The Man and his Sun by Silviu George Klein

This is the prologue to another of my fathers books. Ironically he speaks of his fathers memory, he took to the loss of his parents with strength and purity, it still killed him slowly each day…

This book is “The Man and his Sun”. Again, there is a bit lost in translation, still beautiful just the same. My mission is finding a bit of time to edit and publish all his books. He has probably 15 books of poetry, prose and fiction literature, an auto biography and countless other treasures. One day…One day…

I dedicate his words to all

The Man and his Sun

– June 2003 –


The memory of your father, if it lasts long enough, you might have the privilege of climbing along, back to the Mountain again, even if is just the pretext of short stops to catch your breath and when the alpine vegetation gets shorter you’ll gain the right of seeing the very top, sharp peaks piercing clouds, touching the sky. Rubbing your eyes, distances are at your reach, no matter how far they are, no matter how high.

Early in the morning gives you the independence of running freely, to voice loud and clear your most intimate thoughts, to look around and to see the sheep dogs aligning the flock, reaching the green plateau in perfect formation, then dispersing to chew the grass until a whistle has the reminding power of announcing the time of going back to the shelter. The shepherd doesn’t seem to be present, but the dogs are and they are waiting with alertness for any of their Master’s signal. It always comes sharp and decisive, waking up the whole valley, making wolfs backing up, making the sheep dogs proud of their job in a slow walk advancing to the harbor.

Up there your gain is that you are offered with no reservations the freedom, that unmatchable self inflicted power, until you reach the peak, where you rein the infinity bellow. That alone brings you on a shiny plate the total immunity, fund only there and is your choice of taking advantage of it now or later. This is also a sign that the control is yours, not as a dictator, just an observer of all openings nature offers.

Your father is here again and shows you whatever you’ve already seen but from a totally different angle, to obey to your own will, which should be always stronger than you are and more determined to take action in defending you against the evil side of human impulses.

Your father will follow you wherever you go, sometimes far behind, not to bother. That’s his special way of suggesting you “Hey, do you mind turning left at the edge of the woods. There is the path you are looking for…” Indeed the path is there. Sometimes you turn around feeling a company. You shake your head “it cannot be him” and a large, generous smile invades your face “oh yes is categorically him”.

Just remembering your father takes you to the lake where falcons are circling, where the peak reflects in the clear water telling you about your limited reach, teaching you how to stretch your arms to touch it and how to hide that image inside you to last as long as you need it.

Late at night, when the counting of stars begins, your father leaves, having the work well done for the day.

If it happens you hardly remember his face, all what you see is probably just clouds changing shapes, letting to select a picture you wish to be framed. If my choice is the one to the right, it gives you the chance of choosing the one in the middle. You knew that you’d get this just because we think different. Even if I would have chosen mine, you would still have your second choice. When three portraits are hanging there, your possibilities are unlimited, same with the desire of having all tree compressed inside one single frame, or adding to the number of it, creating a multitude of frames. Lucrative minds find solutions to change, like if we would arrived from a space where time is no object and every encounter with the mystic would engrave an unfamiliar image, we should rely on that picture which couldn’t make the selection, just to confuse the one who is watching.

Oedipus From time to time

Another of my fathers prose. He was fascinated with the myth of Oedipus, and found deeper meanings within the mythic fables. This book (another not yet to be published) this masterpiece is another gem waiting to be discovered on my hard drive. Now I share one of the “Speeches”, as each chapter is a speech, each chapter holds value. Enjoy…

A collection of speeches called late encounters
With a lonely spirit

by Silviu G. Klein

1. The blind

It came with a strike of silence when the heart begun pulsing backwards in a rhythm close to frenzy. The capacity of enlargement quadrupled and the emotions swept with a cruel and unbelievable velocity just before the high tides invaded unguarded beeches displaying no mercy. Once in a while one, chosen by random survives and the miracle is obsolete, coming with no demand, no desire to outlive those who are drowning in self inflicted misery. What could be ever worst than betraying yourself, generating vulnerable spots large enough for open targets to be precisely hit with no margins of error.

Those moments in your life are beyond being regrettable; they will follow you wherever you go, with the spectrum and shape of a gruesome nightmare, inerasable and bitter.

They are no real connections with anything we might know and stirs emotions or even panic. Stubborn explorers are uncovering the surface and what is revealed is no more than an illusion meant to derail our hopes. That point on the horizon, where the passions intersect the focus of disillusions, was chosen by random and staring too often became a goal of our journey to a vanished world. Surrealistic image… not every beauty should be a target, not every crash can be avoided; it will always be the main stream that doesn’t drift, just flows with the speed of concerns… That’s all what is left to be aimed at?

Did you ever imagine, before seeing, those immense tides ready to conquer the land with a sharp upward move and then to capture the fruit of it with a cheerful sweeping retreat? When it was taking and hiding and keeping with a marsupial care always beneath, always shoving to anyone the unimaginable appetite… The beaches weren’t deserted completely; we just couldn’t assimilate disappearance after so much life being there before.

History is repeating with perpetuity, most of the time without giving us clear warnings, without making us aware of fire or flood or earth shaking vanishing powers once in a state of total submission. Those times are not with us and our life moves on, like nothing happened and we are behaving so strange after is gone, we are not even bragging about. The life after life would not be the subject if we would not have invented it. Who would be more qualified to mention pain than the one in several millions which have served hard labor? It is a cold inferno with no fire ever, with no combustion of any kind, where naked bodies are shivering in the cauldron, where the screams are frozen before being heard. The question is why the sufferers end up being moved from one inferno to the other? Perhaps it is a strange farce of destiny attributing pain piled up over pain with very little to follow; less than we hope in our fantasies accompanied by a music borrowed from another reality, the one which never becomes what we expected and always is fading away with a speed easy to pursue by foot. We are in a bizarre habit of ignoring life itself and paying more attention to the waves mounting successively and covering waves.

Soon after, the bad spirits learned about impassivity and assaulted us with an increased rage of destruction taking our imagination for a rollercoaster ride and invariable ending right here where we begun dreaming. It is no different than the theory of an object fallen from the night table; the dream ends when the object hits the floor? My theory is that it was the force witch saved us from being exposed again, or crucified for our rebellion.

We got caught in the reverse angle of views due to the presence of so many mirrors. I could have read the text on the wall, it still doesn’t make sense as much I try reading backwards or upside down… it shouldn’t be a wall here but all the reflections locate it where doesn’t suppose to be. If I remember well, the nearest wall shown on my map had a different shape and the location plus the character of it is with any doubt, wrong. My fingertips are touching the map forcing me to change direction. I continue to grope until I stumble and falling straight on my face, vomiting I couldn’t make the rational move. Spitting sand I remember seeing shapes, getting trapped in the image and still wonder by the touch of the beauty. How could that be in this light where shadows are not following objects, projecting always the next object in a totally different direction, like we are living in a immortal transparent world where the absurd is so common that nothing surprises us anymore?

All those silhouettes are so alive in my memory that I could smell the colors; I could taste the reddish gray of the mud and when I feel the breeze touching my hair and I refuse to believe it. I could step back, touch the breeze and sail underneath your wings, to show how thankful I am for the gift of still sensing the perfume of your body; nothing compares with this feeling of plentitude… I hesitate stretching my arms afraid that I’m not going to reach you.

“Dad, my eye hurts” I remember the gulf by the smell of carcasses penetrating my nostrils. Time passed and I still keep the smell. I don’t wish to return to the gulf even if my parents are peacefully resting there. I’m not sure… it was the last time I held my father’s hand and before we said good bye I heard his tears sliding on his unshaved face. “Dad, could you come closer”, he coughs dressing his voice “Son, you can’t get anything closer than this”, he didn’t want me to know, he was hiding his tears. “Dad, don’t leave now, my eye hurts so bad” I tried to impress him.

It was late and my dad left already, a little bit unbalanced, I know it by the sound of schlepping unevenly his feet. He couldn’t hear me being too close to the river’s torrent and kept distancing from me while my ears turned and kept pointing towards the direction where he left.

21 Days in Paradise, Day 20 by Silviu George Klein

Another excerpt from my fathers auto biography…he never made it to publishing. He passed on his 58th year…We were refugees from Romania…This book is written in 21 chapters. Each chapter is a “day”, signifying important events that lead him through life…This chapter is a very personal one to me, and also shows how life was in Romania during communism.

Day twenty Gabriela

With the precision of a modern time machine and a very primitive count on my knuckles, exactly nine months after Dana, together with Oana came in my life, Gabriela showed up, enlightening my life again. At the hospital, when Dr.Balaban the obstretician, showed me a strange little dark thing with wrinkles and half closed eyes, I said to myself “How can she be that ugly?”, so ugly that very next days became an adorable, delicate, health bursting, cutest little baby. What can be that compared with, to hold in your arms your own piece of art, flesh and blood?… Nothing to compare with! Simply, a rare moment.

Help from all over, friends and relatives. Baby-sitting services were offered to us in abundance. First Dana’s parents, divorced for almost two decades, came to wonder to the Trovatorien entrance on the stage of their second grand child, Gabriela who knew how to suck and cry, that’s about it!
Dana’s mother, Irina spent most of her life after divorce, on the magnificent Hydropower construction sites in the Carpatian Mountains. I heard so many names we had in common – my father’s best friend and comrade from political prison, Bella Gilbert, the general director of all Hydropower construction sites in the Country – plus many Engineers, fellows from College, or people I met during my visits there. Irina, very natural took command and care of Gabriela, the way a loving grandmother does.
It was an isolated moment when she simply left unannounced the house and we found Gabriela crying in her little bed. Questioning Dana about the incident, she explained “The long years of living alone in those hard conditions… Can you imagine an unmarried women, between so many poor educated men?… Those years now are getting to her. Please understand and leave her alone” I tried to understand but I couldn’t. When she showed up the following day, I asked Irina, now my mother-in-law, to give me an answer to her strange act. The answer came with no words. She packed and left, deeply insulted?!… just like that! We didn’t see her for the next three years.

I had to take precious days from my vacation time to baby-sit myself, when Alexandru Blidariu and my father came to offer their honest services.

Alexandru, my second father-in-law, not very highly educated but with a good provision of decency, did what humanly possible in watching and feeding Gabriela. I never knew that a terrible thing… the TB virus was eating soundless his lungs and weakened his body. I wish I knew. It was ignorance of his part? It was! Ignorance and naiveté together. Excuse? Yes and no. Gabriela’s life was in a serious danger, so quiet and hidden incarnated in those invisible aggressors that Koch started to build a war on, with a Napoleonian smart strategy. We are all grateful to Koch for its gift for humanity, same club with Pasteur, Einstein, Darwin, Freud and many other genius contributors responsible for our progress and well being. So many times, talking to my father we asked why the world is not ruled by scientists. No straight answers. Maybe the savants don’t have enough time, or maybe are disgusted of politics in its essence, maybe it is no talent at all, even competence, or just a refusal to get accidentally dirty or that overwhelming sensation like myself trying to explain the infinity… I didn’t succeed to get an answer since.
Gabriela start losing weight, a constant fever was burning her little eyes and fragile body. We brought her to a pediatrician, a lady physician with a solid practice, at least on her imposing resume. “Common cold… Easy to treat… Some anti-antibiotics, that’s all… Regarding the lost of weight, Gabriela is a nice looking would be woman and as you probably know, women has to be slim and sexy…” was the Doctor’s verdict. The “would be woman” didn’t heal at all in the next several days. Worst, she deteriorated long day after long and panicky day. We gave her what the doctor prescribed, plus several advises, what I remembered my own mother doing. Nothing worked! I grabbed Gabriela and rushed her to Dr.Epstein, family friend, lung specialist and the Director of the Infectious Disease Hospital. A short consultation, Roentgen machine… followed immediately by the verdict: “Take her this minute to Lugoj! Do not waste time, the infection is advancing rapidly approaching her brain. The danger? Meningitis. Possible result of it? Brain death! Go fast!” I grabbed the phone, my friend Valy Balaban showed up in a few minutes, we didn’t have time to wait for the endless formality of obtaining an ambulance. Main reason was the shortage of gas and to get an ambulance for a trip outside the City limits, had to be approved by a special bureau located at the Municipal Building, the wing occupied by the Municipal Party Committee. We were totally unprepared, did not stop us to rally to Lugoj. I was holding Gabriela in the back seat repeating “Faster Valy, let’s go faster”… I can not relate now or ever how Goethe’s poem and Schubert’s Earl King Lied came to me. I did not mention God’s name before… I did it this time addressing him my hottest prayer ever “Please show up right now! I am commanding you to do something! This minute! Don’t let it repeat! Don’t let the old King taking Gabriela from me! Don’t let Gabriela hear his disgusting, sweet calls!”… Was I heard? Did I was pardoned ever for my gutsy words?
Valy did a wonderful job: in less than a half-an-hour we entered Lugoj, after a ride of forty miles, to the door of the hospital. A team of doctors were waiting for us in front of the main entrance. Dr.Epstein, I am grateful for everything he did that day, called to announce our arrival, mentioning also that is Motzi Klein’s granddaughter. Everybody in Lugoj knew my father, one way or the other. Gabriela became the little sick princess, grabbing doctors and nurses heart, not only because my father’s “fame” but the sad look in her eyes. Nostalgia? I was never able the read entirely that look, during my every other day’s visit. Gabriela didn’t show that she recognizes me, her mother or her grandfather. She was just looking through the vertical wooden bars totally passive, unimpressed, a stranger who doesn’t realize the world is in, like an amnesia… Never smiled, just mumbled something unintelligible, shaking her head in slow rocking moves like an abandoned sail boat in drift.
At Dr.Epstein’s request, the whole family had to go through a strict lung examination – Oana was found infected too, so she had to be admitted at the same hospital. Oana was already nine years old, her lungs were not severely affected but the virus was there and had to be treated accordingly and kept away from future aggravations. The virus had to be defeated, no question about and no effort considered too much. It was an unfortunate, but great help for us. The nine years old Oana-Larisa replaced a carrying mother, for nine full weeks. We kept her a bit longer than necessary at doctor suggestion “A sister can do more than the best nurse. Mentally…” Oana enjoyed plenty of gratitude from me and later her baby-sister.
Lugoj, my native town came to the rescue the way Providence comes, with the wings of my good angel! God was present too…

Gabriela was discharged in December. Age on year-and-a-half. She learned to walk and talk. Late is better than never. She gained her weight back, we had to forget the ordeal. Life went on. Oana was never jalouse, she was her adoptive mother, not a bit less…
Oana came closer to me every day passing by. One day, minutes after getting home from work, warming soup in the kitchen, I overheard Oana screaming hysterical from the living room. I jumped from my chair and found Oana on the couch, holding the lamp from the bottom and exploding eyes staring air, I snatched the lamp from her tight fist and threw the lamp against the wall. “In that moment, I thought that I will die for sure…” she told me later. Looking at her hand, a deep wound on two of her fingers and a smell of burned flesh. I said to myself “Providence again? Good angel again? God?”

Same year we brought Oana to the Clinic for an out-patient operation of polyps. Dr.Kerecsi asked me to hold her on my knees, to facilitate the procedure and to prevent possible unexpected moves of the child. Had to be immobilized, I did it. Hurt me a lot at every one of Oana’s screams of pain and fright. Oh! those menacing sharp surgical instruments! After the operation was over, Dana her mother took her hand. Oana escaped gently “No. I want to hold Daddy’s hand!” It was the only time ever Oana calling me Daddy and not the usual Silviu. She called me “My Dad”, but only at the impersonal third person, when talking about me with her friends. I can not forget Oana, now we call her Larisa, saying that word at the hospital – Daddy will go a long way in my heart.

After we brought Gabi home from Lugoj, we decided to get married. Dana’s divorce was finally pronounced. We had to go through the annoying process of changing names. Gabriela too, because at the time of her birth, legally, the child was named after her mother’s identification documents. All of them were Mosoiu. Immediately after wedding, all of them became Klein, even Oana, a quick process this time, process of adoption. A simple affidavit and the mother consent. When I told Oana-Larisa that her full name is Oana-Larisa Klein “starting today!” she asked “Does Gabi have the same name” when I said yes, Oana stated simply “Good, is fine with me.” I didn’t expect more… They were no questions of what is going to happen with Mosoiu, the name, nor her true father. I explained “You can see your natural father whenever you feel like, but legally I am your father on papers. I would be honored to consider me more than a father on papers.” Oana looked at me and I almost could read a “don’t worry…” She never let me go too close to her heart… I wasn’t too pushy. I tried to expose Larisa to as many things I was able to, helping her on Math and Science. Something good came out of this later. Now Larisa, a Binghamton Graduate with a BS in Math is preparing for her Master Degree in a field everyone is asking me with respect “Isn’t that too difficult for a young lady?” I think, Larisa just answered…
Besides math, science and some help in Romanian literature, we gave her piano lessons. The idea came after I caught her a few times lifting with special carefulness the cover over the white ivory of our Foster upright piano. I enjoyed to participate to those lessons and frequently Mira Moric, the young piano teacher, performed Chopin, sometimes Mazurkas, reminding me of my grandmother. Same pieces and a similar sensibility. They are no two interpretations alike. Just versions of a first draft translation from a completely unknown foreign language.

July. Gabriela is healthier than ever. Back to the Retezat Mountains. This time Oana and Dana with our regular group of friends. Bridge, the dog, my devoted Brac came with us too, sniffing and waving his short tail, barking at the solitaire marmot’s, jumping in water, so much water in that Mountain, bleeding from every rock! When up on the highest peak, Peleaga all of us were crushed by the effort and dispearsed on the rocks. The only one still moving, was Bridge. I asked Oana “Aren’t you impressed by this beauty?” she looked at me candid “We came here that high and that far just to have a place from where to go back?” It was an excellent logic but “You can see down the valleys, to the little villages. See how little they look? And the peaks across… All what you see is now yours” Oana looked at everything I was pointing to, not deeply impressed by the huge piece she just start ownership on “Let’s go down, back to the our tent. I’m so hungry” That was an indisputable logic. We went down, light the camp fire and had a delicious dinner from cans and a hot soup from powder. Then rum, tea or vodka followed by a deep, well deserved sleep. One full week in the middle of Retezat was for me always more than I could have ever ask for.

Back in Resitza Oana finally gave me some satisfaction “Silviu, after all it wasn’t that bad… Up there I was so tired. Can we go back sometimes soon?” With that sentence she was without any doubt, my girl!
Dana changed jobs. First she ran a tabacco store, then my father helped her to get an Art Gallery, Angora where artists displayed they art and craft.

Another year passed and my writings continued at a slow, very occasional pace. I was writing more about my discontents also comments with my close friends, former fellows from the Literary Circle, even next door neighbor. The cloud was descending over the City of Resitza, confusing the people, it was also a sound mounting from the deep. The place of the impact wasn’t the explosion expected. Was more like pain… The friend wasn’t a friend anymore, was a suspect, same with the neighbor or the stranger. Who was the informer you never new or you found it out one minute too late.

I got a summons, “an invitation” from Securitate. I went. A guard escorted me at the second floor on the corridor. The soldier told me to wait there on my feet, six inches from the wall. Three hours of wait. “I have to go to the bathroom” the guard didn’t hear. I repeat it laud. “Well, you didn’t bring the bathroom with you. Too bad… Tz, tzz, tzzz… Why don’t you use your pants?” After another eight hours, I used my pants… “You smell, you son of a…” he kicked me in the wet spot exactly where my knee cap was. Seventeen hours… The heavy door opened at last. I was called in. Questions about why I have the guts to write, with no questions of what. They knew and they read it. “Let’s see… if it is for me to guess what part of your body you normally use to create?” he pointed my midsection… then kicked… The room was spinning.
They dragged me down in the concrete soundless basement. Another ten hours in a cold empty cell. A bed and no mattress. I laid on the springs. Sleep and shiver. Cold? I don’t know… In pain? I don’t know… Humiliated? Very much.

I was released Sunday afternoon. Went home… Empty. Dana and the kids didn’t come back yet from Timisoara. A long shower. Went to bed. Sleep again, a mortal one. Ashamed or humiliated? Both.
When Dana and the kids came home Monday morning, I didn’t say one word about my two nights at Securitate, I didn’t tell my father. I did not know how to tell. They were no words for such a thing. I stopped telling myself about. No words for that… Now I finally understand why my father jumped after beating. He didn’t have words either. In my case I couldn’t jump from the basement… It was absurd. Next time, in similar circumstances, I will jump even from the basement. Do you thing that I’m telling a joke? I’m not!
I didn’t talk to neighbors anymore, I barely talked to a dear close friends. My mind was set: I have to get out of here. Now! I used all the cash I had. A tourist Visa, came an advise. Another eight months. Victory! The phone announced me that Visa to visit my relatives in Israel for a full month, thirty days, was approved. I ran home to drink my bottle of “Teachers, rare whiskey”. I found the bottle empty and Dana drunk, with her friend Claudia drunk too. I was furious for what I heard Dana talking “She’s kidding, of course… We are definitely coming back” and I gave Dana a mad look. She almost fainted “I was kidding, of course…” Claudia was a lawyer, and close to be promoted to Judge.

The only person I had the courage to tell was my father. I started to have doubts even that I confessed Dana my intentions to flee. We asked Irina again to come and take care of the girls for a month. I didn’t worry too much because, at that point in time, I had a trusty person in Oana, who never gave me any reason not to trust. Gabi was three years old. I knew that I won’t see her for a long while… I left them with a large smile. You know how that feel, to smile when it hurts?

Would someone be able to understand that in Romania, those days you risked to be arrested just telling a political joke to yourself?
Valy Balaban drove us to the Caransebes Airport, from where we flew to Bucharest. At the Baneasa Airport, my father’s friend and former Comrade in prison, Eric Vardan was waiting for us. Ironically was in the Securitate’s secret service. Eric knew my plan and I trusted him blindly. A Jew in the Securitate? Yes. An honest one too. Later, after his death in some very strange circumstances, I found out that Eric was also a CIA agent. Poor Eric, he wasn’t able to fulfill his dream to reunite with Katy Cimponeriu, his beloved wife. Eric accompanied Dana and I to the Otopeni Airport, where a 737 Tarom airliner was waiting to take us to Israel.


When I think of him

When I think of my father I get sad…Why do I remember the pain, the sadness in his eyes. Why do I focus on his suffering, instead of remembering his passions and how happy they made him. Why do I think of how life let him down, and him never complaining about it? Why do I wish he could have had more, given all that he sacrificed. He put away any wants for himself and sacrificed everything including dignity to survive…

When I think of my father I remember his eyes…the knowledge and power behind a fading facade. His life had begun to drain before he began to experience it. His father whom he loved and cherished, passed before his time. His beloved mother with whom he held the highest respect…died at also too soon. He had an underlying ability to feel empathy.

When I think of my father I remember how proud he was…Not about himself, but everything and everyone. He could make his daughter feel guilty because I felt that I did not deserve his credit. His achievements in the kitchen were never thwarted by my lack of enthusiasm…”have some of my stomach (tripe) soup!!!It is delicious…Come on have some, at least try it!”
All I did was complain of the smell and make fun of him, in a half serious way, he loved when I joked on him. He had a wonderful sense of humor! Although his jokes sometimes were lost in translation. Life gets lost in translation, along with love.

When I think of my father I remember how much he loved life… He never got to see any of it, and his desires were so great, his dreams were so large. I pray now he can begin to see. I pray God grants him serenity.

21 Days in Paradise by Silviu George Klein

An excerpt from my fathers auto biography…he never made it to publishing. He passed on his 58th year…We were refugees from Romania…This book is written in 21 chapters. Each chapter is a “day”, signifying important events that lead him through life…Remember, english was not his primary language, certain things are lost in translation. The beauty still remains.

Day 1 Resitza* My home town
March 1962, Adar 5722*.

A powerful industrial fortress, the City of Resitza*, blowing every ten minutes, like a metronome, a cloud of gray dirty smoke from each of its four deep furnaces, over the narrow valley of Birzava. Passover was coming with a sigh of Spring to our tiny Jewish community, to our gray temple, guarded by the Main Street on the right, high bushes of prickle on the left. The other two sides were homes, old homes attached, with bay windows at the edge of the sidewalk, for the old busy bodies to who is passing by and for what.

Just a few years ago the temple functioned as a large warehouse since early 1940, with no furniture at all. Little by little, in small groups, even if it was a part of the same ethnic group, people from the community brought over whatever they could, a chair, a box of candles, a talles*, a few glasses or a table cloth. A retired carpenter came and restored the Aron Akodesh from memory, not even a picture or sketch. The outcome wasn’t that bad. The temple, day-by-day got furnished, poorly, but you could see the pride and the excitement those people never had for long painful years.

The heavy steel bars encased in a strong mortar from the windows openings were removed, the thick plywood covering the windows replaced with white painted glass and some mosaic saved also from “those days”. Mr. Aspis was in charge with the maintenance of the temple and Rabbi, we didn’t have a real Rabbi, we could not effort one and they were not too many left after the War and after the 1959 wave of emigration to Israel. Dr. Shwarz, specialized contagious disease physician was acting as substitute Rabbi, self educated and after a three weeks course in a Jerusalem, he got the confidence of taking charge. Noting was formal, sounded like a play’s first rehearsal. The closest true Rabbi was in the City of Timisoara.

Well, with less than seventy Jewish families left, the temple was open every single Friday. Attached to the temple was a long building, looking like a hangar or barn. A good half of it occupied by Mr. Aspis’s residence, the rest served as “store area”, where you could find boxes of Matzoth or cases of Carmel wines and brandy donated by the Queen of Holland and Jewish groups from Israel. Those donations were the main source of Temple’s survival. Didn’t exist a thing as “Tax exempt – No profit organization”. Money from sales were used to pay taxes, utility bills, maintenance and Mr.Aspis’s personal salary. Dr. Shwarz was a volunteer rabbi, he never accepted a dime for his contribution and time. Sometimes it was difficult to gather the minien “ten men” necessary to hold Friday night prayer for Shabat and Dr. Shwarz, when necessary, use to call my father, my brother and I, to make up the number. About understanding of what is going on during the service – unfortunately, absolutely none. When he sang, Dr. Shwarz sounded like a mule, a chronic bronchitis, or a completely aphonic one. Nobody ever laughed at his voice. Hebrew sounded to me so different than all the languages I spoke or I was familiar with, maybe like Hungarian, which has also no similarities with other tongues.

My father did his best to prepare me for each event, with some stories, or a book. Despite my ignorance in Hebrew or Torah, I took very serious, almost solemn, all Friday night had Torah’s in Hebrew and English translation, left behind by Jewish American soldiers, then the Hebrew-Yiddish, plus one single copy of a Hebrew-Romanian. Who knows how got lost in some attic, or taken bare handed straight from the fire, when the Green Legionnaires “wormed-up their spirits” in the early forties. Somehow my father was able to make me share the responsibility of those meetings. “If we don’t do this now, we’ll have nothing left tomorrow… and the day after tomorrow will be to late to save a thing. Our goal is to try to keep it alive and to hope that your children will have something unfinished from you to continue…”Not even a year before, my father with his methodical and very slow way of talking, spent a few evenings talking to me about class Judaism, Jews, Torah, traditions, Pogroms, Holocaust, the State of Israel and the history of our family.

At the beginning I was terribly bored but night-after-night I started to pick up little-by-little the meaning of his words, to understand some of the stories and I even participated with some naïve questions. June 14, 1961 – my thirteenth birthday, after a very nice dinner with fried chicken and mashed potatoes and my favorite chestnut cake coming from the delicious Mother’s cuisine, my father took me upstairs, locked the door to my room and handed to me his present. It was Thomas Mann’s “Joseph and his brothers”. Then, following a long silence, like he couldn’t find the words, came the question “You wish to be a Jew or not? It is up to you and you have to think very serious about, because a lot of trouble might come because of this, in school and the rest of your life. You might lose some friends, but you will make others. Sometimes you may find it impossible to live with, but I assure you that is very possible, if you have enough strength within yourself and you realize what is the object to struggle for, what is at stake. Can you give me an answer now?” The answer came automatically, almost like a disparate scream: “Yes Tata*. I wish to be…I am a Jew!” He embraced me for a few seconds and told me with a note of unexplained in his voice “Then this is your Bar Mitzvah… Mazal Tov! You are a man now!” and he shook my hand, then embraced me again with a warm kiss. I felt so important for those few seconds and the rest of the night. When everybody went to sleep I took my book and the morning caught me sleeping with my face laying on the “Tales of Jacob”. On the chair, next to my bed I saw a flat box. I rushed to open it. It was my mother’s present, my first pair of long pants. I tried them on. Fit perfectly! I ran to give her a hug. She kissed me “Take care of your pants and don’t rip them the first day” then yelled “Nini, don’t be late for lunch”.

Very proud I went out on the street, especially for my friends to see my pants. It was too early, nobody showed up but I didn’t go back home, I waited until the first one, Romeo Pascu appeared at the corner. I ran to him and asked with a precipitated voice “See my pants?… I am also a Jew…” the whole thing in one breath. He looked at me very little impressed of my pants and didn’t seemed that he did paid attention to the second detail. I wasn’t very sure if I have to regret what I just said, matter of fact I wasn’t even thinking but when I finally did guess, Romeo was probably a bit jealous of me being a Jew, because for me it was so enlightening. He told me “Let’s play Katchkala*”.

We played Katchkala and the other boys showed up one by one. We played together until noon. I ran home for lunch polishing the plate in a few minutes. The boys were waiting the finish the game. Next day, back on the street, I heard a voice yelling from around the corner“ Nini Jidanul!” Jidanul?!!…Nini was my nickname – being only two years old, when anyone asked “What is your name?” the answer came from nowhere “Nini” it is possible that Silviu was too hard to be pronounced by a kid who just started to talk? Yes. It is possible. Still an enigma. They where smiling, amused. Nini was my nickname since! Even adult, in Resitza only, with very few exceptions, I was known as Nini Klein, for all my friends and family. In a conversation with my cousin Agi, years later, already living in the US, Agi asked “Does somebody still calling you Nini?” My answer, with a tone of nostalgia “No. Not anymore…”

Now the only sign of “Nini” is the password to access my computer and a very sweet souvenir. I ran to the corner and saw two of my friends playing cards next to the wooden fence. I ask “What Jidan means?” Petrica raised his eyes measuring me inch-by-inch, up-down and up again “I don’t know. Try and find it out for yourself…” Still on the street, when I saw my father coming from work. I ask the same question. His face became pale in an instant, his lips had a slight tremor “Nini, it is not a very nice word by any means. I’ve told that you may have to look for new friends. Jidan is a word I don’t want you to have in your vocabulary nor to forget. The content of it is too brutal for your young ears. Who ever called you that doesn’t know… or is definitely not your friend.” The whole afternoon I stood in my room. I don’t remember if I cried. I was sad, like the whole world became so unfriendly and alien to a childish spirit who learns how to swim upstream. Next morning Petrica came to my door and asked me out to play foot-tennis. He told me, like an excuse “I didn’t call you Jidan*. It was Otto.” I tapped his shoulder “Never mind… You are still my friend.” We played tennis. Otto Torocsik was on the opposite side of the net and stud there for ever in my wounded heart. How was able my father to know it? How did he anticipated such a terrible thing?The whole summer Otto didn’t show one sign of talking to me. I did the same. Romeo’s attitude was cooling down day-by-day until, one evening, going home together “What is the matter with you?…” He looked down at his tennis shoes “You know… Otto is my best friend…” and ran home leaving the gate bouncing.

I looked at the gate bouncing for a few minutes then I shlept my feet home. We continued to play together but wasn’t the same. The two opposite teams got a real shape as my father’s prediction. For an instant I resented my father and the Judaism all together. It was a very short instant, after that I resented my thoughts. “How could you have such thoughts?” I was asking myself. It was pure frustration, also anger or some of the actions we take when the boat is rocking, ready to sink. Can not be explained. We can explain anything a little too late. Sometimes we are born a little too early or a little too late. Never at the right time. How many times we dream of being part of such or such Era, considering that a specific one would be adequate for our talent, way of thinking, artistic or romantic inclinations. The problem is probably with God, who doesn’t have same priorities when scheduling our birth. Wouldn’t be better if we could reach up there and change the scheduling or at least ask for it. Strong feeling that is a bit too late for this. I am grateful to God that I am born and I can think and ask myself this type of questions. Does everybody think like that? Yes, I am almost convinced. How many times I asked myself about infinity? I tried to be rational. If the end is somewhere, then what is after that end? It has to be round, no other logic. But what is outside the circle? Another circle. And then?… Were the circles are closing? The ends are in infinite number, so are the circles. Now what is beyond the infinity?… We are! Our mind and our will, all together. After all it has to be God who makes us think about infinity and wants us forever confused. Infinity… He created it probably when He created the chaos. What’s before chaos?

Good Bye

Why do we forget the living
Yet remember the dead

Why is it always too late
To say the right things

Why do we take life for granted
We never appreciate what we see

When the night came
I had the chance

When the morning broke
I screamed in pain
I screamed in vain

I never said goodbye
I wish I had

If I close my eyes
I can still see you

If I close my mind
I can still hear you

It never remains the same
Life and her cruel heart

It is not always what it seems
Then forever falls short

Leaving behind time
Time to hurt for the past

In the name of…God?

Are you a good Christian?

Are you a good Muslim?

Are you a good Jew?

What ever faith you believe…
What ever happened to just being a good person?

Is monotheistic obedience leading to social and fundamental intolerance?
Are centuries of beliefs turning into a mass of ignorance?Do our beliefs poison society?
Did we not learn anything from the centuries of war?
Did we not learn through our enlightened knowledge that we are all so very similar?

Only consciousness separates us (if that).

In the name of God, Yahwey, Allah, Haile Selassie, Shangdi 上帝, Shen 神,Zhu, Tian Zhu 主,天主, Tian 天, Akal Purakh…
All these names, representing a common omnipresence.
A beauty encompassing power that can be both salvation and damnation at once…
These names give hope to millions and have inspired millions to do wonderful things.
So then, how did these names lead to some of the most unimaginable atrocities?

Is it in the name of God?
Or is God an excuse?

The meaning of God, what it represents, whether or not you believe…it is a hope…a sense of purpose…a reason…
All these names…The Name… God

I was recently asked if I was a good Christian. I am private about my beliefs, but it got me thinking on this topic.
My conclusion is this…whether or not you believe in anything is on you. Only you can make yourself happy. How you live your life and whether or not you are a “good” believer or follower is your decision to make, and is no ones place to judge.

And as for God…what God stands for is more than war and violence. Remember always, the potential is infinite.

The name of God…It is amazing what a Name can hold…