Armenian Jerusalem
This is the man that lived with pride and dignity throughout his life. After graduating fro St Tarkmanchats , I went to work for him at the Jerusalem Photo Studio which was right at Jaffa Gate. He was known to every one in the city of Jerusalem as (Mukhtar of the Armenian community. I worked for him about 3 years before I came to the USA. Fresh from high school I was very attentive to every word he said and showed me how to do things. He did not show me only the photography business.He taught me many aspects of life.. He was respected man not only by us Armenians, he was also respected by many people around him. He was a peacemaker and solved many issues.He protected the Armenian youth from the Haras Al Watany (”national guard”, conscription by the Jordanian army): shop keepers,Taxi drivers, Coffee shop friends even simple individuals that usually used to hang around the shop. He committed himself to help the poor and the needy. Every Saturday right after he came back from having lunch with his family, he used to stand at the steps of the shop and hand out 5 piasters to every one who came and extended their hands to him.Many of them came back for more since they were covering their faces. Early Saturday morning he used to go the the meat market and the vegetable markets and ask the merchants to donate meat and food to the old age home which was run by Catholic sisters. By the time I came to open the shop the stairs were full of many different food items. During the week when he was notarizing papers for some clients, and they asked him how much they owed him, he always said, “there is a box at the counter, just put as much as you like.” Saturdays just before he went home, he hired one of the taxis and we used to fill the taxi with all the food items and I used to carry the money box - we never knew how much money was in it - and I went with the driver to the old age home and dropped the food and the box.. He was paying the driver for all the expenses, and neverdiscriminated and hired the same driver.He always gave every one a chance. Anyone who passed by and stopped to talk to him on the steps of the store was offered cup of coffee or tea. He was not extending only one hand out to reach other people, he had both arms out to reach every one. He was well respected by the Armenian Patriarchate, the Greeks, the Roman Catholics and Latin Patriarchate. He was not only my boss, he also was my leader and at the end he gave me the title of Mukhtar Junior. His best moments in the shop were when he had a cigar in his mouth and he was retouching the negatives to make someone look better in the picture. When he was there to take pictures of little children he used to prep them and have them sit on the chair and watch as he covered his head with a black sheet and said “Bader, Bader, Bader” and clicked the picture. The 3 years I worked for him were like going to school all over. He became part of my daily life and treated me just as he treated his children. He will always be remembered. I owe him all the respect in life.I know he was not happy to see me go, but he always said, “go seek your future.” He was indeed a legend and he is in the history books. God Bless his soul and may he rest in peace and I am sure he is continuing his good deeds in heaven.
site of photo studio, to right of center