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The proverbial picture is worth 1,000 words. The picture I'm thinking of is real and has to do with many thousands of words, or, more precisely with three Jerusalem Post writers: the Post's late environmental columnist D'vora Ben-Shaul, the legendary consumer columnist Martha Meisels and myself.
This picture hangs on the wall in my Jerusalem apartment. It was painted by my grandfather, Joseph Cornbleet, who visited Israel for the first time in 1967. Recently retired, he had taken up painting as a hobby and during his trip he bought some postcards to take back to England and copy. Among them was an image capturing the Bar Kochba excavations near the Dead Sea. Since I was always fiercely Zionist, I inherited the oil after my grandfather's death in 1977. Naturally, I treasured it - even before I realized that it had another dimension.
The painting moved with me from home to home, from London to Karmiel and on to Jerusalem. I discovered its full worth only in the early 1990s when, by chance, D'vora Ben-Shaul ended up in my apartment to use my computer after her car had broken down and she couldn't get back to her house in Rosh Pina. Having typed out her column and offered me the usual free and sensible advice about my many pets, she looked up at the picture and declared: "That was painted from a postcard."
How did she know?
"The woman with her back to you is me and the woman with the red head scarf is Martha. I remember when the photographer took the picture."
I was stunned. The revelation that the two women in the picture my grandfather had chosen to paint in England in 1967 were not only real people but people who worked with me as part of the Post "family" gave me an uncanny feeling. It was as if someone who had got into the frame of a holiday snapshot had come alive in my living room.
Sadly, neither D'vora nor Martha could recall the name of the third character in the picture, a man.
Since Martha died tragically young in 1995 and D'vora died two years ago, I now treasure the painting even more, as a reminder of my grandfather and two wonderful women.
The story might not be the most important in terms of journalism, as Martha and D'vora would almost definitely agree. The picture might not even be worth 1,000 words. But for me it is priceless.
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