I’m happy that I dared to dream and that I was able to realize my/our event at Tel Hai despite obstacles and difficulties. When I was 19 years old, a tumor was removed from my brain that caused harm to my hearing. As a result my face became asymmetrical and thus it happened that I was freed from a sense of distance and time, of right and left, of spatial orientation… I don’t have a driver’s license and so forth…
Recently I’ve been verbalizing something about myself using Tel-Hai as a metaphor. A tel is [a mound created by human occupation] in which there are genetic, dynastic, and cultural remnants, traces of DNA throughout generations. I feel that I’m continuing, mortal though I am, to choose life. Each day I sing – if I remember to – a [gender-appropriate paraphrase of several verses from Psalm 34]:
“I am the woman who…desires life, loves long days to see good. Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit,turn aside from evil, seek peace and pursue it…”
I never imagined that I would conduct a memorial service for Joseph Trumpeldor and his comrades. The legend of Tel Hai [including Trumpeldor’s final words, It’s good to die for our country] and our version of this legendary phrase – it’s good to live for our country” – converged in a dream that we were able to fulfill this year. I hope we’ll be able to fulfill it every year from now on and will be able to say, it’s good to live for our country – a shared country that belongs to all of us.
At Kibbutz Baram [located 300 meters from Israel’s border with Lebanon, where I live] I conduct ceremonies for mourners. Even there, as in the ceremony that we conducted at Tel Hai, I try to emphasize life, hope, and continuity.
At Tel Hai we mentioned Nava Shai, of blessed memory, who has been the inspiration for all my activism on behalf of peace. Thanks to her, I came upon “Neighbors,” a project which served as my introduction to multicultural dialogue. It was there that I also met with displaced women from the village of Bir’em. I hope that an agreed upon solution will be found so that they can return to their village, which today is part of a national park.
During “The Road to Tel Hai” [a name for the Women Wage Peace activities related to Tel Hai], I was happy to change my approach. It was important for me to listen to different points of view and to be influenced by them. The many email conversations and WhatsUp group chats suited me quite well. They were productive, varied, and bore no grudge or hint of jealousy.
I want to take this opportunity to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the women from our movement who came up to Tel Hai. I also want to thank the Courtyard Museum of Tel Hai, Saviona Rotlevy, Anat Negev, Yael Admi, Tami Yakira, Hadassah Nava and Ayelet Harel, from the center of our movement, and all the enthusiastic supporters who were with us in spirit. Also Tupacha Saba, Yifah Amit Shleyer, Moria Shlomot, Michal Paneth-Peleg, Lili Weisberger, Batya Guy, Dafna Abrahams, Ortal Be’eri, the singers Adi, Shiraz, Inbar, Micah, Uri, and their teacher Sivan Nave Deri, and Ofer Gavish. special thanks to my friends, all dear and steadfast partners: Malka Blustein, Aura Hammer, Orit Rosenblitt, Daria Arbel, Chaya Dagan, Olga Barel and Angela Yantian, who, through enthusiastic teamwork – and despite a number of twists and turns in both plot and characters – managed to fulfill a dream…
During Operation Protective Edge/the 2014 Gaza War, I was dumbstruck. I looked for a way out of the para-lysis, the silence, and the silencing. A way to create a space for expression, a space in which to feel that one could make a difference. I found such a space in the movement Women Wage Peace, which I joined after a meeting at Rosh Pina [near Safed in the upper Galilee]. I feel that we are courageous, practical, talented, and determined women, some of whom I know virtually and some of whom I know personally from [demonstrations] at Goma junction, from the peace patrols at Carmiel junction, from Tel Hai and from other meetings as well.
Another context in which I learn and create space for expression and influence is the study group known as “Makers of Melody,” part of the Oranim Seminar. We are wise and creative women, secular and religious, from every denomination, all of us seeking, studying and interpreting Talmud and other texts from a personal and feminist perspective.
I’m still a member of Kibbutz Baram, where I was born, and I love living there. I have two daughters and a companion. I do a variety of work: teaching, library, postal service. For many years I edited the local paper. I’m active in the areas of culture and relationship-building; I practice yoga and am learning spoken Arabic. I’ve never left Kibbutz Baram. It’s a unique experience to have lived in the same community, in the same place, all fifty-five years of my life…
Translated by Donna Kirshbaum.