Yesterday, a reblogged post on LensScaper’s fine blog, lead me to Michael Fiveson, who had posted a beautiful graffiti image of Albert Einstein http://m5son.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/einstein/, and this in turn reminded me of a trip I took to the Tel Aviv University a few years ago… and how pleased I’d been at the time, to discover a street named after the great genius. And it was on that fine street, that I found the first graffiti portrait of him I’d ever seen.
The four lines that Mike had written under his photograph of a graffiti portrait of Einstein, brought a wave of thoughts and memories. Mike mentioned that he shared a birthday with the great man. And while I don’t have much faith in astrology, I was able to understand and share his pleasure at having been born on the same day. He also mentioned that he would have felt lucky to be either a chauffeur or a friend of the noted physicist, and this reminded me of two friends of mine, who had actually offered their services as a driver to men they regarded as heroes. The first had been a full professor and had visited our greatest writer, here in Jerusalem… just to get to know him. Upon hearing that he was about to take the bus to the center of town, he volunteered to drive him, and after they had both enjoyed the trip together, my friend offered to drive for the writer, whenever he might need transportation. Back in those days, a car was quite a luxury, and the writer accepted his offer, and my friend learned a lot from the time spent in his company. Some years later, I heard a similar story from another friend, who offered his services as a chauffer to a much loved Rabbi we both knew; a man whose company alone was a precious gift. This friend had the pleasure of driving the Rabbi all over the country.
Well, it’s too late to offer such services to Einstein, but it is a great pleasure for me to discover that graffiti artists have paid tribute to his genius even in far away cities. When he died, he left all his papers to the Hebrew University here in Jerusalem, and I had the great pleasure of reading parts of his journals, written with beautiful penmanship in green ink on white paper. Like others, I fell in love with his personality without any connection to his accomplishments in physics and mathematics. I am unaware of any street that bears his name here in Jerusalem, but I did find Einstein street in Tel Aviv, and I offer you a picture of the street sign, topped with an advertisement for BurgerRanch and CocaCola. I like the picture because it brings together the banal and the sublime, and reminds us that we’re all part of the same package.