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I was born in Galati, Romania in 1954 as Iulian Rubin. In January 1962, at age 8, my family immigrated to Israel. I left behind two childhood friends: Dan Bumbar (then Bumbaru) and Rodica Teodor. When we left to Israel Dan was around 10 years old and Rodica and I were 8.
We all lived on Braila Street in Galati - Dan and me at No. 18 and Rodica vis-a-vis on the other side of the street at No. 15. But our ways parted practically sooner, since we moved to other neighborhoods in Galati, two years earlier, because our respective buildings were demolished and new ones were erected instead.
Our parents: Dan's (Floaria) Florica and (Niculai) Nicu Bumbaru; Rodica's: Georgeta and Sterica Teodor; mine Erna (Ella) and Israel Rubin - were engaged in a very good relationship and our religious different affiliations (I am Jewish whereas my friends were Orthodox Christians) hadn't any meaning in this respect.
I called Dan Danut and he called me Iulic
In 1979 I married Esther (Eti) Gedasy and we had our honeymoon in Romania. Naturally, we went to Galati and met my childhood mates and their spouses, children and parents (regretfully, Rodica's father passed away a year before).
Our ways parted again - we went back to Israel - since we all were fresh married with children and life burden took its toll.
In 2010, 31 years later, we (my sons Udi 28, Ron 23 and me) made the trip to Galati, Romania and Czernowitz, Ukraine in order to visit my grandmother's (Amalia Rubin) and grandfather's (Leon Bendit) graves there respectively. For more about this:
Naturally we visited again Dan Bumbar and his wife in Galati. We were not able to meet his children since they were not at home.
Regretfully, I was not able to meet Rodica Teodor since after her husband died she changed her address in Galati but Dan promised to locate her in order to organize a reunion for the three of us in the future.
Dan showed me my primary school (we didn't attend the same school) and "the ravine" (so we referred to it as children; in Romanian rapa) - large and very rich with trees and vegetation. We used to play there, as children, and especially collected snails and brought them home in boxes. My father (Israel Rubin, died in 1994 in Dimona, Israel) worked in a factory, a halva and biscuit manufacturer, located there that, regretfully, at the time of my visit the building of the factory was not in existence anymore.
But what was amazing about my reunion with Dan was the fact that nevertheless we practically parted when I was around 6 years old and Dan around 8, we remembered some amazing childhood experiences that were not mentioned even in 1979 since our meeting then had a different nature.
For example, I remembered that when Dan was less than 6, his father pointed towards the full moon and asked him "what is this?" Dan's answer "a round metal sheet" was not welcomed by his father of course.
I also remembered clearly that Dan's father asked both of us what we would like to be when we grow up: I answered "an engineer" and Dan "a firefighter" which Dan's father didn't like again. But guess what?" Who becomes a successful engineer? Dan of course, and I the author of this page.
On the other hand, Dan remembered that my mother sat both of us around the table and served us some food. I as a restless child (and adult) jumped all around and my mother reprimanded me "why, the hell, couldn't you sit calmly like Danut?"
Here jumps to the mind the question: if Dan was 6 years old, I probably was less than 5, so how could we had remembered clearly and vividly such details after 50 years?
Rarely children remember such details from a such early age after a long departure. I can attribute this only to the fact that we had a very intense (but short) and happy mutual childhood accompanied by good relations between our parents all which left their positive mark on our memories and souls forever.
I'm sure that this time we are not going to part again for the next 30 years.
Erna and her family left Romania in 1961. From then on Erna and Florica maintained some correspondence and sent photos but not a single living word tete-a-tete for 50 long years.
At my last visit to Galati (2010) I recorded a short video of Florica delivering a short message to Erna and vice versa - when I returned to Israel I recorded my mother, Erna, saying Hello to Florica.
I showed Florica's video to my mother and sent hers to Danut to show his mother. Emotions, on both sides, were as expected high since the women were sincere friends for years.
This was the last exchange between the two since both were, at the time, in their 80s and a short time after that, regretfully, both passed away within a few months.
The videos in Romanian follow: