Post 349: A Story of Israel in the 1950’s including an emtional re-union and an eggplant recipe favorite since the 1950’s

I received a copy of this story from a friend.  The  story is  presented solely by the author, and The Times of Israel.

Miracle on Dan Bus #4 by (I was not able to edit out the white space)

Miracle on Dan Bus #4

Miracle on Dan Bus #4

MARCH 27, 2016

Esor Ben-Sorek

It was a very hot day in July 1951. I was in Tel Aviv and too hot to walk. I boarded Dan bus #4 on the corner of Ben Yehuda and Gordon Streets.

The bus was very crowded and there was no available seat. I had to stand next to a Yemenite woman holding a live chicken under her apron.

People were chatting, discussing with fervor the day’s news, each one offering a personal description of the political situation, everyone with a different opinion. As is common in Israel, every person holds himself to be the authentic source of “inside” information. This one said “I have a cousin in the police force and he told me……..” Another replied, “that doesn’t make any sense. My neighbor’s son is in the army and he was telling us……” And from the rear of the bus, a
passenger shouted “who cares? Nothing will change soon”.

At each bus stop some passengers alighted and new passengers boarded.
Now there were a few empty seats and I grabbed one in the middle of the bus.

As we approached another bus stop (I can’t remember which corner), three or four new passengers boarded. One elderly lady stepped up to the coin box next to the driver and deposited a few coins.

Suddenly, looking at the bus driver she gave a loud shriek. “Moishele,
Moishele, Moishele mein kind.”

The driver jammed on the brakes, looked at the elderly woman and cried, “Mama, Mama, is it you Mama?”

Both were Holocaust survivors from Poland and each one thought the other one was dead.

Jumping up from his seat, the driver embraced his long-lost and presumed dead mother and both hugged and hugged and both wept bitter tears of joy.

All the passengers clapped hands. Several were weeping from the joy of seeing mother and son re-united. One passenger jumped off the bus and hailed the next approaching bus. He shared the news with the new driver and requested him to notify the Dan bus company to send a relief driver.

None of us left the bus. A relief driver appeared about half-hour
later. Passengers sitting in the row behind the driver got up and gave the seats to the mother and son, still clutching one another and weeping with heart-wrenching sobs.

At some point, our original driver and his mother left the bus while all of us clapped hands and the Yiddish-speaking passengers shouted
“Mazal tov. Mazal tov. Tzu gezunt. A sach nachas”.

I never knew where they were going. Probably to the driver’s home so his mother could meet his wife and her new grandchild.

All of us were so filled with emotion that it was difficult to contain ourselves. There was not a dry eye among our passengers.

It was a hot July day in 1951. ButI will never forget the miracle on Dan bus #4 on that very happy day.

Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel.

Can’t add another word. I think about this story while traveling by bus around Jerusalem. Invariably the young people are intensely messaging on their phones oblivious to the surroundings.

I was on my way home a few weeks ago on the #19 bus and it became clear that a bus ahead was stopped in the next bus stop. It wasn’t clear however whether someone on the bus was sick or the bus had broken down. There was no space to  maneuver around the bus and car drivers on the corner were growing impatient. Tempers were getting the best of the drivers. My driver used good judgement.

He got out and entered the intersection and began to direct traffic. He threw up his arms in the traditional Israel “patience” gesture. He heard the disabled bus start up again; he scrambled back onto his bus and slipped behind the gate and we were on our way!

Since eggplant was the staple of the 1950’s Israeli diet, it seems appropriate to give it a new twist. המילה העברית “חציל” היא  פי המילה הערבית הנדירה حَيْصَل. The two words in Hebrew, “Chazile” or Chazilim” and Arabic are almost identical.

Directions Grilled Eggplant and goat cheese- changed to baking in a toaster oven. (

  1. Prep: In a large bowl, coat eggplant with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. I placed a tray in a very hot oven to allow the eggplant to cook thoroughly. 
  2. Arrange the baked eggplant slices on a tray. Place a slice of tomato and a slice of goat cheese on each slice of eggplant. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the tomatoes and cheese. Top with remaining slices of eggplant, and secure each bundle with a toothpick covered in foil. This can be arranged on carefully cut baking paper.
  3.  Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until softened and melt in your mouth delicious! Fresh mozzarella can easily be substituted if you don’t like goat cheese. Now you have finished off your “grilled” eggplant in a toaster oven


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