(Sol's song" \ Gaya Katzen (nee Rechniz"
Debbi 0fakim, 89 pg., 2016
The journey took three weeks. I had no idea what lay ahead. I was young and innocent – all of 19 years old – a young woman who’d grown up in a farming village in a developing country. What did I know of the world? But I had no qualms, because I was with Sol; I loved and trusted him…
She was the daughter of Eastern European immigrants to pre-state Palestine, raised in the just-founded, tiny farming village of Raanana. He was the son of Jewish immigrants to America, newly discharged from the US Navy and volunteering in the newly-formed Israel Defense Forces’ War of Independence. It was in Israel that Gaya Rechnitz and Sol Katzen met, fell in love, married…and four months later were on a ship back to the US.
Gaya never forgot the journey or their first months in the US: a farmer’s daughter from a rural village in a just-formed country, it was her first glimpse of the world beyond Israel. Everything looked foreign, different, and exciting…as well as intimidating. Yet she knew that as long as Sol was at her side, she could overcome any obstacle. And she did.
Not only did the young couple make their way, but they made their mark: Sol became a leading figure in the livestock feed industry, while Gaya raised three children and managed households in three countries. In the 1970s, they kept the promise they’d made themselves: They returned to Israel…but their wanderings still didn’t end.
Following Sol’s death in 2013, Gaya Katzen (née Rechniz) began writing Sol’s Song, a story that crosses centuries, continents, and languages; the story of Gaya’s and Sol’s roots, and their joining together and intertwining their fates.