My friend Alba and I have many things we share in common. She is a Catholic and I am a Jew. Her homeland is Cuba and mine is Israel. She despises the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and I dislike the Israeli autocrat Binyamin Netanyahu. She has never been to Israel and I have never been to Cuba. She speaks fluent Spanish and I mutilate the Spanish language.
Lo siento mucho ! Mi espanol es muy limitado !
My wife and I met Alba and her new husband Pat on their honeymoon about 45 years ago in Acapulco, Mexico. Rahel and I fell in love with both of them and they in turn fell in love with both of us.
Alba reads the TIMES OF ISRAEL every night and I read it every morning. She loves Israel and prays for its peace and tranquility. I love Israel and pray for the downfall of the present mal-functioning government.
She is a former teacher and I am a former professor. She writes e-mails to me every day and I respond to her every day.
When I tell her that I am old and tired and want to retire from my writing, she chastises me and reminds me of the promise I made to Rahel prior to her death in 2016 to continue writing for the TIMES OF ISRAEL.
Alba loves Jewish cuisine, especially our Israeli falafel and hummus. I have not tasted Cuban cuisine but if it tastes anything like Mexican cuisine I will keep Montezuma far from my doors.
Alba loves her dog Katie and I love my Israeli Canaan dog Atara Carmit.
She prays for me every day and I pray for her in my morning and evening prayers. She prays to our God in Spanish and I pray to Him in Hebrew. Lucky for both of us that God is fluent in both languages!
I think of Alba as a beloved sister and friend. I know that she considers me a friend but I’m not at liberty to say what else! (Profanity would be censored by my editors).
I am comfortable sharing with her my emotions and sentiments, things that my children tire of hearing.
While the closest and dearest friends of my life over the past 68 years are all in Israel, some no longer alive, Alba is the only Cuban friend I have ever had and I treasure our long-time friendship.
She has a dear Catholic friend in Florida, Grace, who has made almost a dozen trip to Israel over many years and is a lover and supporter of our Jewish State.
Alba shared some interesting news for me this week. She wrote that if she wins the lottery she is going to buy a luxurious apartment, maybe one of Briga’s in Tel-Aviv or maybe one in Herzliya Pituach. She has her eyes on the 26 floor apartment in Tel-Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
And she has promised to build an apartment for me adjacent to her and Pat on the 26th penthouse floor.
I declined her offer telling her that if there was a power-failure and elevators were not functioning, I would be damned if I would climb up 26 floors. My body would probably be found dead by the time I reached the 8th floor!
Alba and I laugh together and sometimes cry together but the blessing is that we are always together in heart, soul and mind in spite of the many long miles which separate us.
We share the two greatest gifts which our One God has given to both of us: our mutual love and respect, and our blessings.
I hope that her prayers will succeed in ridding Cuba of Castro as I hope that my prayers will likewise succeed in ridding Israel of Netanyahu.
A Cuban Catholic and an Israeli Jew live as beloved friends with things we share in common.
And we still pray.