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Rica Goldin 1922 - 2021

Rica was one of the first friends I made after I arrived in Israel. We met at an ESRA Tel Aviv Monthly Talk, discovered we lived around the corner from each other, and soon were in regular contact. Rica had a good sense of humor, was a dedicated reader, a lively storyteller and frightened of hardly anything or anyone. For example, during the Gulf War, when people were told to stay home with gas masks ready, Rica declared that both she and her dog needed to walk. Out the two went every day, to deserted streets, for an hour's walk.

We often, by chance, browsed together at the nearby second-hand book shop. She had been buying books there for years. One Friday morning she said to me, "I can't find anything I want". Turning to the owner of the shop, she said, "You should lose your licence to sell books, because I've read every book in this shop. Some more than once." There was a twinkle in her eye.

Rica's son, Arye, told me that some years ago Rica went into hospital for a minor operation. She took a fat book of 500 pages with her. The doctor was taken aback. He asked, "Why did you bring such a big book? You're here for only two days, not two weeks." She answered, "I'll be finished with the book this afternoon and I'll need another one by tomorrow morning."

When did Rica become a member of ESRA and start delivering ESRA Magazines? I asked her, she replied, "I don't remember. Sometime in the 20th century". At one stage she delivered about 40 magazines, mostly on foot but occasionally by bus, to wide-spread areas of the city. This activity gave her stories galore for telling at the monthly Tel Aviv Storytellers meetings. Her most well-known story was about her fish, which she at last wrote down and had published in, of course, an ESRA Magazine.

Another of her stories was about her husband, Zalman. He was an engineer who, early in their marriage, worked down south on the construction of a road to Eilat. A journalist from abroad arrived to interview him and travel with him, his partner and Rica, to the construction site. The route there was extremely bumpy. Back in Tel Aviv, Zalman wanted to know what had impressed her most. The journalist replied: "The driver."

Rica was born in Jerusalem, August 9, 1922. She was 11 months old when her family left for brief stays in London and in Belfast. The final destination was Cape Town, where she spent an enjoyable childhood. She told many stories of her exploits at school with her friends and with her siblings at home.

Rica completed her education in Johannesburg and trained as a Hebrew teacher. She was good at figures and worked in an office as a bookkeeper, as well as teaching Hebrew.

In 1948 Rica left South Africa for Israel to join the Haganah as a part of Machal. Further adventures ensued and more friends were made. Her last posting was to the Headquarters at Ramat Gan, where people dictated to her while she typed, in Hebrew and in English. One of those people was Chaim (Vivian) Herzog.

After her discharge she continued working there until her marriage to Zalman Goldin. They lived in the heart of Tel Aviv, soon joined by son Arye and daughter Chava. Rica then taught English. She worked for a number of years at Lady Davis Secondary School. On retirement, she simply changed her teaching venue to the nearby Community Center and volunteered teaching English to the older generation.

Chava remembers Rica having striking good looks, with a delicate skin and dark red hair. For most of her life she looked a lot younger than she was. In her early forties she took her dog out for a walk every day. A young man started talking to her about her dog, and dogs in general, and they crossed paths fairly often when she walked the dog. One Saturday evening she ran out to the cake shop on the corner to buy a cake for dinner. The young man was there and suggested they go for coffee somewhere. "I can't," said Rica. "I have to get back home." He asked, "To your dog?" "No," she said, "to my guests, husband and children." She turned and rushed back to her apartment. That was the last time she saw him.

Years later she wrote this poem: 

Ninety!

Why shout it to the rooftops?

You're ninety (90) – so what?

Just years or an inverted sixty (60)

It's all the same.

Just a name.

It's how you feel inside.

Sometimes you're nine (9),

Learning new things all the time.

New stories to tell.

Just try to keep well.

I regarded Rica as acquiring her humor from England, her storytelling ability from Ireland, her courtesy from South Africa and her chutzpa from Israel. We lost her on January 16, 2021, aged 98. Her family, friends and I remember her with love and smiles. 

 

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Wednesday, 28 July 2021

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