Erez Barkai

17 November 09

A wonderful story about a friendship between Erez and Lady, his Guide Dog, who is according to his daughters, a true angel.

Erez Barkai
Married, father of two
:  Musician
Petach Tikva


Erez grew up in a secular Israeli household and became religious on his own initiative in his twenties.  Now in his thirties, he conErez walking in a crosswalksiders himself observant. He is married and a father of two wonderful daughters.  He is partnered with Lady, a beautiful golden retriever.  His girls say she is an angel helping and watching over him.  One of his daughters told him, "I feel like Lady is not a dog but a person, Lady has a personality."  The process of partnership between Erez and Lady is like a dance, sometimes he leads sometimes Lady leads.  As a visually-impaired person who still has residual sight, he has suffered periods in which his vision has deteriorated.  He experienced his first decline in vision at age 16, and most recently there has been a drastic decline in his sight during his thirties.  The disease which he suffers from is hereditary and rare, it also progresses over time.  Erez has Anaridia, and there is no cure as it is a failure of the iris to properly develop


Erez feels it's important to bridge the gap between the secular and religious worlds-to model mutual tolerance and understanding.  It's apt then that he chose music as his profession.  Music can be a bridge, a door to other worlds.  Music started out as a hobby for Erez and then became his profession.  At first he was a performance artist, but he soon realized that the world of show biz was not for him.  He decided to use his talent, interest, and love of music in the realm of education 


Erez began to volunteer as a music teacher at a local school - run by the same Rabbi that performed his wedding ceremony.  After six months as a volunteer, he was asked to work as a paid staff person.  He now is a full-time music teacher at the same all-girl's religious school, in Petach Tikva


Erez playing the sax with Arik, our former Chairman

When he experienced his first decline in vision at age 16 he was in the middle of his high school matriculation exams.  He immediately stopped the exam process and also deferred his military service.  Later, he went on to complete his matriculation exams in Jerusalem, and that is where he met his future wife.  He sees his blindness as part of the path of his life destiny.  If he would not have experienced that loss of sight at age 16, he probably never would have met his wife in Jerusalem.  He definitely has the ability to "see the cup half full," in his life.  He has his own recording studio in his home where he plays with sounds and produces fun projects for friends.


About Lady: "There is no other type of relationship where you are so many hours next to someone else, not even my wife.  Lady is with me all the time.  It's a very intimate partnership.  She pays attention to my moods and I to hers.  It reminds me a little of working with children-they are like mirrors of your own behavior or mood.  It is very spiritual relationship that occurs when working with a guide dog, full of subtle growth and changes.  She has truly been a blessing 

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