Shalom Eilati (Kaplan) was born in 1933 in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, a world center for Jewry both in religious and cultural terms. His mother was a nurse and a poet, and his father a teacher, historian and an author. In 1941, he and his family were imprisoned in a ghetto created by the occupying Germans. In 1944, at his mother’s initiative, he escaped from the ghetto alone. He emigrated to Palestine in 1946, where he became a member of a Kibbutz, an officer in the Israeli Defense Force, an agronomist with a Ph.D. in horticulture, a tour guide, and an editor. He has served as a lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University in Rehovot, and was one of the founders of and editor for the Israeli Environmental Protection Service. The Hebrew original of Crossing the River was published as Lahazot et Hanahar by Karmel/Yad Vashem in 1999.
Vern Lenz is a technical writer in Boise, Idaho, and is past director of the Ahavath Beth Israel choir. A student of languages, he lived in Israel with his wife for 15 years.