ESRAmagazine

Love letters found by Yosef

Yosef Halper's bookstore, half hidden in an alley off Allenby Street, has been a haven for bookworms for 25 years. A warren of rooms, aisles and passages, both inside the shop and out in the open, it houses some 60,000 books, magazines and literary ephemera in many languages, though most are in English. Best sellers, art books, tomes on philosophy, religion and sci fi – it's all there; a jumble of treasure and trash.

But what few people know is that Halper's also housed, for a time, a collection of love letters which Yosef retrieved from a discarded suitcase left on Rothschild Boulevard. These letters reunited a couple who had fallen in love during World War II, parted, married other people, lived thousands of miles apart and lost contact for 70 years. Thanks to Yosef, the couple, Haig Kaplan and Ophra Carsenty, were able to find the letters and speak to one another again, before Haig's death.

It all started when Yosef spied the abandoned suitcase as he was driving around Tel Aviv. He passed it by and then thought again, and doubled back to pick it up. It was just in time – "literally, the garbage truck was just down the block".

Inside the suitcase, he discovered to his amazement,hundreds of letters written by a Jewish soldier in the British army, Lieut. Haig Kaplan from Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to Ophra Carsenty of Tel Aviv, as well as photos, invitations to balls and other mementos. 

 

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Friday, 26 February 2021

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