My friend who gave me the cigarette was standing just behind be trembling with fear. So while looking at the officer I moved my hand backwards, grabbed his thigh and pressed as hard as I could. I think he figured he would be better off taking a punishment but saving his leg so finally he stepped forward. The officer kept his word, turned around and left the cell.

I hesitated to tell the next story but what the hell anyway I'll keep it short and let you imagination take over. Try not to go too far. Like I said we were 120 inmates in a cell designed to hold 44. At night we had 2 buckets that served as toilets. One night we all got food poisoning and we all had diarrhea. That's as far as I am going with this story.

Some colleagues at work were just talking about their children and cute little things they said. It reminded me of the time when Zeev was a little boy and I put him to sleep. When I covered him up and kissed him goodnight he asked "Daddy where do you go when you go to sleep"?

I had love hate relationship with Sami Jacobovitz. We were either best friends or archenemies. When push came to shove Sami proved himself "over and beyond the call of duty". When we lost Sami it felt like I lost a part of me. Sami was a big guy. He was 194 tall and almost as much wide. He was a tough guy and liked to demonstrate his toughness but inside there was hiding the soul of a pussycat. When I had a bad accident in the Sinai desert and I was bed ridden Sami visited on a daily basis and looked after me as if I was his little kid. When I separated from Vita Sami adopted me and made sure that I feel that I had a warm family.

We first met in the summer of 1957 when I came to Brighton. We were in the same class for five years and shared the same room for most of the time. As kids we used to fight a lot. Sami would get his legs around a person's body and squeeze the life out of him. Well almost the life until that person screamed in pain and short of breath. For some reason I could withstand the squeezing and tis infuriated him. The more he squeezed the more I resisted and never gave up.

When we were back in Israel for the army, we had one of our not talking periods (I can't remember why). One evening I was driving from Tel Aviv to Herzelia with my girlfriend Lea. I was doing about 140 Kph. Suddenly I saw in the rear view mirror the head lights of a large car closing on me fast. Sami's father had a Chevrolet Impala, a large American automobile and I knew it must be him. I pressed the pedal to the metal and accelerated as fast as the car could. Sami, who was already at the top speed managed to come along side me but I gained speed and so we drove at about 170 kpm side by side toward Natanya. The road at the time was a tow lane road so I was on the right lane and Sami was on the left lane. The wrong lane. Luckily there was no traffic coming towards us. After about 10 -15 km Sami had enough and I suddenly saw him turning his steering wheel towards me and coming fast forcing me off the road. I thought this was a good time to stay alive and I moved onto the soft shoulder, slowed down and let him pass.

Food in school, you can imagine was not exactly gourmet but usually there was always something someone liked so meals became a barter market. My roll for your egg, my salami for your potatoes etc. Another thing was trying to be the first to declare "first spare". That gave us the right for first leftovers. The dining tables were covered with a plastic table cloth. If you sit at the end and fold the edge of the table cloth to form a drainage pipe and pour some water, the guys sitting at the other side would jump up when they got wet. It was fun.

The dining room was a long hall with tables at the sides and an aisle in the middle. At the front was a stage with the staff's table and at the back the kitchen. There was always a teacher on duty overseeing us. They wanted us to appreciate classical music so they played classical records at meal times and we weren't allowed to talk. No wonder it took me many years after I left school to begin to like classical music. Whenever there were important announcement they would be done in the dining room. More often than not telling someone off, and more often than not by the assistance headmaster Eldon Smith. We used to call him Shmatz.

There were three guys, Israelis who were good friend, always together and always in trouble. Itzahk Djamal better known a D, Sami Jolles and Uri Nagler. Whenever one of their names was called all three got up and approached the podium to be punished.

One day a bunch of us were caught playing poker. At dinner time Shmatz called us up and while standing behind him he addressed the school and among other things said "how can the not be ashamed losing their parent's money" at that Danny Gladstone (Barzilai) who was an exception poker player whispered "what does he want from me, I never lose". We were in enough trouble as is and it took all of our will power not to start laughing out loud.


I found it very hard to work with my father. He expected us to know and be responsible for everything that was happening in the business, but he did not give us the necessary authority and interfered constantly. Haim didn't mind but I couldn't stand it and finally in mid 70s I decided to leave the family business and go on my own.

Just at that time an old timer textile manufacturer who had a rundown plant about to go bankrupt asked my father to buy him out and save him the embarrassment of going bankrupt. Saw an opportunity here and I bought the factory. We changed the name to Sabrihut. A combination of the word Sabrina (the family's hosiery firm) and Hut, the Hebrew word for yarn.

It was a factory for texturizing nylon yarn mainly for the hosiery industry employing 14 people . Texturizing is the process of taking a "flat" nylon yarn and giving it the volume and flexibility necessary to make pantyhose.

The factory was in Petach Tikva. The building hasn't seen a paint job in years, the roof was leaking, garbage everywhere, no fence and the surrounding grounds were mud. Especially in the winter.

The inside wasn't much better. There were 2 texturizing machines and several machines for winding the textured yarn. The machines should have been in a museum and not on the shop floor. Spare parts were not available anymore and when one machine broke down we used it as spare parts for the other.

The first job at hand was to clean up and fix the place. We did a beautiful job, building a fence planting grass and even a rose garden. We almost doubled the building by constructing a new warehouse and suddenly we had a place we could be proud to go to in the morning.

I recruited a good man from the family business, Rami Haiteen and appointed him as general manager.

The first few years I kept a tight control. I remember when he came to get my permission to raise the salary of the cleaning lady by a few pennies. In time, I gave Rami more and more authority and I concentrated on finance and strategic planning. We had to replace our old equipment and purchased used equipment from other factories that went bust. It was old machinery but it felt like state of the art compared to machines it replaced.

In time we grew and increased our market share. It was time to buy a new state of the art machine. It cost fifty thousand dollars and making the decision kept awake for many a night.

By now Sabrihut employed 60 workers and had total control on the nylon market. We actually had one competitor, a company by the name of Heberlon. They were about twice as large as we were but they concentrated on the polyester market, so we left that market alone and they left the nylon market alone. It wasn't and agreement or something, it was just facts of life.

In 1980 I made a bid to buy Heberlon. The idea was to merge the two companies and then issue stock on the Tel-Aviv stock exchange to raise the money to pay for the deal. After long hard bargning we finally bought Heberlon for 2 million dollars. We merged the two factories and called the new company Sabrilon, a combination of both names.

We moved Sabrihut's operation from the plant in Petach-Tikva to Heberlon's site in Kfar Saba. We had 6,000 sq.m. built on a plot of 10,000 sq.m. The combined workforce was 160 but we gradually let go of 60 people.

Early in 1981 we were ready to go public but the stock market collapsed and we were left with a debt of 2 million dollars. Sabrilon was an efficient and profitable factory and we succeeded in repaying it from our own resources. Selling the real estate in Petach Tikva helped.

It was time to buy new machines. There were two machine manufacturers, a German firm who wanted half a million dollars and a British firm who wanted 450,000 dollars. After careful deliberation we decided to go ahead and Rami asked me which machine to buy. I told him that as the owner I made the strategic decision to buy te equipment but as general manager it was up to him to decide which one.

Just a few years ago he had to ask me to raise a salary of a low paid employee and I lost sleep over a decision to spend 50,000 and here I refuse to interfere in such a decision. We really went along way.

By that time I was semi-retired. I came in every morning go through the factory, look at the financial situation deal with collections and with the banks and by lunch time I was on the way to the golf course.

We had some Arabic customers from the west bank and Gaza. They usually came with cash and a lorry and picked up the goods. One day we made a big sale and the customer was coming with 63,000 Shekeles in cash. I was warned that this customer will cheat me and that I should count the money carefully.

Expecting such a large sum of money I came in that morning carrying my pistol (as if I knew how to use it). The customer came to my office and handed me the money. I counted twice and then counted packs of 10,000 and put them in my drawer away from his reach. I was satisfied I had 63,000 Shekeles, we shook hands, I took the money and drove as fast as I could to deposit it in the bank. I followed the teller's counting and my heart lost a beat. I counted only 62,000. We recounted 3 times and put it through the counting machine but it didn't change. 62,000 only. How he cheated me out of 1,000 I don't know till today.

My chief accountant was a religious man from Bnei Brak called Mordechai. I really liked him. Mordechai was married 17 years and had 16 children. Every time there was a celebration like a Brit or Barmitzva he'd come to ask for a loan. I knew he could never repay (after all I knew what I pay him) but we kept going through the motion. He'd ask for a loan, I'd give it to him and eventually I'd change it to a bonus. One day when he came for a loan I told him "Mordahai stop making children, I can't afford it".

In 1990 when I got in trouble over Ras Car (BMW importer to Israel) I had to sell Sabrilon.


It's Jewish New Year's eve. The roads are backed up with people driving to new year's dinners. Ronit is at Dotan's family and Shelly id hosting her mother. I had a few invitations but I didn't feel like celebrating without my kids so I preferred to stay at home alone. I was trying to contact Zeev on Skype but he is in a meeting and texted me that he'll try to call later. I hope he does. I miss him and his family. Last time I saw them was June when we went to Brighton to a school reunion. Nadav is now almost 9 month old. Hs is probably crawling and standing by now and I missed all that. It makes me sad. I hope I can see him on Skype this evening. I will also try Shie. Zeev is not much of a talker and is always never available on the phone. If I want to know anything about him I need to ask Lisa, his wife.

When he was young he wouldn't shut his mouth. One year we were on a skiing holiday with my brother and sister. Both Zeev and Shula had a bad fall and went to a doctor together. Shula was in agony and Zeev didn't stop chatting until she finally told him "you talk so much you can't be hurting".

In the summer of 1977 (could have been 1978) we went on a 3 week Caravan trip across Scandinavia. We started the trip in England, took a ferry to Norway and continued from there. Vita told me that Zeev is dying to have a conversation with me. There was so much he wanted to talk with me about. So the plan was that she will change places with him and let him sit next to me on the drive out of London. I was to pretend that I know nothing about it.

So we start driving and Zeev comes up front and sits there fidgeting saying nothing. After a few moments he said "so what shall we talk about". The poor boy wanted so much to have a conversation with me and when the time came he froze.

When he grew older we used to have a lot of conversation. I particularly enjoyed speaking with him when he was in the army. He proved to be an interesting, knowledgeable and intelligent young man.

But now at age 44 with four children, it's easier to pull a tooth that to get him to open up. I miss my talks with Zeev and I miss not being part of his life.

When I completed my military service I went to New York University. After being in a controlled environment for the last 8 years (boarding school and army), I was suddenly on my own.

The first few months in NY I was in awe. I'd walk down the streets looking up at the tall buildings and was amazed. But once I got used to them I found that life in the big Apple can be rather lonely although I had some Israeli friends so after a year in NY I came back home and enrolled in Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I rented an apartment with Shlomo Tissone aka Jomo and concentrated on my BP degree. For those of you who are wondering BP means Bachelor of Poker.

Based on my British education and NYU, I was accepted as a foreign student. This meant that I had to take 14 hours of Jewish studies a week, in Hebrew, with a class full on non Hebrew speaking students.

The first day in school I threw my books on a chair and stood at the doorway inspecting the human female scenery when I heard a vice behind me asking "is the … class" ? because of the noise I didn't actually hear what class she referred to. Without hesitation I turned around and said "yes and I saved you a place next to me" and I was looking at the girl who became my wife for 27 years and the mother of my four children.

One day she came to my apartment when I was asleep. When she called, I was so tired that I knew that the only way I'll get out of bed is by throwing the blanket off and jumping out. I slept on my side and I thought I was facing the room but apparently I was facing the wall and all Vita saw was that I suddenly threw the blanket at her and jumped with full force into the wall. As I am writing this I laughing uncontrollably.

So after a few short months I was progressing well on my BP degree but the Jewish studies were too much for me and I dropped out.

At first I started working for an advertising agency. They were mostly interested in my father's contact but after a few months Gibor was established and my father sent me to work at Gibor's first factory in Bnei Brak. The factory manager wasn't thrilled that the boss's son was there and only used me for odd errands when necessary. A few days later, I remember it was a Friday afternoon and my father was resting I told him "I don't want to go back to the factory, they don't give me any work.

My father was a workaholic and his Moto in life was that you live for work. That's hwo we grew up and that's what I have become.

Shie was born on February 12, 1972. When he was just a few month old Vita went to England on holiday. I was to move in to my parents with Zeev and the baby. The evening before she flew I vomited very very badly. I have never vomited like that before or after. For a moment she thought of cancelling but I woke up feeling OK so I took her to the airport and deposited the kids at my mother. Coming back from the airport I felt a little dizzy so I decided not to go to work. Everyone new I will be spending the next few days at my parents so I decided to go home to rest for a few hours undisturbed. After I rested a little I felt well but decided not to go to work and instead I went to the golf course. I took some balls and went down to the driving range and suddenly felt dizzy again. I managed to run up and fall into a chair before passing out. Everyone there was very worried about me but after resting a little I felt I was ok and drove home to my parents place. I had tickets to the gala performance of the Godfather but I decided that I don't want to have crowds around me and gave the tickets to my mother. Later own that evening I had to take a shit and to my horror what came out was black like tar. I immediately realized that I had heavy internal bleeding. This explained why I felt ok when I rested but dizzy when I tried to do anything. I drove to see my family doctor, he lived on the third floor with no elevator and it took my something like 15 minutes to get to him. I had to sit on the stairs after each floor to regain my strength. After a quick inspection he wanted to call an ambulance and send me to Ichilov hospital. But with Vita in England and my mother with Marlon Brando I refused and after some argument we compromised and I agreed to go on my own to Assuta private hospital later on after my mother came back from the movie. He called ahead and made all the necessary arrangements.

I was diaogized as having a perforated ulcers and I lost 6 pints of blood. That's half the blood in a human body. The doctor told me that should I have waited till the morning they would have been fighting for my life. They put me on a blood transfusion ending surgery the next morning. Vita was of course called back. In the morning the doctors decided to wait with the surgery and see if the bleeding would stop, so I was supposed to stay in bad with minimum movement and when I needed to go to the bathroom they brought me a bottle or potty. Soon I became allergic to the blood and I itched all over my body.

As I explained earlier, once I was rested I felt OK and I am lying in bed feeling perfectly healthy and itching all over. The bleeding stopped and surgery was not needed but I did a lot of thinking about my life style and whether it was all worth it.

So I came in to the hospital believing that you live for work and came out a week later a strong believer that you work to live, and this is how I've lived ever since.

7.9.2013 am

Shelly had loose kneecaps. She'd stand and suddenly her kneecap would pop out of place and she'd fall in agony. When she was about 10 years old we decided to operate on her knees. The operation involved drilling a hole through her kneecaps, cutting one side of a ligament at the back of her leg, threading it through the hole and tying it up. The idea was that it will keep the kneecaps in place. The operation was done one knee at a time.

Shelly's reaction to the anesthetic was hilarious. She behaved like a drunk for a couple of days. She was in a cast for six weeks and was moved around on a wheel chair.

We didn't want to scar her for life, so we brought in a plastic surgeon to assist sew her up. It didn't work, she is scarred.

Not only is she scarred but she is in constant pain. For the last couple of month she has been limping badly and even walking to the bathroom is something she is dreading. The prognosis is that eventually she would need to have her kneecaps changed.

I don't know how she would have been had we not operated on her, but seeing how she suffers, this is probably the biggest regret in my life.

All four children were Cesarean. Zeev was an emergency C-cut after 18 hours of hard labor. With Shie she tried to give natural birth but after a few hours gave up. The girls were planned Cesarean.

When I saw Zeev for the first time it was like looking in one of those mirrors in the fair that distorts the image. I looked at him and saw myself but smaller. Apparently he suffered a tiny cut during the operation and had a band aid on his forehead. On this small face it looked huge. At the time, husbands could not be present at birth and the babies were kept at the nursery with limited visiting hours. When the babies were brought to be fed all visitors including fathers had to get out. There was a window where you could see the babies in their cribs but when you wanted to see yours the nurse would pick him up and bring him to a small window.

Like I said the resemblance Zeev had to me was so amazing that the nurses tried to fool me and show me other babies when I visited, but I recognized him and always caught them. It was fun though. When Micky Gillerman saw Zeev for the first time his said "I would have recognized him in a stadium with 50,000 people".

When I saw Shie for the first time I said "I've seen this one already, show me the new one". He was a copy of Zeev. As if they were identical twins. And this happened again when Shelly was born.

Ronit looked totally different as a baby but as she grew up she started looking like Shelly. When she was about 3 or 4 years old she saw a picture of Shelly at that age and she thought it was her. When we told her it was Shelly she started crying.

Ronit was allergic to almost everything. She had asthma and there was a whole list of foods including dairy products, food dyes, tomatoes, sesame products and more. Imagine growing up without chocolate or ice cream. She was allowed a sorbet with no food dyes and we had a swimming pool were we lived with a little cafe She'd use to go there and ask "may I please have the ice cream that I am allowed". They knew her and knew what to give her.

The factory arranged a weekend for the workers and there was a completion for the kids and she won. The prize was a bar of chocolate. When they gave it she said she wasn't allowed. They didn't realize it was a health problem, they thought we were just being strict so they said, "it's ok, you parents will allow it this time" to which she started crying.

One day we found a stack of chocolate and sweets wrappers in the drawer in her desk. I don't know what made me more mad, the fact that she was risking her life or the fact that she hid it in such an easy place to find.

We had a large tank of oxygen at home and a couple of portable once. On every school of scouts trip, I'd come along with the oxygen ready to give it to her at a moment's notice, and unfortunately I did.

When she had an acute attack she would get a steroid injection and this gave her instant relief. I remember at least twice that she was so short of breath I was afraid I won't reach the doctor in time.

We even tried and old Russian remedy and injected her with our blood.

As she grew older she has gotten over it but she still has a problem with cats and other things.
Zeev was born on 6 December 1968. When he was 6 weeks old we moved to Kiryat Shmona. We had an apartment of 52 sq. m (that's about 500 sq. foot) including a small balcony and I felt that if I only had 6 more sq.m it would be plenty. Years later we had an apartment where the living room was 55 sq.m and I felt that if I only had 6 more sq.m it would be plenty.
We moved to Kityat Shmona to work in the new Gibor panty hose factory. I was appointed as manager of the dyeing and boarding plant.
After my father told me off when I complained I was not given any work in the Bnei Brak I went back and started looking for work. I saw some cartons thrown around. Upon investigation I discovered they contained raw hosiery that was sent from our associated company in France to be dyed and boarded by us.
Boarding is the process where we give the hosiery the shape of a leg. We pull them on aluminum boards that go into a team chamber for about 90 seconds and because nylon has the property of "remembering" Its shape when hot, that's how they get their shape.
I realized nobody recorded those cartons and nobody knew what and how many there were. So appointed myself as storeroom manager. I cleared a space, had it locked up and devised a system to record everything that came in and out.
Soon the machines were operational and it was necessary to start production. So I started planning production runs based on hosiery style and color. So now I was store room manger and production planner. Soon, I also became production manager in charge of all matters to do with production. The factory itself was rented inside a textile dyeing factory and at first they did the dyeing and we did the boarding. In time we started dyeing on our own. The biggest boarding factory in Israel had two machines. We had a couple of dozen machines.

By now I was the only person in Israel with the know how of running this kind of operation. And so when it was decided that Gibor will have a dyeing and boarding plant in Kiryat Shmona it was only natural that I would manage it.

There were two notable incidents I remember from Bnei Brak.one tragic and the other funny.
We had a mechanic, who was a dancer and belonged to a dance group. He was a friend from the army. One day one of the boarding machines got stuck and steam came rushing out with a loud hiss. So he kicked the hinge to free it. It did the job, the chamber locked with his foot inside.
The other incident was funny. By now I had all these responsibilities and I needed an assistant so I advertised. One morning there was a knock on the door and a girl came in. she was short, not more than 155 and the biggest breasts I've ever seen. After catching my breath is said "can I help you" she said "I came about the job" to which I answered "you've got it". After all I am human.
She turned out to be fantastic and eventually became manager of production planning for all Gibor with 40 people reporting to her.
So back to Kiryat Shmona. My plant had about 150 workers. This was traditionally a girls job but we couldn't find enough girls so we recruited Druze men from the Golan height. They were rough men with rough hands working in the field all their lives and they kept tearing the delicate hosiery. We needed to find a way to soften their hands so I brought in a manicurist one day, put her in the middle of the plant and sat down having treat my hands. This of course brought giggles from everyone but it quickly stopped when she finished with me and I got up pointed at the nearest guy and said you are next. I think I am the only guy in the world who had Druze men have a manicure.
The year was 1969 which was a record year as far as Katusha rockets being shot at us from Lebanon I was a heavy sleeper and didn't hear the bombarding at night and I made a friend of mine promise to knock on the door until I wake up any time there is a bombardment. In the early morning we'd sit on the stairs leading to the house and watch the air force flying along the main street below enemy radar. They were so low and so close we could actually see the pilot's faces. It was like watching a war movie. We'd just sit there and watch.
One evening we went to Kfar Bloom for dinner. It was a 10 minute drive. Zeev stayed home with a baby sitter. As we sat down to eat I heard a faint explosion in the distance. I went outside and could see blue and red lights of police and fire trucks in Kiryat Shmona. I got into the car and flew home. I must have done it in three minutes. Probably a world record. As I tried to turn into my street, I was stopped by the police. The rocket exploded just there, about a 100 meters from home. I turned around and drove in from the other side. Zeev was in the air raid shelter with the baby sitter. I took them both and hurried back to Kfar Bloom which was out of range. Luckily they have a little hotel there and we stayed the night.
My given name is Israel but I have always known myself as Izi. I've had many examples when I was approached as Israel and didn't answer or put down the phone, not realizing they meant me. On the door to the apartment we our name plate which said Vita and Israel. One day a new neighbor came up the steps as I was walking out and she said "excuse me Israel.." I continued walking not realizing she was talking to me. I was only when I got to my car that the penny dropped and I chased back to explain to her the situation.
Many years later I had to renew my passport. While there I inquired about a name change. Apparently it was no problem. I had to fill a form, pay a fee and that's it. So I changed my name from Israel Rozow to Izi Israel Rozow. I didn't want to give up the name my parents gave me, especially that I am named after my mother's father so I left it as a middle name but now I am officially Izi.


I was always interested in cars and I have a lot of car stories still to come. Someone once said that when and ordinary person cuts himself he bleeds blood, when Izi cuts himself he bleeds petrol.

While living in Kiryat Shmona I bought a Pontiac GTO 1969. One of the last American "muscle" cars. It had a huge 8 cylinder engine with more power than Schwarzenegger and Stallone put together. Zero to sixty was near zero and when you put tour foot down yours eyes almost popped out. The tachometer was on the hood and the whole car had just the right amount of curves. Like I said a classic. A beauty.

I imported the car myself and went down to Ashdod to take delivery. On way back home I was stopped by a policeman after being followed for miles. He came up to my window and apologized. "I am sorry, he said, I couldn't stop myself. What car is this"?

When I got home to Kiryat Shmona there were some kids playing in the street. I know it’s hard to believe but there was a time when kids used to actually play in the street. On seeing the car they came running in amazement. Wow, what is it made of ? from a tank said one boy. No, from an airplane said another. (Mine was white but I this is the best picture I found).

The drive from Kiryat Shmona to Tel-Aviv averaged two and a quarter hours for the average driver. There was a bunch of us who tried to do it in under two hours. We had lots of fun and lots of passengers who got car sick in the winding roads leading to and fro lake Kineret. There was a small airport near Rosh Pina where top management usually used to visit the factory. It was about half an hour short of Kiryat Shmona, in other words about one and half hour of fast driving from Tel-Aviv. The Flight time from Tel-Aviv was one hour. One day I dropped my father off at Tel-Aviv airport about 15 minutes prior to take off and I took off north. I arrived at the airport to pick up my father just as they touched down.


In spite of the bombing I loved my time in Kiryat Shmona. Apparently the feeling was mutual. There was an important trade fare in the USA which I went to. When I came back 10 days later a couple of the girls came in to my office to welcome me in the name of everyone in the plant. They handed me a huge box of chocolate and to it was attached a single record – To Sir with Love.

I was very touched.

Even today when I have an occasion of going through Kiryat Shmona I get emotional. It's like coming home.

We stayed in Kiryat Shmona for less than a year. At the beginning of the academic year I went to the city of Leicester Polytechnic for textile studies.

I was replaced by Shuni Geler.

Shuni was six weeks younger than me and I knew him from the day he was born. We were born in the same place, ran away from Russia together and came to Israel together. He was like a brother to me. As a teenager, when I came home for summer holidays from Brighton I used to hang around with Shuni and his bunch.

At that time the latest music came to Israel with a couple of years delay. There was one station in Jordan Radio Ramallah that broadcasted the latest music from the world. Before coming home I made sure I restocked with all the latest records and brought them to our parties, a fact that made me very popular here in Israel.

One Friday evening we went to a party. On the way back 7 of us took a cab. We had long cabs in Israel with a folding middle seat that could have 7 passengers. I was sitting in the middle seat pressed to the door holding my records in my hands. Seat belts were not invented yet. The car entered a roundabout, the door opened from the pressure and suddenly I found myself flying outside and rolling like Rambo.

The taxi stopped immediately and I could hear the girls screaming in horror. Everyone came running and I stood up totally dazed and asked "where are my records" ?. To that they didn't know whether to cry, laugh or just kick me in the butt. I was the only calm person in the area. We recovered the records all undamaged but one that broke. A song I loved called Passion flower. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9jNKTjFWo8

Life went on and we each followed our own destinies. Many years later I was talking to a mutual friend and he mentioned something about Shuni having a heart attack. I immediately called Shuni. He was recovering at home. He had a massive heart attack and barley survived. I said I'll visit in the weekend and hung up. After a few minutes I thought to myself "what do you mean weekend. This is my brother" and I got into my car and went to visit. There was someone visiting when I arrived and Shuni looked so bad I couldn't recognize him and wasn't sure who is who. We spent a couple of hours together talking about his health and reminiscing about the past. I left promising to visit on a regular basis.

That night he died.

It was as if he waited for me to say goodbye.
This reminds me of another touching incident.

When I was the BMW importer in Israel I had a call from the Hospice in Shiba hospital at Tel Hashomer. They had a patient dying of cancer whose last dream was to go for a ride in a white BMW. He only had a few more days to live.

I took a white BMW 735, the most prestigious model we had at the time and I sent one of the managers to take him for a ride.

He lived in Ashkelon and was a garbage man. He was driven to his neighborhood, sitting in the back like a big boss with a chauffeur saying hello to all his friend. He said it was the happiest day in his life (which of course it wasn't but seemed like that at the moment). The next day he passed away.



Doberman is one of the most ferocious dog species on the planet. It used by many law enforcement agencies as a guard and/or attack dog. One such law enforcement agency is the Vienna police. They have trained Doberman attack dogs. Killer dogs. One of the dogs was involved in a shootout and a bullet grazed its head. Since then he panicked at any loud sharp sound and was no good as a police dog anymore. The Vienna police decided to give him away and an Israeli medical student in Vienna was now the proud owner of Ali the Doberman. Dobermans are usually slim dogs. Ali was built like a Great Dane. He had the height of a Doberman but the width of a Great Dane. In other words he was huge.

Coming to the last year of med studies he decided he is not going to have time for the dog and so in the summer holiday he brought the home to Israel and planned for his parents to keep the dog. But his parents wanted nothing to do with the beast and he advertised to sell the dog. My brother bought it.

Every day for two month my brother went to spend time with the dog. At first he and the owner took the dog for a walk together and gradually as the dog became used to my brother he started taking him on his own. After two month the dog came home. For the first few weeks the dog was locked in Haim's room and every time he wanted to take him out he'd yell and we'd lock ourselves in our room, until the dog learned to know us and was no longer a threat.

My sister used to come visit with her baby Ran. She'd put the baby to sleep in one of the rooms and as soon as she came out the dog lay down outside the door guarding the baby. No one except Shula or Haim could enter the room.

Ali hated cats. Actually he probably loved them because he ate up any cat he could catch. Whenever he saw a cat he'd go crazy.

I had a friend Reuven Katz. Reuven came over one day and I was on the balcony with the dog. In school we used to call each other by our family name and when I saw Reuven I said hi Katz. Now we have to go back to the Austrian origin of the Doberman. In German cat is katz. When the dog heard me saying katz he thought I told him I saw a cat and he jumped out of the balcony into the garden looking for a cat.

We had a party and blew some balloons in preparation. One balloon burst. On hearing the explosion the fierce animal hightailed under the table shaking uncontrollably.

Yasha is afraid of dogs. Yasha is afraid of toy dogs. One day on the way home from the army with Yasha a passenger in the front seat, we met Haim in Tel-Aviv.

Haim and Ali !

This is when we brought Ali home to Herzelia for the first time. Haim held Ali in the back seat. Yasha and I in the front seat.

Ali looked at us ready to eat.

We looked at Ali ready to be eaten.

I moved myself so close to the steering wheel that I think I drove with my chest. Yasha was glued to the windshield. This was probably the longest 15 minutes in my life and I think we both broke the world record in holding one's breath.


In addition to summer holiday we had a 3 week break at Christmas and Easter. The rule was go home or stay at school. But rules are made to be broken, so we broke them.

So one Christmas holiday Yasha and I rented a two room apartment. It was actually one big room separated by a curtain.

Money was scarce and the little we had was dedicated to the Jazz club (that was the name of the club we used to go dancing. It has nothing to do with Jazz) and we could spare any for such trivialities as food. One night we sneaked into the school kitchen and stole some food but that sustained us for only so long and we were hungry again. The way we tolerated the hunger is by staying in bed all day and partying at night. One day we stayed in bed as usual when Yasha suddenly jumped "I've go it". I thought I had Archimedes II in my flat who has just come up with another revolutionary discovery that would change the world forever, but no, that wasn't it. Yasha jumped out of bed, went to the kitchen closet and retrieved some bottles. He threw something over his pajamas and ran to the grocery store where he returned the bottles and with the deposit he claimed he brought back some dry rolls. One of the best gourmet meals I've ever had.

One day Eli Mordechai was sitting in the Andes while a gust was eating spaghetti. Eli drooled over the spaghetti and a few moments after the gust left the waiter came with a plate of spaghetti for Eli. Apparently the gust saw the way Eli looked at the food so he bought him a plate when leaving.

Sadly Eli is no longer with us. He was killed in a plane crush on his return trip to Milan from the Far East.

What does a sane person do when he wants to tan. Probably go to the beach. What's in the beach ? first, salt water. Second sun cream.

And so Izhak Djamal wanted to tan on the loan in school. Armed with the above logic, he took a bucket of water and poured salt in it. Not having any sun cream he decided that hair cream will do the job and so he put hair cream on his body and poured salty water on himself and lay down on the loan. He wasn't alone. He convinced Eli Mordechai to join him and so the two morons lay on the lawn trying to catch the sun.

Izhak Djamal got tanned. Eli Mordechai got burned. Burned with blisters. We was lying in bed unable to move. You couldn't touch him. The slightest most gentle touch was agonizing. So he was agonizing in bed and we kept him company. We had locker fixed on the walls. From the top of the locker next to Eli's bed an electric cable was hanging lose and Eli was fiddling with the plug. At some point he was curious to see what was on the other side of the cable and he gave it a yank. Down came a cine projector straight on Eli's blisters. Up cam Eli flying as the projector hit him in excruciating pain.

Back to the apartment Yasha and I rented. One day a 16 year old girl we picked up came to visit. She wanted to be nice and make us tea. She boiled the kettle and started looking for tea. We only had the newest thing, tea bags. She has never seen them before and didn't know what to do with them. Finally she put them in the kettle.

Christmas eve as you know is on the 24th. new year's eve is on the 31st and in between is my birthday on the 27th. This was an excellent opportunity to celebrate them all together and have a party starting Christmas eve and going on nonstop until New year. The music played continuously, the front door was open and people came in and out for the whole week. On one of the days I got drunk. That was when I started and stopped drinking. I tried it again a couple of times, but they say that alcohol is an acquired taste and I never managed to acquire it. When we go out and everyone drinks and gets happy I get into the mood without the help of alcohol. The joke is that my friends drink and I get drunk. So we all have a great time but I am the only one who remembers it the next morning.


In 1979 I bought my second Ford Mustang. I had a choice of engines and I opted for the latest technology of a turbo charged 4 cylinders engine. It turned out that as mistake as far as the power plant was concerned. There just wasn't any but I thought it was a beautiful car and I liked it.

One day I found a note on my windshield from the editor of the only automotive magazine "Turbo" requesting a test drive on the car. I called the number and agreed to the test drive provided I'd be present. That's how I became friends with Roni Aharonvich.

In 1984 Roni had a disagreement with the owners of Turbo, resigned and was looking for investors to publish a new automotive monthly magazine. I recruited Danny Fromchenko. Danny and I brought the money and the shares were split 3 ways between Danny Roni and me. My main motivation for publishing was to create a job for Vita. She became in charge of selling advertising space and I became general manager.

We had a lot of fun at Auto magazine. I participated in dozens if not hundreds of road tests of some of the most exiting cars in the world. I went to the Geneva, Frankfurt & Paris motor show as a journalist spending two days of being chased, fed and sucked up to by the press officers of the car manufacturers.

In May 1987 (or 1998) we went to the Monte Carlo grand prix. With the press id around our necks we were free to roam around at will. Obviously we mingled with the drivers and teams and went to press conferences. There was a press conference with Nigel Mansell and a reporter asked "Nigel, what about the tires". Rain was expected and what he meant was to ask whether dry or wet tires would be used. But the way the questions was worded, Nigel put on a serious face and said "well, they are round and black".

On practice day we stood leaning on the barrier opposite the casino as the cars were making the right turn. We could feel the barrier vibrating as the cars came within a couple of inches. Some even touched and we jumped back. There was one car who hit the same spot lap after lap, millimeters from the barrier. It was Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest driver ever. Standing there watching the precision in which he drove, we could understand why he won as much as he did.

On race day Roni suggested we stand at the first corner to see the cars coming straight at us. Most accidents in Formula one happen in the first corner. Just as the race was about to start we were told to move away. It was too dangerous. We started walking up towards the casino. The pavement there is very narrow and they only put a very low barrier along the road. As we were walking up the hill to the casino the warm up lap started and 24 1000 BHP monsters came up the hill with engines roaring. It was one of the most frightening experiences in my life.

After one year as general manager, Danny replaced me as general manager of Auto magazine, a position he still holds today. I continued to be on staff, participated in test drives, interviewed police and government officials and for the first time in my life wrote in a magazine. I had my own monthly column which concentrated on the economic aspects of the motor world and on road fatalities. Or rather how to avoid them.

In time Roni fought with Danny over advertising policy. He claimed that Danny allowed advertising income to influence the editorial policy. This was the reason he left Turbo and now he thought he was facing the same thing. It wasn't exactly black and white as he claimed but he left the magazine and started a long period of law suits against Danny. Some years later as a result of my economic collapse I sold my share of the magazine to Danny.

Mislaying children
We had a woman helping with the kids and housework. One late afternoon I came home from work and the house is suspiciously quite. Where are Shie & Shelly I ask and she says "went to a movie". What ???!!!!!!!!!!! who with ? "Alone" came the answer. Now I am relaxed, after all an 8 year old taking his 5 year old sister to a movie is a normal everyday occurrence, isn't it.
No, of course it isn't and my heart is now somewhere in the vicinity of my toes. "How could you let them go alone ?" I ask. Shie said you gave him permission she answered. What movie, which cinema ? but she didn't know. I am out of my mind and I don't know what to do. I am about to call the police when the intercom buzzes. A good woman found two crying kids in the street and brought them home.
Apparently Shie took Shelly, hopped on a bus and went to see a movie. After the movie they took the same bus but to the wrong direction. After realizing they were lost they got off the bus and just stood in the street crying.
When Vita and I split, the girls came with me. Ronit was in high school and quite a handful. Her room was a mess & I couldn't get her to clean it up. The bed and the floor served as a cupboard. It's a pity I didn't know before hand, I would not have bought one (just kidding). Her solution was to sleep in the living room.
I used to have terrible fight with her about the hours she came back home when she went out in the evening. Finally I gave up and made a new rule. Ronit would decide what time she would come home and keep to it. I called it the "when should I start to get worried time". Whatever time she said I had an internal clock and I woke up to check on her and she always came on time.
One evening she went out and said she will be back at 3am. So at 3am sharp I woke up and went to the living room to check on her. The lady is not there. Ten minutes pass, fifteen, thirty, and she is not back. I am starting to get worried but whom do I call at 3:30 am? At about 4 am I start pacing the house. By now I am panicking. I walk into her room and back to the living room and back to her room. After about an hour, on one of my visits to her room I feel more then hear a movement. I put the lights on and there under a huge pile of her cloth Ronit is sleeping like a baby.
She came back at midnight and for no reason decided to sleep in her own room.
Shelly reminded me yesterday of a story that I now vaguely remember. Apparently she went out, came back and sat for a couple of hours with her friends in the lobby of our apartment house while I was dying 10 floors above.
When Zeev was just two and a bit we lived in Hong Kong and traveled to Seoul Korea where we had a factory.
We were having a lunch at one of the biggest hotels in Seoul. There were quite a few of us. I was sitting across from Vita. Zeev was next to me and at some point I told him to go to Vita.
After a few moments I noticed Zeev is not with Vita. He disappeared. Zeev was a beautiful light haired baby and was an attraction in Korea and I was afraid e was kidnapped. Ran out to try and spot him and Vita continued the search in the hotel. It was a huge hotel with a huge convention center. Vita finally found him wondering in the convention center.

Back at the sixties we had news theaters in England. A news theater was a cinema that had an hour's program. About 15 minutes were a news reel and the rest was cartoons. We loved it. The back few rows had double seats. Lovers seats. We used to meet girls there and …. This is not 50 shades of grey so I will skip implicit descriptions. Any way one day I went to the news theater when I shouldn't and met a girl and my hands … this is not 50 shades of grey so I will skip implicit descriptions. Anyway I had to be back in school for lunch and we were allowed to go out after lunch. It must have been a Sunday because this was the day we were allowed out. And so I left her and we made a date for a couple of hours later at the clock tower (in central Brighton) which was by the news theater. Right on schedule I was there but she didn't show up. I stood there waiting for about half an hour. Next to me was a woman wearing a beige raincoat and holding a couple of grocery bags. I didn't pay much attention to her. She was not good looking (and that is the understatement of the 60's) and she must have 10 – 15 years older than me. After about half an hour of waiting the woman suddenly turned to me and asked "are you Izi". Oh my god. I said no and got the hell out of there.

I think Alex Becker arrived in school in 1959. I was there already for a couple of years. We wore school uniforms (of course) and Alex had to go to town to buy them. I, with my kind heart, volunteered to take him there. The school uniform was bought at Horne's Brothers which was situated right by the clock tower. Do you remember from the previous chapter what was next to the clock tower ? don't bother with the math, the news theater. Anyway Alex and I hopped on the number 19 bus to the clock tower. At that time the buses in England had no doors, instead they had an opening at the back left corner with a pole to hold on to and people would get on and off in traffic lights or if the bus went really slowly.
At the clock tower the bus made a right turn and slowed down. The bus stop was a few hundred yards further on and we'd jump off when the bus slowed down for the turn.
When we got to the clock tower and slowed down I told Alex lets jump and I did. Alex, on his first day in Brighton has never jumped off a moving vehicle and hesitated. By the time he made up his mind the bus accelerated and he couldn't jump off.
So here is a 15-16 year old alone on a bus in strange country with no clue to where he is. I had no choice and I started chasing the bus. I think on that day I would have out ran Usain Bolt. And so I reached the bus stop breathless and Alex and I started walking back towards the shop. For what I was about to do I had to make sure that no familiar face would spot us and so as we walked I scanned the street carefully.
As I said Horne's brothers were just by the clock tower and so was the news theater. In fact it was the next entrance. And so as Alex was about to enter the shop and I was satisfied there were no "hostiles" I pulled Alex and in we went to the news theater. An hour later we walked into Horne's Brothers and bought Alex his school uniform.
And so on his very first day in school I made Alex a "criminal".

Sadly Alex's heart gave up on him and he is no longer with us. Alex was on of the most popular boys in school. He was a good student, an outstanding athlete, a sense of humor and mostly he was a good friend. I am sure I will write much more about Alex.

When I was with Auto magazine I found out that Ras Car Ltd., the importer of BMW to Israel was for sale. I bought controlling interests in the company. It was 1987. When I took over the company was selling about 700 cars a year. Profit margin was under price control. We were allowed to have a maximum margin of 14% of the car's price before tax. The taxes totaled to about 137% of the cars price and so our profit margin was less than 6% of the retail price. Commissions to dealers ran between 1-1.5% so that left even less. It was difficult to run a business under those circumstances.
The big earner for car importers were spare parts. But when you sell just a few hundred cars a year, spare parts are not a big business.
I have made a few "firsts" in the Israeli automotive market. Some small some major. At that time car salespeople use to come to work wearing jeans and a tee shirt. I made them wear uniforms, and so in all BMW showrooms in the country they all wore the same and they looked smart. Another thing I did was change the sales people salary structure to include a minimum guaranteed base salary plus a commission for every car they sold. This was also the first time sales people in the car business worked on commission. Previously when a customer came into the showroom, nobody moved. In fact they each tried to have someone else look after the customer. Once I added a commission they started fighting for the customers. At the time warranty for all cars in Israel was just one year. Volvo had a total hold of the military handicapped people. I started looking into this market. It turned out that they are entitled change cars without paying taxes every 42 month. In order to attract this market segment I offered them 42 month warranty and free scheduled services. Now of course the standard warranty period is between 3- years. I also noticed that our customer service department was arguing constantly with customers. When I asked why I was told the customers are trying to take advantage on us and ask for things they are not entitled to. I immediately overturned this policy and we started believing the customers and solving their problems. I also appointed myself as an ombudsman and so all complaints came to my attention and I could make sure the customers were satisfied with the service they received. Another major step I took was extending car loans from one year to five years. At the time one year was the best you could get and the banks were unhappy even with that. I negotiated with the banks to allow three and even five years' loans but to no avail. They wouldn't hear of it. So I decided to extend loans from our own funds. The problem was collections. I didn't want to set up a collection organization. It's costly, it's complicated, it's not part of our business line and I don't know how to do it. So I went to Diners club and made a deal. Anyone who wanted a loan would get a Diners credit card (provided they qualified) and Diners were in charge of all the administration from issuing the loan to collection, repossession if necessary and legal action. I guaranteed the loans in case of default so I didn't even need to reach into our own pockets for the initial funds, and to the best of my memory we never had even one bad loan. The loans were for five years with an escape close two and a half years. Not only was this the first time anyone offered a five year auto loan. It was the first time you could buy a car with a credit card. In addition we also gave trade-in opportunities. Another "first". We were the only automobile importer who had an in house trade-in operation.
Within three years sales went from 700 hundred cars a year to 2,000.
With the increase of sales came a huge increase in expenses/investments. We needed better facilities both in the show room and in the central workshop. We also needed to increase our spare parts inventory.
Then trouble began.
First BMW announced that it would stop producing the 1.6 liter engine which was our main seller. Second there was a model change and we were not going to have cars to sell for a few month. Based on that I decided to go into the taxi market. That was a big mistake. It turned out that the BMW diesel engine was not designed to run continuously around the clock with the air conditioner on. We sold some 50 taxis and they were in constant need of repair. Major repair. This was not only a question of costs but also of management attention and time.
And if this wasn't enough BMW has converted all its cars from carburetors to fuel injectors. The Israeli fuel clogged the injectors and the cars just kept coming in for service, free service, again and again. Our monthly income in the workshop went down from about half a million Shekels to fifty thousand while the number of daily visit to the workshop doubled from an average of 25 a day to 50. In addition we had to compensate the dealers who had the same problem. BMW who were always wonderful in marketing support refused to help claiming this was the Israeli fuel problem and not their fault. BMW has always been notorious in denying technical problems.
Soon the information of the problems became public knowledge and the cars got a reputation of being a "lemon". Sales dropped to almost zero. We were stuck with inventory we had to get rid of so we dropped prices and increased advertising. This didn't help our frail financial situation.
So we were in a crises and our crises management sucked.
By early 1990 it was evident that I will not be able to save the company and I started negotiations to sell it.
At the time I had about a hundred employees and I didn't know if I would be able to pay their salaries. Once a week I gathered them and gave them a full and open situation status. I urged them to go find other employment as I could not guarantee their salary but they said we are not leaving you in this situation and they stuck with me until finally by mid 1990 all negotiation to sell the company failed and the company collapsed.
Trying to stand up to all the liabilities I sold all my assets including apartment, savings, pension, car and paid as many debts as I could. I insisted I keep $ 100,000 starting money so I can rent an apartment for my family. Other than that I was cleaned out, unemployed and in a deep depression.


As difficult as times were I could not have been more proud and appreciative of the behavior of the employees.

I have always taken care to be available to my employees at all time. I've learned from my father that when coming to work in the morning, never to go directly to my office but rather come in through the shop floor. In many instances we worked 3 shifts and I'd walk along the lines early in the morning, talking to the workers, joking with them and mainly listening. Payback was always rewarding, like the record To Sir With Love I received in Kiryat Shmona or the way my employees stood with me in the BMW business.

If there is one thing I want to leave behind is that when seeking a career, always remember that you are never alone in the world. There are always two groups of people that are instrumental in everything you do. Your employees / fellow workers and your customers. Without them you are nothing.
Love them, respect them, show them you care. Be one of them, talk to them, listen to them. You will not always be able to help or solve problems but let them know, let them feel deep inside that you care and that you are bleeding with them.
Some people think the way to success is ruthlessness cold heart. Maybe they are right after all I went bust so I probably did thing wrongly. But if I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same.

In my present line of work, once the project starts, it is the users and managers that are my "customers". I bring change. People hate change. They are used to the old ways, they know the old ways, they think the old ways are the only way and they are afraid the change will cost them their jobs. I listen to them, I talk to them, I joke with them and I "sell" them my way (shall I start singing now?). just a week ago in one of my projects where we implemented the software in a Belgium subsidiary we had a video conference with Belgium. They were complaining that they need more training and we said OK, we'll schedule remote training sessions. The answer was "but we don't want Arie involved". Arie is a colleague with 17 years' experience. That's more than me. He knows his stuff but he has no respect to his "customers" and managed to alienate them. The back fire was quick and harsh.
Back to school. When I first arrived to England I didn't know a word. Noting. Nada. Not even good morning. But at 13 years old you pick up a language quickly. At least you think so.
When someone had to go to the toilet, he'd raise his hand (when we were in class) and say "may I please be excused" or simply "excuse me".

One day I was taken to a clinic for some medical checks. While in the waiting room I needed to pee. I couldn't see any doors with a sig so I had to ask. The only problem was that the only person to ask was the receptionist sitting just opposite me. You remember I wrote I was shy and to ask a woman such an intimate thing … well I was contemplating suicide. Well suicide was no option so it was ask the woman or wet yourself so I went up to her and in a whisper said "where is the excuse please" "The what" ? she asked. "The excuse" I repeated my face turning dark red and my hart sliding down. And the stupid ignorant woman continues "the what" ? what's wrong with her, doesn't she speak English ? why is she making me say the explicit word. And so with tears in my eyes I said the toilet.

Vita and I separated on February 19th 1995. One day after our 27th wedding anniversary. The boys were not living at home at the time and the girls were almost 20 years old (Shelly) and 15 years old (Ronit). When we told them we are splitting they asked "what about us". They were old enough to make their own decisions and so I said whatever you want. To that Shelly said one of the smartest sentences ever "Don't leave such a decision to us". I realized at that moment that I told them to choose between their father and mother. So I answered, then you are with me and that was that.
I rented an apartment in Givataim across the street from Ronit's school.
I decided to make the place a home for the girls and the first item on the agenda was to learn to cook. I bought a cook book and started reading. It didn't take me long to understand that although I am a resourceful person capable of many things, cooking is beyond me. So if you want an omelet, a boiled egg or the best Tehina in the world, I am your man. Anything else you better have the number of the nearest takeout service. OK, I can cut a salad too but that's it !

One night I dreamt I was back at school. The dream was so real I could feel, smell and taste the school. I walked around going into classrooms, our dormitory, the showers, the loan, I was everywhere. And t felt like I was really there although the school itself was destroyed a long time before and a residential neighborhood was built there.
I walk up in the morning with a smile and I was happy and even elated for days. On April 30th that year there was a school reunion in London. I couldn't afford to go but I just had to. It has become the most important thing in my life. A couple of friends gave up some frequent travelers point and I shared a hotel room with another friend and so I went to London.
The experience was outstanding. I met people who I haven't seen since I left school in 1962. The amazing thing is that when we meet it seems like the conversation just takes off from 30 years ago. We lough, we joke we tell stories as if we have been in close contact all the time.
Mino Naim, a boy from Libya came in. Mino is a big guy. Half his body is paralyzed but he is as strong as an ox. When Mino saw me we hugged and he started saying again and again "Izi, my baby. Izi, my baby" we sat in the lobby of the hotel holding hands like a pair of queers and Mino just mumbling "Izi, my baby".
Mino told us of the most horrifying experience he went through in Libya. He went back to Libya in the vain hope that he would salvage some of the family's assets. Instead he was arrested charged with some bogus charge and sentenced to death. He was taken out to the yard to the firing squad seven times. Everyone around him was shot but he was spared. They were trying to play with his mind. They didn't know that all whittingehameians are already crazy and you can't get them crazier than that.
I Had a funny experience in that reunion. Night after night. I mean it didn't sound funny at the time, but now looking back I think it's hilarious.

Every evening we went out to eat in large groups. 30 or so to a group. As I said before my financial situation was below sucked and when the menu came I looked for the cheapest item and ordered it. Then came the check and we all share equally. I could have had a fantastic meal. The next evening I was in a dilemma. I thought, what if tonight they decide to pay individually. So gain I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu and again we shared. Bummer!
One of the guys Danny Hassidoff came with his amazingly beautiful wife Zehavit and her sister. The sister was a rather heavily built lady with a face of an angel and good humor. I assumed that if a girl comes with her sister and no mate, she is single and available and I gave it a shot. It turned out she was married. We became friends for a short while and I even visited their farm and met her husband and a beautiful little daughter. The beautiful little girl grew up to become a beautiful women and one of the worlds' super models – Bar Refali.


I haven't written for about a week now and I miss it. I enjoy the stories and naturally most are good and amusing memories. Most, not all, I do have some memories I would rather forget, some I already wrote about, others will find their way to this project. But all in all I still believe that 99.9% of the world population would gladly change with me and have my life including the bad parts.

Anyway, I have a good excuse for not writing the last few days. I met an exceptional woman, Dalia, and I am trying to spend every minute I have with her. If you'd have asked me a week ago what am I looking for in a woman I would have detailed a list of traits. Intelligent, sense of humor, sensitive, bla la bla. Now the list is much easier to write. Just one word says it all. Dalia.

Last night we went to Jomo for a get together. I thought I was bringing Dalia to meet my friends, as it turned out it seemed like she brought me to meet her friends, She knew so many people there. We met people I haven't seen for many years and went down memory lane. It was very very enjoyable.

Rami Ilin was one of the guests. I still remember the first time I laid eyes on Rami. I came back to school from summer holidays in Israel and looked for my allocated room in the dormitory. We were 5 boys in each room and the names were on a note on the door. There was one unfamiliar name. Rami Ilin. I walked in and started settling down. Some of the guys came in and we chatted and exchanged summer experiences. Suddenly the door flew open and someone I have never seen before burst into the room, took a macho position, pointed at a microscopic pimple on his cheek and said "you see this, you know what it's from"? and answered "not enough sex" and zoooooooom he was out of the room. I was speechless. "What was that" I asked, Rami ilin was the answer.

At dinner time we were dismissed by class. First the seniors were allowed to leave and then class by class. The school system in England was that rather than calling the grades as first grade, second grade, third grade etc. it was first lower, first upper, second lower, second upper and so on. So first upper was really second grade.

The top grade was six upper but at six lower we enjoyed the same attitude as six upper. Both six lower and six upper were usually referred to as six form. We had prefects both in six lower and six upper. For those of you who don't know, a prefect is a student with some disciplinary duties and they assisted the staff in all matters of discipline, overseeing us making homework, lights-out and general behavior. Something like a sergeant-major.

So as a rule it was "six form is dismissed". After dinner we could get a bottle of milk but the demand was always greater than the supply and so it was important to get out first.

One evening there was chaos. The prefects somehow lost control (the real wonder was that it didn't happen every evening) and the head prefect got really mad at us and kept us in the dining room for a long time. Finally he said "prefects and six upper are dismissed". This was not fair. First the custom was that six form is treated as one and second I knew that if they get there first there won't be any milk left. So I goy up and walked out with six upper. As I walked out I heard the shout "Rozow come back !" but I ignored it, took my bottle of milk and went up to my room. A few minutes later a delegation arrived informing me that no one will be allowed to leave until I came back. So I went back and said I had to vomit and that was that.

About 20 minutes later the assistant headmaster Shmatz was fully briefed on the incident and he called the whole class for a meeting in the class room where, in extremely high decibels, he gave us a speech about our total lack of respect and discipline blab bla bla and went on to mention my behavior. To this I said "I had to vomit sir" and his reply was "go and vomit in another school" Micky Gillerman standing next to me couldn't hold his laughter at this and Shmatz came up to me stood right in front of my face looking straight into my eyes and suddenly his right hand flew in a tremendous back hand slap to micky's face.

This is something I need to explain. Back at the 50's & 60's beating by teachers in school was an accepted punishment. In times the rules about beating have evolved and by then the teachers were allowed to hit you on your fingers with a ruler.

This was not practiced in our school. Instead, Shmatz would lose his temper and would just beat us. Mostly slapped us. Itzhak Djamel who was always in trouble and was always beaten by Shmatz was a fantastic athlete and whenever Shmatz tried to slap him he'd just drop to the floor. So Shmatz kicked him instead.

There were two kinds of punishments in school. The first was standing on detention. This means standing in the main hall facing the wall, sometimes for hours on end, sometimes with your hands held up. This was unpleasant but tolerable. There was an aquarium in the hall were we stood facing the wall and we got acquainted with all the fish, had long conversation with them (one way) and knew everything about them.

The second punishment was "Gated". Usually for one to three weeks. This meant that you got a card and you needed a teacher to sign it every hour on the hour to attest that you are on the premises. This was the worse punishment ever because you couldn't go out to town. This was to be avoided at all costs. One way to avoid this when in trouble is to aggravate the situation and get Shmatz to be really mad and hit you. Usually after he calmed down and realized what he has done he left it at that and there was no further punishment. A slap or two on the cheek was a small price to pay.

Last time I wrote I apologized for not writing for a week because I was busy with a new girlfriend, Dalia.
For a moment I thought that the relationship with Dalia was for good. Well, it was good but short lived. So now I have no excuse.
In fact I met a girl (sorry a woman) that I dated a few month ago and we decided to get back together. Her name is Hanny and I enjoy being with her so I am happy.
These last couple of weeks there is a scandal in Israel about a famous singer Eyal Golan that allegedly had sex with 15 year old girls. Well I declare that all my girlfriends are over the legal age of 17. The bad news is that they average 50 years above the legal age.

A lot of my attention is directed towards my 70th birthday next month. Both my sons are arriving from London & California with the families and it's going to the first time in years when the whole family will be together. Four kids, a dozen grandkids, daughters & sons in law with parents and of course Hanny and I. The immediate family (including the in laws) counts 26 people. I can't wait for a family picture. Some of the cousins don't know each other and it will be the first time they meet. Exciting !
The celebration is going to be in Tanduri restaurant (Indian food) in Herzelia. I have a tradition of throwing parties in Tanduri. Growing up in England, Indian food was almost the national food and we used to go every Sunday lunch to a restaurant called Bombay in Brighton. In fact when my mother came to visit she paid the restaurant in advance and every time I came to eat they deducted it from the prepayment. I still remember my standard meal was Chicken Byriani and a bottle of Coke. It cost 10&6. For those of you not familiar with the Brithis currency of those days it means 10 Shillings and 6 pence (pennies). A pound Sterling was 20 Shilling so this was just a little more than half a pound.
The portions were huge and served on an oval serving plate covered with a thin omelet. We used to take half to our plates and when we finished we'd take the other half. Shlomo Tessone is a slow eater, and I mean slooooow. We'd all finish our full portion and he was still on his first half, so we started helping ourselves from his second half and he'd try to push us away. This went on week after week. Funny.
I on the other hand am a fast eater. When I get my food I get on with it and eat really fast. I keep trying to slow down but old habits die hard. My father was a fast eater and when he finished eating his food he started picking from our plates. As a result 2 things happened. First, when my mother called us to dinner my brother, sister and I ran as fast as we could to catch a seat furthest from my father. Second, we learned to eat fast so he wouldn't eat all our food. So I eat fast.
Anyway I am going to have approximately 100 people for my birthday. Almost half are family and the rest friends. I am having a karaoke operator and some surprises that I will leave as secrete for the time being.

On the employment side, things are a little slow. November I will clock only about 75% of my usual hours and December looks like even less. I don't mind taking a few days off in December to be with my family, but I hope I'll find some new contracts by January. I have been approached by a firm from London recruiting for IBM with an offer for a contract to join the project at Teva. I am waiting to hear from them. This could be the job I am looking for both from the point of view of interest and longevity although I am sure I will hate the Bureaucracy.
If I don't find something soon I will start looking internationally with emphasis on the USA.

Once upon a time there people had what we called in Hebrew "Pen Friends" I don't know if this is a good translation. Anyway the concept was that strangers wrote to each other and became friends through letter correspondence without ever meeting. M (not James Bond's M) is a girl I met online and we became "Pen Friends". She read my blog and commented on it. The nice thing is that she said it inspired her to write her own memories. Not yet in a blog but who knows. It feels good to know I touched someone and had some influence even if it is on a small thing like writing memories.
One of her comments was that she is curious to know Izi of now. Writing about memories is one thing, writing about feelings I find much more difficult but I'll keep it in mind and we'll see how it goes.
Like I said, next month is my birthday and I planning a big party and I have a couple of surprises up my sleeve so after the party I'll much more current stuff to write.

I saw a movie this week titled Enough Said. In the movie parents had to face the dreaded moment when the kids grew up and left for college. It reminded me of the time I send Zeev to a friend in Canada for a couple of weeks when he was just 12 years old. I just stood there in the airport unable to go home. A big void filled me and I thought my heart would burst. I had the same feeling when I sent him to a golf academy. I just stood looking at the airplane taking off and couldn't move.
It's funny considering the fact that I left home to boarding school when I was just 13 and half years old and that I traveled a lot for business and so not seeing the kids for a week or two at a time. But it's one thing when I go away and it's a totally different feeling watching your son go away.
And yet, when he was sixteen years old I sent him to a boarding school in the USA. This how it happened:

When Zeev was about six years old I started taking him to the golf club. Like all kids who start young he became an awesome player and his dream was to become a golf professional player.
One day I had lunch with Micky Gillerman and we talked about our kids. Micky's daughter was a talented tennis player but didn't like to practice. Zeev did. So, Micky said to me "if my daughter would have been willing to practice like Zeev I would have sent her to the USA. You've got to send Zeev". My response was that there is no way I am sending a child of mine away and that was that.
When I came home I told my wife "Micky said we should send Zeev to the States". "No way" was her reply. Agreed with her, this is exactly what I told Micky but it pissed me off that she didn't ask for my opinion so I said "why not" just to spite her. This led to an hour long discussion which ended with the thought of actually why not.
When Zeev came home we asked him "what do you think about going to a boarding school in the USA, to get a chance to do something about your golf"? His answer was "when"?
It was 27th August. I remember the date because it was 3 days before the beginning of the school year. "Tomorrow" I said. After a moment's hesitation he said "yes".

Now we started a rat race. School starts in 3 days and I need to find one. My criteria were, 1 – it has to be a first rate school academically in case he doesn't make it as a Pro. 2 – it has to be in the south where he can play almost all year round.
I went to the American school in Kfar Shmaryahu and started searching the high school year book. I looked at the average grade of the graduates and which colleges they went to. After a few hours I located 5 schools and I went back home to make some calls. Three schools rejected me on the spot saying that registration closes in February. One school in Phoenix Arizona accepted him based on my description of him and one school in Florida said he has to do some acceptance tests. I asked if on principle, based on my description and subject to his passing the tests he would be accepted. They said yes but no guarantees and no commitment. So I told the Phoenix school I'll see them on Saturday and the Florida School I'll see the, on Monday. The next day we were on a flight to the USA.
Phoenix was a disappointment. The school was a dump and we tried playing golf but the heat was excruciating and we had to give up mid game. And so we flew to Jacksonville Florida.
We arrived on Sunday and were welcomed by a Hurricane. In spite of the winds and downpour we were curious to see the school and we got into the car and drove there. We were the only crazy people on the road but I suppose ignorance of Hurricane condition is what allowed us to do such a stupid thing.
As soon as we saw the building we knew we want it. The next day we went to school, Zeev was tested and accepted and started a two year stretch in Bolls High school in Jacksonville Florida.
The school had very strong swimming and football (American) programs. In fact many of the school swimmers participated in Olympic games and Zeev's roommate took the gold in 200 meters butterfly in the Seoul Olympics.
But the school's golf program sucked and two years later Zeev emerged as an A student but a worth golfer than when he started. And so ended his golf career and new and different horizons were opened to him.
To think that for someone who family means everything to him, his family is spread across the world. Unbelievable.

When Zeev graduated from high school, being a December baby, he still had a few month before enlisting in the army and so he went to college for his freshman year. One day he asked me what I wanted him to study. I told him that I don't care, he should study whatever he is interested in. He assumed I would want him to study business related subjects so when he heard my answer he asked if it was ok with me if he took history. And so in enrolled in Pomona college in California just east of LA. Zeev had a car and we set out on a long coast to coast drive from Jacksonville Florida to California. If my memory serves me right we spend 5 days on the road, sharing rooms at motels along the way and it was an amazing father/son experience. We used to drive through small towns and they there was always a sign "welcome to….population xxx). In Colorado it says population xxx elevation 6xxx. How did we climb to 6000' without noticing ? the country seemed flat. The tallest mountain in Colorado is Pike. There is an annual car race to Pikes Peak hill climb. It's a 12.42 mile run with 156 turns starting at 9,390 feet and ending at 14,100 feet summit. The world record stands at 9:46 minutes. At the time I was at the peak of my driving skills after taking several racing courses and participating in many test drives. i was driving Zeev's Golf GTI, the sports version of the Golf and I expected to do it in something like 12 minutes. I did it in 45. Apparently driving at this altitude has its problems. When I put the car in second gear it overheated almost instantly. When I upshifted to third gear the car hardly moved. We finally made it to the top. At the bottom the weather was ok, but up there we had a blizzard. In the few seconds it took us to run from the car to the shop to buy the "I was at pikes peak" souvenir sticker, I got a splitting headache. It seems that breathing has its merits.

We continued our journey and finally made it ti San Francisco where Zeev informed me that he is going to meet some friends and I was on my own. There was a new movie that I just had to see Top Gun and so Zeev went to see his friends and I wwent to the movie on my won. I could have killed him.

Luckily I loved the movie and that improved my mood so I forgave him. Actually Top Gun is my favorite movie of all and I must have seen it at least 70 (yes seventy) times. Every time I was a little (or a lot) down I out Top Gun in the VCR. I could recite it.


Three weeks ago I celebrated my 70th birthday in the Indian restaurant Tanduri in Herzelia. Tanduri has been a tradition for me. Growing up in England, I learned to love Indian food and I am a regular guest at Tanduri. I threw a few parties in Tanduri, birthdays and anniversaries, the last being my 60th birthday.

It was a very special event for me. Zeev came from England with Lisa & the 4 kids and Shie came from California with Sheri, their two kids, Sheri's parents and cousin. It was the first time all my 12 grandchildren met each other.It was a very special event for me. Zeev came from England with Lisa & the 4 kids and Shie came from California with Sheri, their two kids, Sheri's parents and cousin. It was the first time all my 12 grandchildren met each other.

I had close to 100 guests, half family and the rest friends. When it was my turn to speak I told the following joke:

There were two friends who always celebrated their birthdays together.
For their 50th birthday one asked the other where shall we celebrate?
in Tanduri came the answer. Why Tanduri? Because we like Indian food.
For their 60th birthday one asked the other where shall we celebrate?
in Tanduri came the answer. Why Tanduri? Because we there is plenty of parking in the area.
For their 70th birthday one asked the other where shall we celebrate?
in Tanduri came the answer. Why Tanduri? For tradition.
For their 80th birthday one asked the other where shall we celebrate?
in Tanduri came the answer. Why Tanduri? Because we never celebrated there before.

My next celebration is planned for my 80th birthday. Although I intend to stick around and be healthy for a long time, there is a chance that on my 80th I won't remember everything. Also I don't know if everyone will be able to come for my 80th. There are going to be four Bar Mitzvas in the next 10 years, but I don't know if everyone will be able to attend.

And so for me this could be the last time I have all my children and grandchildren together and this made it a very special birthday.

Zeev spoke nicely in the event and Shie prepared a beautiful presentation on behalf of all the kids.

D:\IZI birthday\Aba 70th Final-iPhone.m4v

When it was my turn to speak I had a big surprise for everyone and especially my children. I sung.

Singing and me were never good friends. In fact whenever I started singing my children would shout Daddy stop singing ! I was so bad that when I tried to sing in the shower, the water stopped running J.

I have always had a dream that one day I will take vocal lessons and learn how to sing. Well a few month ago I started doing just that in secrecy. Nobody knew. The expression on my daughter's faces was something for the movies. Mouth wide open with disbelief. And so I told the story:

The plan was to take it a step at a time. A happy birthday song, a holiday song and so without notice they would suddenly realize that they stop telling me not to sing. After a few month of practice I started to gain some kind of control on my voice. I still wish I could buy a new voice, but that's what nature gave me so I guess I am stuck. Anyway I learned how to sing to tune and I gained some confidence. So one day I felt I was good enough to audition for the X-Fucked up, I decided that my birthday would be a good time for my world debut. The next natural step was to have Karaoke at my party.

I decided to sing 3 songs. The first was Welcome to my world by Elvis Presley. When my first grandson Uri was born, I dedicated this song to him. At Uri's Bar Mitzva At that time I didn't take singing lessons yet and didn't have the guts to sing. Anyway I thought it would be nice to welcome my guests with this song. The second song was for fun.

In the last decade I divorced Sara and had 2 long term relationships, Daniella and Irith and some short range flings. My Grandson Liam asked me one day "Sabba, why do you swap them all the time"? and so I decided to tell this story at my birthday party and answer with the song To all the girls I loved before by Julio Iglsias. For the 3rd song I rewrote the lyrics for a famous Israeli song called BADAD. Here is a rough translation:

70 cholesterol is a little high
70 כולסטרול קצת גבוה
70 blood pressure too
70 וגם לחץ הדם
70 let's not forget the prostate
70 לא נשכח את הפרוסטטה
I need a little sympathy cause I am 70
אני צריך קצת סימפטיה כי אני בן 70
70 climbing up to change a bulb
70 עולה להחליף נורה
Oy vey how do you come back down
אוי ויי איך יורדים חזרה
70 every morning the body hurts
70 כל בוקר הגוף כואה
I am alive and still love all the 70 years
אני חי וכל כך אוהבאת כל ה – 70
70 I am and a prayer I have
70 אני ותפילה יש לי
70 with a future, with hope, with a dream
70 עם עתיד, אם תקןה, עם חלום
70 I am and a prayer I have
70 אני ותפילה יש לי
70 with a future, with hope, with a dream
70 עם עתיד, עם תקוה, עם חלום
70 I have 4 kids
70 ילדים יש לי ארבעה
70 and a dozen grandkids
70 גם תריסר נכדים
70 I am a proud Polak
70 פולני גאה אני
You make me the richest man alive
בזכותכם אין כמוני, עשיר בעולם
70 I am and a prayer I have
70 אני ותפילה יש לי
70 with a future, with hope, with a dream
70 עם עתיד, אם תקןה, עם חלום
70 I am and a prayer I have
70 אני ותפילה יש לי
70 with a future, with hope, with a dream
70 עם עתיד, עם תקוה, עם חלום
70 some friends have already passed away
70 חברים כבר הלכו להם
70 we shall never forget
70 לא נשכח לעולם
70 and we'll continue to miss them
70 ונמשיך להתגעגע
And I can still hear the laughter and the nonsense
ואני עוד שומע, את הצחוק, את השטות
80 I'll go and a prayer I have
80 אלך ותפילה יש לי
80 I have a future, a hope a dream
80 יש עתיד יש תקוה יש חלום
80 I'll go
80 אלך ותפילה יש לי
80 we'll celebrate in Tanduri in a decade
80 עוד עשור בטנדורי נחגוג

I'll try and upload some clips and pictures but if I am not successful they can be seen in my Facebook account. Anyway here are some of my favorite pictures:

Obviously me and my kids – From left Zeev, Ronit, Shelly, Shie

Me and my daughters – Ronit, Shelly

All 12 grandchildren – Maya, Nadav, Eithan, Eli, Amitai, Liam, Raz, Libi, Uri, Adi, Zach & Maayan


I am sitting now in Heathrow airport waiting for my connection to LA to visit Shie for Peshah holiday and I am using the time to update my memories.

Here is one from childhood. I must have 10 – 11 years old when we went to Summer school not far from Tel-Aviv. It was a sleep over thing for 3 weeks.

One day they served Zucchini for lunch. It didn't appeal to me and I left it on my plate. The supervisor decided I have to eat it and wouldn't let me get up from the table until I did. But I didn't. 6 – 7 hours later I am still sitting at the table looking at the Zucchini and it's time for dinner. Dinner comes and goes and its bed time. I had no choice and took a bite. I immediately vomited whatever little I still had in my stomach and so finally I was excused and allowed to go to bed.

Until today I cannot stand the thought of eating Zucchini. It's just revolting in any form it's made as far as I am concerned. Eggplants come in a close second. I can't remember why. I think they had eggplants alongside the Zucchini but I am not sure. Anyway I lived happily for 60 years without Zucchini & eggplants and I intend to live happily the next couple of hundred years without Zucchini or eggplants.

The beautiful thing about having many children is to witness the difference between them.

One day I was walking in the street a couple of blocks from Ronit's school (elementary school). Suddenly Ronit comes up "hi dady". "What are you doing here?" I asked. "I skipped school" came the answer.

Some years later I saw Shelly was troubled about something. Upon urging her to come out with it she finally said in a small voice "I skipped school".

What I do now I can sum up in one sentence, I am an IT (information Technology) consultant. It is a fancy word for software and you get paid better for saying IT. But that doesn't define who I am. I thought a lot about that and I find it difficult to write about it. I am a sentimental person full of emotions but I don't talk much about them. My main concern is not to be a burden on anyone, especially my kids, so when I am unhappy or worried I keep it bottled in and walk around with a smile on my face. Many times the kids hear it in my voice but I always find some excuse like back or headache. I am a hopeless optimist. I always see the light at the end of the tunnel and I never worry that it may be the train coming in.


It's been a year since I last wrote. Somehow I got to be too lazy to write. Actually that's just half true. When I writ I am consumed by it and I just keep on going ignoring everything else, and every time I wanted to write I knew it will happen again and I didn't feel like it so I preferred to abstain.

Thursday night we went to a friend's 70th birthday party. Zigi Gonczarowski. Zigi is one of my closest friends if not the closest of them. I met Zigi in School in Brighton. I don't remember the year, it was probably 1959 give or take a year. Some 56 years ago. Zigi was one class below me but it was a small school, only about 150 boys and we were all close and friendly. University brought us together again and as time went by the friendship grew.

I am not sure friendship is the correct word to describe the relations the boys from Whittingehame have. Brothers is more like it. We are not biologically related but it feels like we share the same DNA. And like with any brothers, there are some we love more, some we love less, some we see a lot, some we fight with, but they are still brothers. Zigi is one I love more. This is not the place to tell about all of Zigi's suffice it to say that when I lost all my fortune, Zigi was there for me and helped me a lot. Not only financially but also morally and sound advice. I will forever be in his debt.

I asked Nira, Zigi's wife for permission to sing in his birthday party and I surprised him with my version of King of the World by Shlomo Artzi. Of course I change some of the words, and in the background I run a presentation with the karaoke version of the song.
I tried unsuccessfully to upload the presentation. I'll try again some other time.

I had a lot of complements about my performance. Actually since I started to learn to sing I found that I just love the microphone. Zero stage fright or tension. Just pure enjoyment and fun. If only I started it 40 years ago, I might have tried to make a career of it. Let's keep things in proportion, I am no Elvis Presley but I have learned to keep a tune, my voice is passable and my performance/presentation/body language is good. Actually very good. Like I said I enjoy it, I feel free on stage and it shows.

Anyway, the party was amazing. I don't remember when I enjoyed myself so much. My own birthday party was amazing, one of the best ever, but this one overshadowed mine by miles. We sang, and we danced, and we ate, and we drank (everybody alcohol, me just diet coke J) and it was fantastic.


I am on an El AL flight with my girlfriend Edith on route to London. It's Friday. Sunday Eli is celebrating his 10th birthday. It's an important birthday for him. His first decade and he asked that I should come. I try to come for all their birthdays. It's not always easy but this year I managed to make it to Liam's & Nadav's birthday. Eli & Amitai are both June babies. Eli is on 21th and Amitai is on 9th. I can't afford to come twice in the same month so usually I try and come in between and we celebrate both birthdays together. This year though, being his 10th birthday Eli requested that I come especially for him. So here we are.

Monday morning we are flying to Scotland where we'll be driving around for 3 days. Back to London Thursday evening and back home Friday morning. Short and sweet.

I love Scotland. I've been quite a few times in my golfing days. Haven. I think Scotland is one of the most beautiful real estates in the world. There are basically 2 parts to Scotland. The lowlands – green and lakes. The highlands – mountains and lakes. Wild and beautiful. And of course there is the Loch Ness Monster – Nessi. I hadn't had a chance to meet her yet but like I said I am a hopeless optimist.

Years ago I was in Scotland with Sara. We drove around for 3 days. On the third day we returned to Edinburgh in the evening and couldn't find an hotel for the night. I was totally wasted after driving 1,200 km that day and finally I walked into an hotel and after being told there was no room I gave the concierge (bell captain) a big tip and begged him to find us an hotel. After a few calls he told be he found one but it's 15 minutes away. He gave me the name of the hotel, Daluisie Castle, and driving instructions. We turned off the main road into and unpaved path. It was a cloudy dark night. No stars no moon and it was a little scary. At one point we turned a corner and there in front of us, bathed in a pool of light was a real authentic middle age castle that was converted into a hotel. Amazing! We loved it. I try and stay there whenever I am in Scotland. This trip we will not but maybe the next.

When we were young at school and later as young married couples are main form of entertainment was dancing. Parties or dance clubs.

Back in school in Brighton we had two establishments. The Jazz club also known as The Montpelier was our home base. It had nothing to do with Jazz. It was a disco. We danced a lot of happy dances there and picked up a lot of our girlfriends there. Of course we weren't allowed to be there. It wasn't that the place was off limits. It was just that we were not allowed out in the evenings and if we were caught we were punished.

The other place was the Regent. The Regent was much larger, more like a ballroom. It lacked the atmosphere of the Jazz club but the female population was much larger. We used to practice dancing in school by dancing with each other.

Our favorite dance was called The French Jive. We also danced a lot of Cha Cha, Rumba and of course slow.

As time went by we danced less and less and actually in later years we found ourselves dancing mainly in weddings. Dancing styles obviously changed. Whereas our dancing was very much a due affair with a hint of flirting and physical contact, dancing has evolved to people jumping up and down in front of each other, often groups, often individually and more often than not without any grace and mainly without the intimacy that dancing once had. And so I didn't enjoy it very much. Add to that 30 kg overweight and gradually I stopped dancing all together.

But I love dancing and from time to time I started taking dancing lessons but there was always something that stood in the way. After a long pause I started taking private dancing lessons a few months ago. My instructor is young, in her early 30th, pretty and an excellent dancer. I go twice a week. We dance a lot of rock and roll. That's what she calls it. We used to call it French Jive. Yes, I dance our favorite dance from school days and I love it. Gradually it's coming back and my instructor says I am her best student. Eventually she wants to dance with me in completions and shows. We also dance Cha Cha which I loved and was very good at as a youngster. But Cha cha has changed. When we were young Cha Cha was just forward and backwards, girl facing boy and no physical contact. Today we hold each other like in a Tango and there is a lot of right to left and turns. It takes some adjustments but I have the basis so it'll be ok. The third dance I am learning is Salsa. I never danced Salsa as a boy and this is a little more difficult. It is also much more energetic and I almost need CPR after every dance. Still I'll get the hung of it. Once I feel I am good enough in those styles I will learn how to Tango and Walze.

Luckily Edith also loves to dance. More than that she is an excellent dancer. The other day we went to a dance club in Tel Aviv and really enjoyed it. We are planning to have many happy returns.

So twice a week I take dancing lessons, once a week I take vocal and singing lesson (love it) and last month I started taking Italian lessons (but that's another story).

Life is good !


It’s been 3 years since I last wrote.
There’s a lot going on in my life but at the same time there is nothing going on in my life.
I still work, I still dance, I still sing but I have no girlfriend any more (and I’d really like to have one. Actually the one!)
Let’s take it one step at a time.
Since I wrote last I managed to stop playing golf, to move house twice and to switch a place of work.

It’s now been just over a year since I left Haifa Chemicals and joined TowerJazz (formally know as Tower Semiconductors) in Migdal Haemek. I wake up early to beat the traffic so I leave home at about 6:20 am every morning and clock in at 7:00.
I usually go home between 4-5 pm. Sometimes, when necessary I stay later. Actually I don’t go home.

Once a week I go to my singing lessons. I love it. Recently my singing teacher started a neighborhood group that gets together every second week to sing. She got me to join the group. There are about 15 of them in their late 40th. They welcomed me and made me feel at home and I love it.
So Sundays is work and singing.

Monday evening is dancing lessons with a partner that I am crazy about. My 9 (almost 10) year old granddaughter Raz. It’s so much fun spending time and dancing with her.

Tuesday was free so is started going to the gym. But this is going to stop because I intend to start learning personal & business coaching. More about this later, buy anyway that will take up my Tuesdays for the next year or so. I’ll try going to the gym on Friday’s just before or after my dancing lesson (it’s next door to each other).

Wednesdays are free but from time to time I go down to Tel=Aviv to see a movie and or have dinner with my school friends.

Thursday is dancing again. A double lesson and Friday morning is a dancing lesson again followed by a drive to Kfar Shmaryahu to meet my school friends.

When Zigi is in Town there is a meet on his boat in the Marina. Weather permitting they sail out and I head home because I get sea sick and don’t enjoy sailing. But if the sea is not calm we just sit on the boat in the marina and eat. And eat. And eat.

After dieting hard all week one Friday on the boat makes up for the loss of weight and then some.
I really wish they go sailing.

So I am a busy man. I am tired when I come home and I don’t have the energy to write or do anything else. I just want to go to bed and get some sleep.

So, like I said there is a lot going on in my life but when all is said and done there is a void. I am alone, I come back to an empty home.

Sometimes I am not sure it’s worth it.

I am probably one of the most optimistic guys in the world and I love life, so where did this dark and somber sentence come from ?

Well, for years I have had this stupid belief that I am a kind of a superman, that I am invincible and I am going to live forever, or at lease for another 200-300 years but recently I had to deal with some health issues. All minor, but I thing I have seen more doctors and done more tests in the last 2 months than in my entire life combined. And I must admit it shook me up.

It started with the need for major work on my teeth. I need to have 6 front teeth pulled out, 4 implants and a bridge. I facing a tough 6 month plus a small fortune. Actually quite a big fortune.

Next, I was finally dragonized as needing hearing aids. I hear perfectly fine on a one to one basis but when we sit at a table and there is background noise I find it hard to interpret a lot of the conversation. So now I have my own personal earphones J. Another small fortune.

For many months I had a lesion on my face. I thought it originated in a cut from shaving and did not heal because I take blood thinning medication. I was finally convinced to go see a skin specialist and he dragonized it as BCC (basal cell carcinoma) and referred to a Plastic surgeon to remove it.

I didn’t know what this means and wasn’t bothered by it so I went to the surgeon and to my surprise
the procedure was a full surgery in the surgery theater (local anesthesia).
Two weeks later the lab results came back. I had SCC (Squamous cell carcinomas), which is skin cancer.
This shook me up. The words Izi & cancer don’t sit well together.
I needed another surgery. This time using the MOHS procedure where they cut the cancer out, check
it in the lab immediately and if necessary cut more until the whole cancer is completely removed.
The procedure is routine and I wasn’t worried about them getting all the cancer out but there
were two things that worried me. The first was that due to the location of the cancer there was a
risk of damaging a facial nerve that could have the right side of my face paralyzed. The second thing
was that it was possible that I would need radiation treatment in addition to the surgery.
The surgery was performed on 12 April, 2018 and was successful. No damage to the nerve and no
radiation needed. The stiches are coming out next week.

Recently we had a tragedy. One of our friends Rami Iilin passed away (he is on the left). He had cancer. He actually
beat the cancer but the Chemo killed him.

I have a picture from my 70th birthday of me singing with Danny & Rami.

They are both gone now. I am the only one left.
This also shook me up.

I was planning to have my next birthday party when I will be 80 but with all that’s going on I decided
to have it when I am 75.
So on 27 December, 2018 I will have a DANCING PARTY. We will dance like we used to dance when
we were young. This is going to be the best party ever. I am spending a lot of time looking for the
best venue for the celebration. One that will be fun but not require a small fortune.
We will also celebrate Zeev’s 50th birthday which is 3 weeks earlier. I can’t believe I have a son who
is almost 50 years old.

As for my professional life, I mentioned before that I am going to start a personal coaching course.
For the last 20 years I have been an SAP consultant. I was the best of the best. People referred to
me as the Guru.
But the market has been changing. There are very few new projects and the demand for my skills
(and rates) is diminishing. I therefore decided to start working on an alternative.
Coaching can be interesting and lucrative. Will I actually make a career change ? I don’t know, we’ll
see what happens but even if not, I am sure the new skills I’ll learn will enrich me.

That’s all for now. I hope my next update will take less than 3 years.