Who Gives A Damn About Dreams

 

 

Who Gives A Damn About Dreams?

(Excerpt from a Novel)

By Yosef Bar-Yosef

Translated from Hebrew by Binyamin Shalom

 

 

Rosh Hashanah had already passed, so had Yom Kippur and Sukkot. It seemed like that was it, it was over, finished, yet here it was again, another steamy, sticky summer's day. Joel was sweating even more than usual. All down Aliyah Street the buses shot their fumes into his face. The shabby stairwell, which was once rather elegant, really choked him. He started up the stairs. Somebody was coming down in his direction and stopped a few steps above him—a young man, about his age. He stopped too. There was something strange about the look in the man's eyes, a certain intimacy, as if he recognized him. He also gave him a complicit smile, sort of gluey, and nodded with his head as though he was almost bowing.
 
“Sorry,” he said.
 
“Why? There's room for everyone,” said Joel.
 
“Sure, of course,” said the other guy, and repeated himself, “Of course.”
 
All the same he flattened himself against the wall as he continued to descend, as though giving Joel the right of way out of respect, as if he was saying that Joel could think all he wanted that everyone was equal but he didn't have to see things the same way. Joel wasn't really surprised. There was something in his look, his height, the particularly cordial handsomeness of his face that inspired goodwill and not just respect. But there was also something else here, something he couldn't grasp. He turned his head to watch the other guy go and noticed he was wearing a white shirt—although it was short-sleeved he was wearing a tie too, and it didn't look like he was sweating at all, as if he was from another world altogether. For a second he thought that he had already met this guy but he didn't have the head to get into it. He had heavier matters on his mind.
 
Debts—that's all he had left from his dreams of making films and the most pressing debt of them all, which included a lien on his shop, was owed to Don Haim Cohen, a loan shark on the black market who had one glass eye. He had to try to delay the date the loan was due. There was no answer at Don Cohen's office and there wasn't even an answering machine to leave messages. “When I'm in the office then I'm in the office and when I'm out, I'm out,” he had once said to him. He also said that he “didn't hold by” cell phones. “I'm not some dog on a leash that people can just grab hold of any time they want,” he said. His lawyer didn't know where he was either, and the days went flying by. There were only two weeks left till the due date.
 
One day Joel stopped at a red light and saw Don Cohen. There was no mistaking him. It was the same firm height, like a rectangle, a little stooped but still resembling a closet with a single door. He was wearing the same dark pants and white long-sleeved shirt with the thin stripes. It was the same square face too, looking like a sort of box on top of this large closet. And of course he had his black bag in his left hand. He emerged from some shop or perhaps from some stairwell. It was clear that the sunlight outside stunned him. His arms flew out sideways and he seemed to lose his balance for a second. He even looked up at the sun for a second, as if asking the meaning of it all. He immediately wobbled a bit and for a moment it looked like he was going to fall. Joel didn't think much of it and just called out to him from the car, “Don Cohen!” He called in a loud voice and Don Cohen turned towards him, at which point he added, “Wait a second, I'll be right with you!” At once he noticed that the window of the car was cracked open only slightly. He opened it fully and then screamed, “Just a second, I'll be right with you!” At which he heard the cars behind him honking and blaring and saw the light meanwhile change to green. He was about to step on the gas and drive on, but the light changed back to red. He turned to the side again and saw Don Cohen's back moving off into the distance. He didn't get a chance to look at him for too long when somebody knocked on his window and screamed at him, “What are you crazy, blind or what?!” He reached the shop and his mother told him that Don Cohen had stopped by looking for him just an hour earlier. Joel only managed to get a hold of him in the afternoon and they set an appointment at Don Cohen's office for the next day, late morning. That was it, finally.
 
The bell didn't ring. He knocked but there was no answer. He figured he would try the door. In the end, they had an appointment. And this was an office, after all, and the door was anyway an old one, made of wood, and it was a little bit worn. The last time he had told himself that perhaps Don Cohen purposely didn't change the door to a more secure one, to mislead any potential thieves. The knob wobbled a little and the door gave way before him. He passed through the narrow hallway with its old dark tiles until he arrived at an open door to the right. Just like the last time he was once again surprised by the other world that opened before him. There was a modern black writing desk, with an executive's chair, a few other designer seats, and a full, shiny set of office equipment, including a computer and a printer and a wireless telephone right next to the fax machine. There was also a paper shredder there and a water cooler with pure mineral water—an entirely modern office in every way. The only item that stood out, along the wall to the right, was a large steel safe with a bolt and wheel, and a stuffed parakeet sitting on top. He looked around and didn't see a soul. He cleared his throat, coughed, said, “Excuse me?” but no one responded. He was about to turn around and leave.
 
Then his eyes were drawn to the left, to the opaque glass doors that separated between the two rooms, like a lot of old two-room apartments. The last time he had been by the doors had been shut and he hadn't even asked himself what lay beyond. Now one of the doors was open halfway. He took courage and approached the doors. In the dim light inside he saw the mounds that composed the living quarters of someone living his whole life in a single room, which was the same size as the office but full to the point of almost being choked off by a closet of clothes and a cupboard and a television set along with an old dining table and chairs, as well as a sofa that doubled as a bed at whose feet newspaper supplements lay discarded in all their colors, and the whole thing gave off the smell of a man living alone. Something moved in the depths of the couch, another sort of mound and single point of light shone from within it, like an eye looking at him. Immediately the whole mound rose up from its reclining position and Joel asked himself why only one eye was looking his way until he remembered of course that it was Don Haim Cohen's one glass eye.
 
A little while later Joel was already sitting facing the fancy desk in the office and waiting. From the bathroom across the hall he could hear the sound of running water and the glass doors were once again shut tight. No sign was left of the living quarters within or their heavy smell. Joel was rather embarrassed. He recalled Don Cohen from a young age, when the latter used to visit his father's eyeglass shop. Don Cohen's single seeing eye didn't need glasses and he only wore them in order to cover the flash of his glass eye with the flash of the lenses. He didn't hesitate to explain that this was the only reason. All the same he stubbornly asked to be examined every two years. Joel's father used to tend to him and make some remark about a slight change in his vision, and accordingly prepare a new set of lenses for him. Joel had done the same after his father had passed away. He had already prepared two sets of glasses for Don Cohen. But that was all until Joel had needed that urgent loan. The whole deal had been signed in the fancy office and that was all Joel knew of Don Haim Cohen's life, and now his living quarters had suddenly been thrown open before him. You might even say that his very life itself had been revealed to him, rather astonishing in its shabbiness and so different from Joel's own life, with his barely thirty years and beautiful wife and beautiful little girl, living in an expansive, beautifully-designed apartment. Yet he owed this man money, and quite a lot of it at that.
 
Joel didn't have a chance to think about it all for too long. Don Cohen entered and sat down at his executive's chair, his face freshly washed, his hair combed back, wearing his black pants with the thin-striped shirt, and Joel couldn't help remarking to himself that he looked good—a little thinner than his safe but built just as well.
 
“I apologize, you stopped by yesterday to look for me and I wasn't…” Joel began.
 
“I'm the one who ought to apologize, stopping by like that without prior notice, like in the days of Methuselah,” said Don Cohen.
 
“Methuselah…?” Joel let slip.
 
“Back then there were no phones,” said Don Cohen, and he smiled a sort of half-smile, like someone who took pleasure in himself.
 
“I get it,” said Joel, and he thought that in the days of Abraham there also weren't any telephones. “The truth is that I was anyway intending to stop by—I came over but you weren't in the office.”
 
“I was in the hospital,” said Don Cohen.
 
“I hope it's nothing serious,” said Joel.
 
“It's serious alright, why not?” said Don Cohen.
 
“I'm sorry, I don't know what to say,” said Joel.
 
“So tell me,” he said.
 
“What about?” said Joel.
 
“You were looking for me,” said Don Cohen.
 
“Yes, of course, about my loan,” said Joel, and he swallowed his spit. “I wanted to ask you to delay the due date by two months, or at least a month, something like that, with all the same guarantees obviously, and…” he fell silent in the middle.
 
Don Cohen didn't say anything, he just looked to the right, giving Joel his left side—the side with the glass eye—and it had the flavor of a door closing in his face.
 
“Of course I'll pay a higher interest rate. For the prior period too, of course, it's not a short-term loan anymore,” said Joel, and it seemed to him that the muscles around the glass eye were contracting.
 
“You can altogether look at it like I'm asking for a new loan, and you can set any conditions you want.”
 
“I'm not giving out any new loans at this point, I'm closing down,” said Don Cohen, and now he turned to face Joel fully.
 
“I don't follow,” said Joel. “You moving – leaving Israel or something?”
 
“Something like that,” Don Cohen said and removed his glasses to wipe the lenses with a soft cloth. Without the glasses his face looked like the face of a child that had just been woken from a deep sleep.
 
“You won't have an address? I could send the money there,” said Joel.
 
“I'll have an address, in the cemetery in Holon, I already bought a headstone,” said Don Cohen quietly, and again he gave him a half-smile, and now it was clear that he was enjoying his own wit, and above the smile his face without the glasses looked astonished and even a little frightened. “They've given me two months to live, at the outmost.”
 
“I don't get it,” said Joel.
 
“It's cancer—terminal,” he said and put on his glasses.
 
“I'm sorry, I…” Joel began.
 
“No need, it's fine,” said Don Cohen.
 
“Fine?” was all Joel could think to say.
 
“That's the truth,” said Don Cohen, and in the end, a half a year later, when the whole matter was settled, Joel couldn't help recalling those three words.
 
“In the end though… in the end why should you see it that way?” Joel said warmly, and he remembered how Don Cohen's arms had shot out to the sides as if trying to grab hold of something, and he immediately heard the words flowing out of him, as if he was trying to grab hold too, “You don't look like it's the end. They say the way a person looks is what determines things even more than any examination. You're also moving around, no? In the streets, on foot? At noon, in the heat of the day, right? Going from store to store, no?” And he wiped his brow.
 
“I'm not handing out any new loans, but I have to go around and collect the old ones, I have to collect everything. Whoever pays early also pays less. That's what I wanted to tell you,” he said.
 
“Walking around like that, on foot, at noon?” said Joel, who felt like he was stuck but just couldn't let go. Of course he couldn't—just think of a man about to die, walking from store to store, office to office, going around collecting the money from his loans, at noontime.
 
“Of course I walk on foot, how else are you supposed to get around, on your hands?” said Don Cohen, and again he wiped the lenses of his glasses, as his face once more looked like the face of a child just after waking.
 
“At noontime…” said Joel—he just said it and felt what a complete idiot he was, so he tried to fix things and added, “I mean you could do it over the telephone, or through your lawyer, not like that, on foot, in the heat, not…” Then he fell silent and it crossed his mind that Don Cohen might think he was laughing at him that he had nothing better to do before he died than to go around collecting the money he was owed, on foot, in the heat of the day.
 
Don Cohen put on his glasses again, stared at him and made no response.
 
Joel decided to let it go and said, “Maybe it'll turn out to be a mistake—there have been cases like that—and every day they come out with some new medication, and alternative cures, there's… sorry…”
 
“No problem, you're talking real pretty,” said Don Cohen.
 
“Yeah, I get it, sorry, I…” Joel stuttered and now it crossed his mind that Don Cohen probably just thought he was putting on a pity show, like when he had called to him from the car, “Wait a second, I'll be right with you!” and it was clear that he couldn't be right with him sitting in a car at a stoplight. Such doubts had never crossed his mind before, he was after all known to his friends as an empathetic person who really cared about the people around him, but the truth is he had never had a chance to actually help anyone, especially not someone whose help he himself needed.
 
“You have two weeks,” said Don Cohen, and again he repeated that if he would pay early he would pay less, and if he didn't pay on time, then his lawyer would see to the whole matter of doing whatever was necessary to collect on the guarantees immediately. It was clear that with this he had closed the discussion. Joel said he understood and that he would take care of it and got up to go. He was confused but didn't even know why and instead of turning to go down the hallway he turned towards the closed glass doors, beyond which the awful living quarters had been earlier revealed. At the last second he stopped, apologized and left.
 
He stood on the sidewalk out in Aliyah Street and people jostled him from all sides but he didn't know where to take himself. His mother happened to be at the shop and at home there was Liat and the baby. He turned down Levinsky and hadn't been there for a long time. The mounds of spices surrounded him, the sharp pepper and the sweet pepper and the cumin and saffron, and the bay leaves, along with teas from India, China, Ceylon and Persia—the spices and all their scents—along with the smell of salt and vinegar for the green and black olives, the salted fish and the pickled fish, the bonito and the cod and the dried, salted baccala—which was hanging naked in the heat giving off the smell of the sea—not to mention the smell of meat roasting in the kabob stands and the baked oil rising from the trays of bourekas—everything was alive—even the sudden gust of exhaust from the cars which filled the street, jostling each other there too—it was all part of life, perfumed and stinking, as life is.
 
He almost got dizzy, but kept walking down the street all the same. He wasn't hungry but still bought two fried hamburgers and a quarter pound of pickled anchovies from Gabrielov's store. He crossed over to the other side of the street, to the North side, just for a change, and walked back up, with his left hand holding the plastic container of anchovies and a hamburger, while he held the other hamburger in his right hand. He walked slowly up the narrow sidewalk and every now and then somebody would bump into him from the front or the back. He went walking along taking bites from the hamburger in his right hand. At the same time the fingers of the same hand somehow managed to fish out the little anchovies from the sauce of oil and vinegar in the plastic container and put them in his mouth, and he chewed all the food with the juice dripping down his chin onto his shirt. He got back to Aliyah Street, and that was it—he saw he'd finished the hamburgers and anchovies. The plan at that point was to turn down Aliyah Street and walk back to the center of town. He stood still for a moment, then turned on his heels and went back down Levinsky. What else did he want to stuff in his mouth?
 
Then he saw the halva—a big chunk, and somehow before he had missed it. Maybe because he'd been so involved in eating what he already had he'd failed to see it; maybe now he noticed it because it was in the sun which had started turning from South to West so it just so happened that the sun's rays and his eyes met simultaneously along the mound of halva like two edges of a right angle. Oh, the way it shined, in all its glorious sugar and oil, wrapped in the cloud of its own living, sesame scent—almost sickly sweet. He recalled Celia—of course, who else? He used to walk down this street with her. He was no small talker back then too, but when they walked down this street she used to tell him, “Enough, be quiet for a while.” They would walk in silence, grabbing a little bite here and there, until they arrived at the main course. She couldn't control herself when it came to the halva, even when she was doing well on one of her few diets. Her face would light up as she chewed and sucked at it, to the point that he gave that look the name “halva face”. How much time had passed since he had left her? He recalled her face shining and thought of the lumpy, large, naked body which was so white that it sometimes glowed in the dark. He couldn't believe it himself but his body began to perk up. It shocked him but he told himself he was just tired, and that he hadn't even altogether begun to digest all that had happened to him at Don Cohen's. Where would he go to rest? His cell phone rang. It was Liat to tell him that she was off to her mother's with the baby. He told her that was just great, went back home, lay down on the beautiful couch in the living room and slipped into the heavy sleep of someone sick.
 
He woke up late in the afternoon and almost got up, but didn't. He sat on the sofa with his legs crossed. The rays of a ripe sun shone through the slits in the drawn shades and lit up the beauty and character of their living room—delicate straw mats on the floor, sketches and tiny watercolors on the walls, a unique combination of plain old furniture with real antique pieces in mahogany, and the modern details—all the result of careful selection and choice which both he and Liat had tended to. She had designed the sofa herself so that it shouldn't be too hard or too soft, and the upholstery was precise—that's what she had termed it—it was almost like her skin, smooth and rough at the same time, the kind that causes you to want to caress it and hold still all at once. He stared all around and kept staring but something incomprehensible was happening to him, as if the sofa he was sitting on had slipped away beneath him and everything all around him in the room had simply vanished. He sat there alone in the middle of this nothing—which was even worse than nothing—all alone by himself in the middle of something, but—what? It was a type of material, some sort of essence, some… is there a material or an essence to what we call shame? His hands flew out sideways as if trying to grab hold of the back of the couch.
 
“Don't lose it now! Get a hold of yourself! Open your eyes! Look around you, look real good!” he said to himself. “What do you mean all alone? You're in your house! Yes, your house, with your Liat, your beautiful Liat, and little Nilinka, she's also yours! And everything is beautiful and a great success, first class! Not Celia! And not the darkened moldy little room where Don Cohen lives! Where's he and where are you? And what's with Celia altogether? What shame?”
 
That’s what he kept repeating to himself and a bitter wave of sadness gathered in his chest as a result of the things he was saying, it gathered and rose and broke within him and washed over him. His body shook and he couldn't control himself, he just burst out crying. He couldn't remember when he had last cried like that, but all the same he wasn't taken aback, as if it was understandable being surrounded by all these beautiful, positive things and suddenly crying away, like it was all one. There was even something pleasant in it, something almost sweet in the bitter tears. From time to time he would stop and then start again—who knows why, maybe because it was a pity to give up something so dear. It went on until he heard Liat entering the house with the little baby. He hurried over to the bathroom, washed his face and dried it off. In the mirror he saw how crushed he looked. Through the closed door he told Liat that he had to run out and take care of something, and he slipped away with his red, puffy eyes like a thief with his haul.
 
It wasn't seven yet but the shop was already closed. Inside it was still cool from before and he gathered that his mother, Mira, had just left a little while earlier. Even after he turned on the air conditioner the coolness remained pleasant. There was something soft about it, something almost familial you could say, it wasn't that blistering, harsh cold that you find in other air-conditioned places. Maybe because of the chestnut closets which softened the cool air, old closets like that, with more wood than glass, as if they weren't meant to display merchandise but just guard it—and dust, too. His mother would wipe them down every now and then, but somehow it always turned out that after they had been wiped down there was even more dust on them than before. He'd really let the shop go in recent years, ever since the desire to make films had grown so strong inside him. During the time when they were renovating the apartment—and particularly once the filming had begun—he had tended to miss full days of work. Mira stood in but the clients wanted a trained professional hand and not some sweet, dreamy woman. She did have blue eyes, almost as wonderful as his own, but she also gave off the smell of fried hamburgers. Clients started slipping away so they decided to hire someone to step in. Joel was busy the day that they had scheduled the interviews with three prospective employees, and Mira chose an optometrist who had a tic in his right eye. She had a weakness for people with disabilities, thinking that they were somehow more trustworthy than others. And the truth is that the guy with the tic didn't steal anything though he also had no success in getting old clients to return or new ones to sign up. Joel said that when it came to an eyeglass shop you could hire someone who had something wrong with his ear but not a tic in the eye. The two of them laughed it off and that was the end of the discussion. It occurred to Joel that Mira might even be getting some pleasure from the way he had let the shop go. He sat there taking care of bills and saw how she looked around at the empty spaces in the display cases where nobody had bothered to restock new merchandise, and then raised her head and looked at the picture of old Mr. Kichler —may he rest in peace—which hung up on the wall. She looked at it and gave it a little smile, as if telling him, sure, there you go, your all-important eyeglass shop! What other reason did she have to be smiling at him?
 
An hour passed and night came on but he didn't turn on the lights. The glare from a nearby streetlamp made its way in through the front window. He moved around a bit, stood still for a moment, sat over here a little, then over there a little. He was confused. All this sadness, this shock, and those tears, what was it all about? He told himself it was all just a matter of frayed nerves. Because of the debt. And because of his failure too—yes, he had to admit it, the film had been a complete failure. Of course he had barely had any part in the actual making of it, but all the same he had invested his dreams in it, and money's no small matter either. That was it—he wasn't used to failing or being in debt. Until now everything had just fallen into his hands rather easily—nothing great, but all the same, it had been pretty good, till suddenly… the truth is that in his heart of hearts he didn't fully comprehend what had happened. What's more, you could even say that deep down inside he hadn't been aware until now that he had failed and that he was in debt, just like he hadn't been aware that he was bald. It was already three years that he was almost completely bald, but all the same it took two mirrors, one in front and one behind, for him to see exactly what he had left on his head, or didn't. As soon as he stepped away from the mirrors, though, it was like his full head of hair just popped back in.
 
Another hour passed. He kept looking into the mirrors all around him—really rather handsome, a delicate, expressive sort of good-looking. His lips were well-formed and carefully shaped, and even when he was quiet it seemed like something was stirring inside them, as if any moment they would emit something wonderful. Some woman had once told him that pearls came out of his mouth in a stream, like a real necklace. His major selling point was his eyes, which were a deep blue underneath thick lashes. He carried all this beauty simply, like something that went without saying, without any pride and without any false pretenses of humility. He let his face shine easily on all and sundry and it was clear that he knew he was handsome but all the same didn't make a big deal out of his looks. It was as if he was asking: do you like what you see? Please, go ahead, have your fill, enjoy! It was only at the shop, facing the mirrors, that things changed. Often, when he was still just a boy, they would leave him at the shop in the afternoon hours. At seven he would close up and remain inside alone. The same display cases surrounded him, with the same hollow eyeglass frames, along with the memory of his father whose tiny sharpened features, with their concentrated expression, reminded him of a little screwdriver—the kind he used to use to tighten the screws in the frames, sticking out his large tongue to one side as he tightened them. Back then Joel already knew this was the destiny that awaited him, being the offspring of a family of generations of opticians.
 
It was then that he would feel the longing for something else well up inside him like juice running from a press. He would turn to one of the large mirrors and it would seem like the eyes that stared back at him were a window opening onto something very distant. Back then he already knew that a face and eyes like his were meant to belong to someone sublime and unique, not just some little optician, not even a great optician, nor the owner of a chain of eyeglass shops throughout the country. He already knew that a face and eyes like that were meant to belong to someone who made really special films. In the years after the army, when he was studying optometry, and even after he had already inherited the shop from his father, his looks strengthened him and helped him keep on working away at all the screenplays he had begun. There was some sort of tacit agreement between his face and eyes, like he owed it to them to do everything he could in order to make these films, and they, for their part, owed it to him to make it happen. Aunt Bertha, his mother's sister, who admired him when he was just a boy, was more precise. She had looked deep into his eyes and declared, “Italian films, that's what would suit you.”
 
The whole thing seemed pretty comical to him all of a sudden. “What a real serious guy—his own eyes in the mirror dictate all his dreams and plans…!” he teased himself. And what about the role his eyes had played in his first meeting with Liat, huh? It was at that little party for people from the film industry that he had seen her, with her back to him and her face in the mirror, her trim body and little black dress that fit just right. He approached the mirror to get a better look at her. She noticed something and also looked at the mirror and it was there that their eyes met, with his eyes right beside her wonderfully mysterious green ones that reminded him a little of the smoky butterfly marbles of the same color which had been his favorite game as a child. Of course he couldn't help thinking how well her beautiful green eyes suited his own wonderful blue ones. He recalled it all now and laughed and even said out loud: “Just fantastic, huh?” as if he was sitting with friends who always filled him with confidence. Suddenly he felt how tired he was and thought the time had come to go back home. All the same he didn't feel comfortable, like he had forgotten something, and this something wanted him to remember it, pecking away inside his head the way a bird pecks to get at the inside of some seed. It was then that he felt the window begin to shake.
 
A man and a woman were standing there embracing against the windowpane. From his spot inside he could only see the woman's head. He saw her from behind, her hair and her back, how it pressed against the windowpane. She had on a light blouse and a flowery skirt, but the man was squeezing her so tightly that you could almost feel her flesh against the glass. When it came to the man he could only see the edge of the face and the head, and the hands, he saw his hands, which were embracing her, feeling along her shoulders, descending and feeling her hips and thighs, then rising again and falling once more, up and down, as if looking for a way to enter her. Immediately he noticed how the woman's ass was also pressed against the windowpane, and it was clear that the man was leaning against her with the full weight of his waist. Maybe it was too quick for her and she was trying to get away from his thighs, or maybe they were just changing positions, but they immediately began to roll around and turn over standing there against the glass of the windowpane like people turning over and rolling around lying down on the ground. Now it was the man's back against the windowpane—pressing less against the glass than her back before—and the woman's hands embracing his neck. They immediately began to roll around and turn over again and again. The windowpane shook. Joel asked himself if it wasn't going to break beneath their weight and if he shouldn't get them to stop out there. But he didn't move. He just stood there like he was hypnotized. The warmth of their flesh and the desire of their bodies embracing passed over to him through the glass, and the glass was so alive that it seemed as though it was aroused itself and breathing heavily. Once more they rolled over, reached the edge of the glass and fell away—as if they'd never even been there.
 
And then again, like back home on the couch, a bitter wave of sadness rose through him that he just couldn't stop and he burst into tears.
 
 

 

 

 

Copyright © Yosef Bar-Yosef 2012. English translation © Yosef Bar-Yosef.
 
Yosef Bar-Yosef was born in Jerusalem in 1933 to an Orthodox family, seventh generation native to Eretz Israel. He studied Jewish philosophy, kabbala and English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After working in the merchant navy and in construction, he later became a journalist and editor. A well-known playwright, Bar-Yosef has written 14 plays, which have been performed in all of Israel’s major theaters. Over the last 15 years, many of them have been produced in Russia, mainly Moscow and St Petersburg, and also in the Ukraine, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, India, Brazil and the UK. Bar-Yosef has received, among other awards, the President’s Prize and the Israel Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Theater (2003).


 

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