Thursday, November 02, 2006


One of the lovely things you can still do when writing for a paper abroad is lie your head off. Especially if it's the paper of a remote community, where nobody is going to make the ten thousand mile trip just to check up on you.

Once upon a time in 1970, four American teenagers were blongering around Kiriat Ono, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Two were Bar Ilan students, and the other two had come as tourists after getting this message from the first two: Student life is boring; pack up all your instruments from our rock band, hop on a plane, and lets try to make a go of it on the local music scene.

And so they did. Billed as "Yom Velaila," they sat on benches with performers like young Zvika Pik, waiting for gigs from their managers, Saban and Talit. Yes, this is when entertainment mogul Haim Saban was still in diapers. Yehuda Kesar, who later led the Yemenite 'Oud' group, was just a gawky kid who'd drop in to their apartment and grab their guitar to play, as he didn't have one yet.
Anyway, for their debut, they got a write up in the entertainment section of Ma'Ariv, relating how they had appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, how Sly and the Family Stone did the warm up for them at Woodstock, and other lies. It was pretty funny and nobody was supposed to take it seriously.

I recalled this as I read a recent back issue of a Western Canadian Jewish Newspaper. They were publishing my 'as Katyushas fall' journal, so I was curious to see what else got in there. My curiosity was piqued by a write up about "one of the leading figures in divorce counseling in Northern Israel." Someone who I had never heard mentioned by Simon, a good friend and a local divorce counselor. The other day I asked him about the 'leading figure' . Well, my friend was quite amused to see the promo: This guy, he explained, is a disaster in his job, and he himself had a horribly messy divorce after which he left town. However, the Netanya correspondent for this newspaper is his uncle."
So we see that even in today's age of information highways, if you're writing about people ten thousand miles away, you can get away with almost anything. However, that doesn't apply to the bond of trust between you, dear reader and me. I want to reassure you that I won't use this column for my own gains; I won't tell you that I am Israel's most accomplished educator or that my wife (the shrink) runs three university departments. My son, (the paratrooper) did not disarm ten Hizballoonie nests over the town of Binge'Pale, and my daughter didn't graduate Magna cum Estee Lauder from Hebrew U. My son who collects Katyusha fragments has not assembled his own Merkava tank. Furthermore, my next door neighbour (small time drug pushing) does not grow 15 frond marijuana leaves and our cat did not disarm a terrorist rat cell. You can trust me. Just because I announced the birth of my new cousin in Toronto and got the father's name wrong doesn't mean I'm going to lie to you. But you can still come visit Israel and check up on me


Barry Silverberg… Nov 2. 2006


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