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The bright, innocent boy, the good-looking lad, the great family man, the musician, the great father, the scholar, the philosopher, the lecturer, the mentor, the teacher, the lover, the inspirer, the motorcyclist.
The animal protector, the peace- maker, the naive.
My best friend.
For me, all the aforementioned are a second name for my cousin, Ofer.
1957 – born in a Tel Aviv agricultural suburb of the young state of Israel. Our two families were always tied in a bond that was never broken. Ofer and I are the present bond keepers.
Our parents told us about our first fights at the age of two years old. The longest time we spend together was as young boys. Moving from a town to another was never a reason not to spend summer holidays in each other’s homes.
I still have some of the letters we exchanged during my years in East Africa, as a young boy of the sixties.
The small town of Aseret where I spend my teen-age time.
Humid summer Aseret evenings; you find us walking bare-footed and semi-naked in the streets of Aseret. It was his first girl friend Tali and my Efrat that took the passionate talking into dawn. We had no stop in us, we had no secrets. Ofer was my compass of assurance. He always looked so sure of himself. I was so jealous (in a positive way, Ofer). I wanted to be like him. My parents liked listening to Operas. Being at our home, the world of Operas caught the years of young Ofer. His love to the world of Opera would never fade until today.
Ofer played the trumpet, read books; he was knowledgeable, deep, smart and cute.
(I can imagine the expression on your face reading this, Ofer)
Ofer joined the Military. His short army time went through an unreal combination of jobs: from trumpet player in the I.D.F. Military band, to a combat soldier in the Paratroopers in Sanoor.
Ofer left the army and spent a year performing a “do it yourself” over whole on his 1960 Mini Morris. All by himself, in the living room of his small rented apartment.
This small rented apartment was our meeting place. Also, the place when the first young ladies got “filtered-out”; until meeting Michal, his wife from then to present.
Ofer – an Opera singer. He sang on stages, in recitals. However, when the time came, the choice was the Academic world, as a PhD Student and a lecturer in Philosophy. Ofer is now completing his academic tasks in Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
During all those years, Ofer was my best choice for a sounding board. Our lives went somewhat in parallel. Amazingly often, I can guess how Ofer is just by asking myself how I am.
All the aforementioned cannot convey the depth of long conversations. Speaking and consulting about our children, careers, but also great questions of the world’s very existence. I like my talks with Ofer. Though we do not meet a lot, frequent letters are serving as a relief. When Ofer came to visit me in Bucharest in January 2004, after a long time we did not meet, it only took the speed of light to catch up with the atmosphere and warmth.
I know how you hate talks about yourself. I know how you cannot stand compliments and flatter. I know how modest you are. That and a lot more is what makes you so special.
Next: Joseph Priel