Sunday, September 16, 2018

Book Review: 'Heaven and Hell: An Inspirational Biography of a Man's Victory Against All Odds' by Yair Dori

“The first time a man gets hit, he is weakened, and then he becomes stronger.”

Israeli author Yair Dori’s grandparents fled persecution in Eastern Europe. He was born in Argentina and ultimately moved to the State of Israel, the national home of the Jewish people, is ‘the only place in the world where every Jew can live a life of dignity and security.’ He served honorably in the Israeli Army in an elite infantry brigade. During a bloody battle with Egyptian forces, Yair was critically wounded and captured by the enemy. After 10 months in captivity in Egypt, his right hand amputated, blinded in his left eye, and with wounds all over his body, he returned to Israel as part of a prisoner exchange agreement. Despite his physical condition, Yair did not lose spirit. He studied philosophy, married, and returned to the army as an education officer in the Paratroopers Brigade. After his discharge, he entered the business world. Yair established connections in Argentina and founded a thriving media company that brought South American programs to Israeli and Eastern European television. He became known as the "King of Telenovelas". As a result of his efforts many famous Latin American actors and singers have performed in Israel. He served as President of the Israel-Latin America Chamber of Commerce and has received international recognition for his extensive activity in the entertainment world.

In this immensely moving autobiography Yair shares his life of overcoming obstacles few of us can even imagine. In his opening pages his sense of goodwill and involvement with the reader is evident – ‘I’ve gone through the school of hard knocks more than once, but I’m grateful for that. For those invaluable life lessons helped me to evolve: When I was born Victor. When I became Yair. Yair Dori. Two separate identities in a single lifetime that were also part of a duplicity. In the warm silence of my mother’s womb, I already sensed the other: we were two, Daniel and I. Twins. Before we were even born, we shared the same sac that united us both, and ever since, loneliness is a feeling I’ve never known. Now that Daniel is gone, and the mirror reflects only my image, I’ve begun reviewing my past. I realize that a thick rope still anchors me to life, even though an unfaithful knot has slipped loose, leaving me suspended in air, scanning the frozen abyss of death like a tightrope walker. Life — Death. Twins, like us — they have shuffled the deck of my fate. And yet, it is Life that has always been the stronger of the two. For I can see now that this path, the one I was destined to follow, beckons me like the unwritten pages of a book. And there are many chapters yet to be finished; about love, travels, adventures, intrigue, deceit, loss, and things I cherish.’

The impact of this fine book will echo through our minds and likely bring us back to re-read his thoughts and his philosophy. Highly recommended on so many levels. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.


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