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May 2nd, 2005 by Joe Jaffe

Facelift for a Fisherman’s Hovel

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. (more…)

May 2nd, 2005 by Joe Jaffe

Fisherman Reuven

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. (more…)

May 17th, 2004 by Joe Jaffe