Serendipity Stories - Tel Aviv (where I am this month)
And this time directly from my family.
The lottery factory was established in Tel Aviv in August 1951 at the initiative of the mayor of Tel Aviv, Israel Rokah. When my parents got married in 1958, they wanted to buy an apartment on a mostly sandy street, Professor Shor in Tel Aviv. My father collected pennies and worked double shifts, but they were 30,000 pounds short. And the contractor announced that he would no longer be able to keep the apartment for them.
My father, a bit like Moses, went to him that day desperate to see the apartment that we cannot enter, from the outside, and say hello to the dream. He continued to Ibn Gvirol Street, where there was a small shop that sold newspapers and lottery tickets.
In a moment of desperation, he decided with the last few hundred dollars he had in his pocket, to purchase a lottery ticket. The debt was 30,000 pounds, so he purchased lottery ticket number 303030.
To their astonishment, the card won 30,000 pounds that week, and thus they were able to purchase the apartment that was for many days a residence.
For those who feared for a moment that the lottery factory had lost, I want to reassure them and tell them that they religiously held that number for another 50 years, until the lottery became automatic. And not only did he not win anymore, there is a situation where the lottery still owes my family such and such shekels.
Serendipity story - Amsterdam (where Shehav studies)
The Dutchman Dirk Hanema (died 1984) was a controversial museum director and art collector. And if it weren't for an event that happened after his death, it would probably have been written under his Wikipedia entry that he was a top charlatan, and not that he was "controversial."
Dirk managed the Bojmans Museum and acquired masterpieces for it, but at the same time he was also a member of the Nazi advisory committee on cultural issues, during the occupation of the Netherlands. He even went to jail for that. But his reputation was fatally damaged only when he accused the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer of forgeries. He was already considering suicide when he accidentally fell into his hands an ancient painting which he purchased for 5000 pounds. And for this painting it was worth it for him to live and to convince others.
A quarter of a century after his death, he gained artistic recognition when Le Blute-Fin Mill, a painting he bought for pennies and believed to belong to Van Gogh, was indeed confirmed by modern means such as mirroring and material analysis, in a lost painting by the renowned painter.
Serendipity Stories - Cyprus (where I gave a retreat)
One of the most significant stories of historical serendipity related to the Mediterranean Sea is the discovery of the Kyrenia shipwreck in Cyprus.
In the late summer of 1965, under the scorching sun of Cyprus, a Cypriot named Andreas Cariolo went on a routine fishing trip. The blue water around the north coast of the island was the flat water we know from the Mediterranean, and also to him. But on this day, a capricious turn of fate awaited him.
As the day waned, an unusual storm brewed in the normally calm Mediterranean Sea, turning the waves into tropical storms. The weather conditions forced Andreas to chart an unfamiliar route closer to the coast. Unbeknownst to him, by chance this detour will lead to a discovery that will make history. For the discovery by the way, as stated by the Language Academy, for serendipity
With his seasoned instincts, Andreas carefully navigated his boat in the storm. Suddenly, his eyes caught a strange anomaly on the seabed. Through the rippling surface of the water, he made out the ghostly silhouette of what appeared to be an ancient ship. A sense of mystery surrounded him because Cyprus, his homeland, has always been the cradle of history and legend. Intrigued and excited, he noted the coordinates and when he returned to solid ground, he hurried to report his findings to the local authorities. An investigation led by maritime archaeologists has uncovered an extraordinary treasure: a merchant ship from the 4th century BC, its skeletal frame remarkably preserved in the sands of time.
Serendipity at its best. Had it not been for the unexpected storm that day, Anders might have sailed on his usual course, and the ancient relic might have remained undiscovered, forever hidden in the depths of the water.