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Jan 30, 2008

me and Marcell

When I came to Israel for yeshiva, there was a popular barber in Jerusalem. That would have been Marcell, and his barbershop was located on the Midrachov (pedestrian mall) of Ben-Yehuda street.

I went to him once. He was the most expensive barber in town. I think at the time he charged 40 NIS for a haircut. I could not understand why a haircut would cost so much. I remember when I sat down and he began my haircut, he wrapped me up and stuck my head in the sink and washed my hair (chafifa in Hebrew) before the haircut. That was the first time a barber had ever done that to me and I thought it was pretty weird.

I will add that it was also the last time a barber ever did that to me. But not because of the hairwash. I never went to expensive barbers. I always consider it a waste. Maybe if I had hair like a John Edwards or a Mitt Romney I would have considered it worthwhile..maybe. But my hair is more like Barak Obama (short and styleless), so it is a waste of money to pay for an expensive haircut that looks just like the haircut I got from the guy in yeshiva , and I was not going to pay just so the guy would wash my hair for me!

So I indulged myself just that once, and after that went to the yeshiva barber for my buzz.

When sitting in Marcell's shop, I was amazed by the pictures he had on the wall. He had pictures of various Prime Ministers, such as Yitzchak Rabin, Yitzchak Shamir and Menachem Begin, among other important people. One would wonder why these pictures would be hanging in a barbershop, but that answer was that all the important and famous people in Israel, including almost all the Prime Ministers and many other Ministers and Presidents got their hair cut by Marcell. I wondered if Yitzchak Rabin (the PM at the time) would walk in while I was there and sit down in the chair to get a haircut!

Who cares about all this nostalgia?

Yesterday evening I saw an article that Marcell, the barber of Jerusalem, has closed down his store. An era is gone. Marcell has retired.

Marcell is over 80 years old and has had his barber shop for 50 years. He cut the hair of Teddy Kollek, Yitzchak Navon, Shimon Peres, Ehud Olmert, Yitzchak Rabin, Yitzchak Shamir and many others.
Marcell talks a little about what he experienced - "Peres was always a perfectionist. He always went out tip-top. He is an elegant person, from his hair to his shoes. His hair always looked amazing - a hair never moves out of place." "teddy Kollek, he says, had very unkempt hair. he would not care about his appearance or ceremony. he was modest and his hair was longer and more unkempt than by others." Yitzchak Navon used to keep his hair in the borrow and save style (where someone with a bald top grows side hairs longer and sweeps them on top of his blad top). I felt it was professinoally inappropriate and I amde him cut his hair shorter and not hide his baldness.... Also Olmert, whose hair I cut many years, took my advice and stopped with the "borrow and save" hairstyle."

What about State secrets, with all these PMs and ministers sitting in his chair?

"There were many, but they all knew that by me everything stays in the safe.."

An era of haircutting is over...

7 comments:

  1. They say barbers and bartenders are the therapists of the world. I bet Marcell knows some amazing stories.

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  2. I went to Marcell many times over the years. He was expensive and no matter when you show up-even early in the morning in the middle of the week, his shop was packed with customers, but I never walked out disappointed. All of the barbers there were/are fantastic.

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  3. I use Leon on shmuel hanavi.. he is great and PACKED!

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  4. i just didn't bother getting a haircut when i was in yeshivah altogether.

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  5. LOZ - I would have thought Marcell would have been just your type for the historian in you...

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  6. I imagine he is retiring but the shop will remain up where is it exactly?

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  7. the article said he is retiring and shut the store. It will now be a beauty supply store, or something like that.

    ReplyDelete

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