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Like many women, I have always carried a handbag, or rather, shoulderbag with me. Over the years many bags have come and gone, but they have always tended to be large, capacious, and filled to the brim with all manner of items. I call it my life-support system, and would be completely lost without it.

When my children were small it contained baby and child essentials (rusks, pacifiers, baby toys, etc.), but these are now no longer to be found in my possession. Instead my bag contains the things I need to take me through the various stations of my day (the allusion to the stations of the cross is not coincidental).

By now, I have brought the art of changing bags from the dark one I carry in the winter to match my winter shoes or boots to the light-coloured one I use in the summer to a very high level of sophistication and efficiency.

Admittedly, the bag has become very heavy over the years. It contains my purse, in which I keep my cash (notes and coins), credit cards, driving licence, Sick Fund card, and a great many other plastic cards which accord me membership of the loyalty clubs of most of the shops in my local mall. But that’s far from everything that’s to be found in my bag.

If I ever have to wait anywhere I must have reading matter on me. So I always have a book or even two in my bag. In Israel everyone is required by law to carry an identity card, with one’s name, address and photograph, and this was of course in my bag. In addition, I have printed lists of phone numbers and addresses (dating back to pre-mobile phone days). Furthermore, no bag of mine would be complete without some little health-food snack, basic make-up essentials, tissues, pens, notepads, my diary, my keys, first aid items and all kinds of other little objects that ‘are sure come in useful.’ No wonder my husband complains when I ask him to hold it for a moment.

So you can imagine how devastated I was earlier this week, when I came to collect my bag from the locker at the Israel Museum where I had placed it while I did my stint of volunteering at the Information desk, to find that the locker had been broken into and my bag was gone.

My first reaction was to go to the nearest security guard, of which the Museum has many, and seek his help. The guard sent me to another young man, and after a while I found myself looking at footage from one of the many security cameras placed throughout the Museum. Sadly, however, while there is a security camera just outside the locker room, there is none inside it, so that it was very difficult to detect just who had invaded my locker and when.

The next step was to cancel all my credit cards, and poor Yigal spent over an hour on the phone to the various banks to achieve this, sacrificing his tennis game in the process. My youngest son, Eitan, who had swung by the Museum to give me a lift home on his way back from work, stayed with me throughout the footage viewing event, but this turned out to be inconclusive. In the evening he took me to the local police-station to lodge a complaint, while Yigal stayed home to supervise the changing of the lock on our front door. Without the support of my family I would have been totally lost.

The next day Yigal and I rose early to embark on the via dolorosa of the various offices and ministries in an attempt to establish my identity and reinstate me in the ranks of persons entitled to drive a vehicle. All things considered, the process went relatively smoothly and quickly, clerks were cooperative and pleasant, and I even got to ride Jerusalem’s famed Light Railway. For achieving this my sainted husband can take full and complete credit, and now I’m even more in his debt than I was before (and I certainly was).

Sadly neither the bag, which was brand new, nor any of its contents have been found to date. 2012-Newest-Lady-Fashion-Bag-BLS2956-[1]The incident has made me rethink my entire bag philosophy, and it will be a long time before I venture out into the world again with a capacious bag stuffed with sundry objects. I will also avoid those flimsy lockers at the Israel Museum like the plague!

                                                                    Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

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