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Architecture and Urban Planning - A Memoir \ David Best
I 1950 - 1960
Cultural Life in Tel Aviv
   Two decisions were slowly presenting themselves for my attention in the spring of 1953. I had enjoyed the opportunity to be a designer in Rechter's office, but I considered that there was little I could learn there about the organizational framework of an architect's office, which I felt was necessary for me to know.  At that point in my career I was also becoming more interested in Town Planning, having become a devotee of Lewis Mumford whose book "The Culture of Cities" had replaced Sigreied Gideon’s "Space Time and Architecture" by my bedside.  I was looking for a change of employment. The second consideration was more connected with my personal life outside architecture.  Every Friday afternoon I would meet Rina's uncle, who was a public official, and join him for lunch in a restaurant in Tel Aviv's Geula Street, which catered for high Government and other Public officials. It would be the only decent meal that I would have during the entire week. Afterwards I would join him in the weekly drive to Jerusalem, to spend the weekend with Rina's family. I had eventually got to know her uncles, aunts, and other members of her family, all of them originally from Russia or Poland. The young uncle, I discovered, also wore a hair net at night and I must confess he appeared always immaculately groomed.  I liked them all a lot, and the feeling was reciprocated. I was particularly fond of Rina's aunt Riva. She had had the most dramatic life, escaping from Warsaw Ghetto with a Polish army officer, who was not the first of her, many dashing officer friends. When she was young, I was told, she was a real beauty, petite with natural blond hair and large blue eyes. By the time I knew her, she was middle aged; stout, with a very damaged left arm from a sniper's bullet, which had wounded her during the Ghetto uprising. But her spirit was undiminished. She was a highly cultured woman with an opinion an every aspect of life, with stories of the old country that could have filled up several novels by Bashevis Singer. The family considered her too talkative, I found her enchanting and I believe she reciprocally enjoyed my company.  Her elder brother, Meir, who was Rina's father, had been killed on the last day of the War of Independence in Jerusalem, 1948. He was 51 years old.  Rina, the eldest of two daughters was then in the army. Although of course, the uncles and aunts helped her, Rina nevertheless took upon herself the responsibilities of supporting her family. Her sister Zvia was still a schoolgirl, and her mother had been traumatized by the loss of her husband and it took a long time before she recovered.  My mother had died in 1950 at a relatively early age. She had been ill for a number of years, but before that she was a bright and active woman, full of personality and zest for life.  In retrospect, it seems that there was a sort of symmetry between Rina and I in our respective premature loss of a parent, both of whom were strong personalities. I do believe that the resulting maturity and reciprocal sense of responsibility towards our families, which we both experienced as a result of the early and sudden death of a parent, was a very strong foundation for our marriage. It took place on October the 22nd of 1952, in a small Cafe in Talpiot, the suburb of Jerusalem where I had visited Agnon together with Richard Kauffmann.
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