When I was three years old, I underwent adenoid surgery; my mother Z”L told me I squirmed so much that it took two nurses to hold me still as the scalpel went up into my nose, all I remember (yes, these experiences are indelible!), is a white enameled basin full of my blood, the doctor’s face looming giant over me, and cocaine drops in my eyes for anaesthesia; he was our GP ten more years and we became friends because he helped me understand the skeleton in his clinic, and instead of talking condescendingly to a kid, would explain for half an hour the marvels shape of the sphenoid bone, or such things. I never considered a medical career, but mom always encouraged me to learn science, art, and all I could.

I left school in grade six, bored with its slow pace, to learn electronics by myself, then at 14 switched to photography and was hired by a local press agency, where as soon as I bought my own camera I started being sent on assignments; I was already fluent in four languages besides Latin and Classical Greek (this last one is quite forgotten, but still subconsciously useful to decode scientific or legal terms ), built illegal transmitters and TV sets as a hobby, and hitchhiked all over Italy; on my sixteenth birthday Mama Z”L surprised me with my own passport and one hundred dollars to go wherever I wanted and shoot pictures in my name, instead of my boss getting credit and awards by putting his byline under my photographs.

The story of my marriage is beautiful too, but deserves more space and will be B”H told another time; I was already married to Shoshana, we ran the “Piscean Connection” food coop cum Bluegrass Festival food concession in ‘73 at FSU in Tallahassee, Fl. and we took flying lessons; failing the color perception test qualified me as a volunteer for a Molecular Biology experiment at NASA, a blessing in disguise which gave me a chance to learn about Electro-Optics and the future Internet, then project PLATO of (D)Arpanet; I too believed that it was a genetic handicap and relied on Kodak test charts for my photos’ color balance…

Last Lag baOmer I drank some cheap whiskey at a party and immediately passed out, falling flat on my face; when I regained consciousness I saw in the mirror my bloody nose bent almost 90 degrees to the left and instinctively straightened it, despite the unbearable pain no psychedelic experience ever was as rich, my world immediately switched from Ektachrome to Kodachrome, richly saturated hues finally showing me their harmonious relationships, as if on a car radio a football commentator’s blather had miraculously been replaced by a Bach chaconne or canon in the middle of suddenly vanished Istanbul rush hour traffic.

I rushed to the Israel Museum and wandered three hours among the paintings, then to the Bezalel Academy to see more art and color, filled with amazing joy at the wonder of Creation, and at the gift of visual understanding I had never even prayed for, all my innovations in ergonomic lighting and holographic transmission through fiber optics which had been so far only based on calculations were now graphically alive in my artist’s mind, finally eager to share them with the world in physical form.

Miriam, my three month old daughter of when we left Florida for S.Francisco (one more great story for later, about the House of Love and Prayer and its mass Aliyah to Moshav Modiin…) is now a sweet mother and very talented painter; to spare her waiting for posthumous fame like that of Van Gogh or Modigliani I started to build for her an Italian restaurant, excellently located in downtown Jerusalem, like I did twenty years before on the Moshav, where her mother is B”H doing very well with “Luciano’s Hosteria Napolitana”.

Bureaucracy and shortage of cash to finish the project led me instead to turn the downtown Jerusalem building into the “Beit Midrash Ohel Hana for Art, Science and Torah” which is in essence one more “House of Love and Prayer” (perhaps you remember “J.A.G.U.A.R.” in the Old City…). The project includes AMEN’s www.jstraight.org outreach center to prevent suicides and divorces (no one was around to help me prevent mine, so I had to start it), the “Jerusalem Straight” newspaper, the www.jerusat.tv TV studio and the “La Strada” Center for Contemporary Art, where on openings guests will enjoy Luciano’s Neapolitan Cuisine gratis (donations to keep the center going will be humbly but very gratefully accepted, of course).

With thanks to HaSh-m for restoring what I once was angry at H-m for having denied me, my new eyes to better see H-s wonders, I plan to open the gallery on Rosh Hodesh Elul, August 24th. I thank the Master of the Universe for the whole rainbow including IR, UV and beyond both of them, symbolizing the Holy Covenant which I honestly keep in First Class without looking down on those flying Economy, inviting them instead to upgrade by following Reb Shlomo’s teachings; I never saw or heard him in Black and White, but no one can say that he was not a tzaddik without having to account for that in the Beit Din shel Mala

AMEN is on Rehov Ezrat Israel 5, the little pedestrian lane behind the North side of Strauss St. going dead end from Yafo St., and I am looking forward to welcome, entertain and feed you readers of Mimaamakim, but please tell me in advance when you want to come, because until there is a budget to keep it open 24 hours a day a must occasionally go places; I can be reached at producer@jerusat.tv or at +972-547862821, all the other phone numbers you might have are no longer in use.

Shabbat Shalom,

EGO

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