1927 - 2008

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Eli being a tall person, I always had to raise my head. Maybe this was the reason for my first conversation with him. Since he was tall and handsome, and had a spring in his step, Yossef Milo promptly suggested that he switch from being a stage hand to acting a bit part.

And since I believe Milo also had high expectations from Eli as an actor, he also suggested that he present himself for an audition. And maybe, were it not for the excessive shyness that was part of his character, and for his Yekke pronunciation and for many other things, Eli would have become a regular actor. (However, these things I mentioned and others, assisted Eli in not becoming that which he did not want to become in any case).

He used to call me Dave and I didnt object, maybe because Dave had this air of foreignness about it. There are two more things that I must say about Eli. The short khaki trousers he wore during the long summer months were the shortest shorts I have ever seen. And his tool kit as a stage designer was the smallest kit one could ever imagine. Yet, this tiny kit had in it any tool an expert surgeon would ever require. Had he told me that he had a winch in it, I would have believed him. Needless to say that the pencils were like sharp arrows, and his rulers and compasses were such that no astronaut would be ashamed of them. Whenever he relaxed he would pull out a cigarette from a packet that had its own place in the kit, (he greatly enjoyed smoking) and then say How about it, Dave?

In his work, as in all other matters, he was a tireless researcher. He read and violently shook up the plays he was working on, until it would seem the words were falling apart. And yet he knew when it was time to leave all theories aside, in order to allow creativity to take its proper place.

I will not talk here about our joint work, because I am liable to be dishonest to Eli not in the things I might say, but rather in the things I might miss out, due to the limited space available. This would be the wrong thing to do when relating to someone who was maybe one of the most strict among stage designers I ever had the chance to come in contact with.

I will just say one thing which in my opinion is the greatest of compliments:

Eli, or Eliezer as he was sometimes called, always knew what he was talking about, and always carried out whatever he was talking about.

David Levin, theater director

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Editor Roni Toren
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