In 1934, at a Maccabiah camp near
Afterward, they corresponded. She wanted to send him the money she owed him, but when he heard about her plans to join a “Gar’ein,” a core group of young people organizing in order to establish a kibbutz in the land promised to the Jews, he suggested instead that she give it to his sister, Sarah, who lived in
Fresh off the boat at the edge of the Mediterranean,
In all of that,
Every bit of her history was stored in an old cardboard suitcase—the same one she had brought from
She was surprised to find there a sepia-colored photograph of young Shlomo. It had been taken by a professional photographer, and the young Shlomo’s features were distinct.
“Oh, my God,” she exclaimed. “I forgot to give the money to Sarah!”
“Sarah who?” asked a granddaughter.
“What’s her last name?”
She blocked out her children’s protests that things weren’t done this way.
The next day,
“And what did this Shlomo do?” her niece asked.
“Well, he trained at a Maccabiah camp, so he was athletic. He must have become a gym teacher.”
“Why don’t you call this school on my street and ask where you can find him?”
The school secretary was sympathetic to the story. “But we are all young here. You are looking for an eighty-two-year-old retired gym teacher. Let me give you the name of an old teacher who used to work here. Maybe she knows him.”
“Do you know Shlomo, the gym teacher?”
“Of course. I was at his son’s wedding. But Shlomo died several years ago.”
“Yair Haberman. He was my student in third grade, as was his wife.”
Shlomo hadn’t been Yair’s father, but his father-in-law, Yair explained when she called him.
“Well, is your wife’s aunt Sarah still alive?”
In four phone calls she had located the family of he man who had lent her the trip fare in 1934 in a village in
Rosa will call Sarah and will send her the equivalent of a car fare from
(Story told to the author by Yair Haberman.)