Category: Mediterranean

May 2nd, 2005 by Joe Jaffe

Fisherman Reuven (2)

The following is a sequel to the story “Fisherman Reuven” written by Joe Jaffe and published on Szirine in 2004. Read them separately for a literary delight, together for literary theater!

Beneath my house in the ancient Port of Jaffa, there is a great barrel-vaulted room in which Reuven the fisherman lived and worked. He was a colorful character, wise and knowledgeable, though I doubt if he could read. We were neighbors for more than twenty years, and during that time we developed a tangled love-hate relationship.

I supplied him with electricity from an outlet on my balcony. He needed it, so he said, to provide a small light for mending his nets at night. But he abused my generosity and connected up a refrigerator, heater and a cooker, thereby overloading the circuit. There were endless arguments over the electricity, and there were periods during which I took punitive action and disconnected it altogether.

In hindsight I know that this was unfair, because Reuven provided me with a regular supply of fresh fish and seafood. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, Israel, Mediterranean

May 17th, 2004 by Joe Jaffe

Fisherman Reuven (1)

Jaffa is one of the oldest ports in the world, formed naturally by a protective string of rocks. For three thousand years it served as a small commercial port handling both goods and passengers. In the 1930’s, the British improved nature by building a breakwater, a modernization that extended the port’s use for a further decade. After the Second World War it fell into decline. By the 1960’s the sole remaining activity was fishing.

I always wanted to live by the sea. When I stumbled upon an abandoned ruin in the port, I resolved to make it into a home. This turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined, but eventually the complicated and lengthy job was completed. That was a long time ago. I have been living ever since, here in the Port of Jaffa.

Standing at my study window I can throw a stone into the water. I am a spectator in a front row seat, of the sea and its moods, of the coming and going of boats and the activity on the quay. It is a never-ending performance, sometimes dramatic, sometimes comic, usually entertaining and during the winter storms, awe inspiring. The term ‘front row’ does not fully describe my vantage point. I live upstairs, and it would be better to say that I am in the centre of the front row of a dress circle. I look out from a perfect height. Had it been less, the view would have been obstructed, and had it been more, I would have been distanced from the scene, particularly from the immediate foreground where so much happens. Read more of this article »

Posted in Fiction, Israel, Mediterranean