Yesterday, at 9am New York Time, my beloved grandfather, Alex Gorani, passed away. It was 4pm here in Tel Aviv and I was about to go and see my cousin who lives in New York and now visiting Israel, when we got the bad news from New York. My grandfather was 97 years old and lived an exciting life in three different countries. He had a beautiful and devoted wife, who passed away 9 years ago, a few mistresses, two daughters and seven grandchildren. We all loved and admired him. If I had to sum up his life in one sentence it would be: He did it his way, all the way.
Alex was born and raised in Lublin a town in east Poland. He was a Zionist and a member of the “Hashomer Hatzair” youth movement and thus immigrated to Palestine as a young man in 1931. Upon his arrival in Palestine he joined Kibbutz Negba – a short adventure that wouldn’t last long. Alex was very worried about anti-Semitism in Europe and managed to bring most of his family to Palestine before world war two started. Only his oldest brother -plus wife and child – refused to leave Poland and were murdered in the Holocaust . Alex never forgave himself for failing to convince them to leave. In Palestine he met Zehava, his wife to be, although wife is probably not the accurate term since they never really got married…Alex found out very soon that the Kibbutz life and ideology are not for him…He was a real capitalist and entrepreneur and decided to leave the Kibbutz and the socialist ideology for others. He worked hard in different construction jobs and became a contractor of the Brits who at that time ruled Palestine. He did well in business and over the years became a successful building contractor. Some of his buildings are still around in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv… My mom and her sister were raised in Ramat Gan and had a happy childhood although “dad was always very busy” according to my mom…
During the early 1960s Israel went through a major recession. Grandpa lost lots of money and couldn’t do what he loved most – build new buildings. His two daughters weren’t young any more and he decided to immigrate to America. He landed in New York in 1963 with nothing but the cloth on his back. Alex soon got back on his feet and with the help, trust and belief of local business men, started a new life for himself. His wife joined him in New York and worked as a nurse. His two daughters stayed in Israel, got married and had children of their own. In New York he started building again, mainly in Staten Island, NYC, and with his life’s passion filling his existence again, life was smiling at him. My mom inherited his passion for building and became an architect.
Even though work always played a major role in his Life (he worked 7 days a week) my grandfather loved life and the good things in life. He loved alcohol, fine food, dancing and the company of beautiful women. He never moved back to Israel, even when he could afford it, but thanks to him his grandchildren visited America many times, and had wonderfull childhood adventures in the land of opportunities…In the last few years he suffered from dementia and couldn’t work any more, but was surrounded by good friends and family (my cousin took over the business and lives with his wife and children in New York) and till the end, he enjoyed life and every thing it had to offer.
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