Giv'at Haviva: Tikkun

A beautiful quote by Haim Be'er, a prominent Israeli novelist is especially suitable for this post. He said on the radio: Writing is a way of correcting insults. I agree. When we write about past affronts we can change the circumstances, and modify the outcomes. But every so often life itself offers a Tikkun and then it is both a privilege and an obligation to report about it in writing.

Last year I published  in the Times Of Israel  the blog post  titled "How I became an enemy of peace and Giv'at Haviva."  In that essay I described how my husband and I found ourselves the, not so proud, owners of a house in a settlement before we even knew that we were outside Israel. In the seven years that we lived in Oranit, on the wrong side of the green line, I had the opportunity to encounter first hand some of the consequences of being a settler.

We bought the house in 1998, but moved to Oranit in the summer of 2000, days before the Second Intifada. Because of the Intifada, most of our friends stopped visiting us. Although Oranit is less than 30 minutes drive from Tel Aviv it was considered a dangerous place, a war zone. In addition, at that time it was very hard to convince technicians and repairmen to travel the distance to Oranit.

For years, I have been volunteering in schools in the US and in Israel, and, upon moving to Oranit, I offered to teach English in the high school in Kfar Kasem my offer was declined..

Similarly when I applied to take part in a special peace project for Jews and Arabs in Giv'at Haviva I was rejected because I was a settler. Giv'at Haviva is a non-profit organization founded in 1949 as the national education center of the Kibbutz Federation in Israel. Their site maintains that "It is dedicated to promote mutual responsibility, civic equality and cooperation between divided groups in Israel as the foundation for building a shared future and shared society – critical elements of a sustainable and thriving Israeli democracy."

Because of the good reputation of Giv'at Haviva, I tried to explain to the Israeli and Palestinian coordinators that it was important to include in the peace efforts Israelis and Palestinians from all segments of the population, they politely agreed, but still did not accept me to the project. I was quite shocked and upset.

But last January I decided that it was about time to give Giv'at Haviva a second chance. As an active member of the grassroots movement Woman Wage Peace, I heard from my friends many wonderful thing about Giv'at Haviva’s community activities and about their hard work to promote understanding between Jews and Arabs. .

Thus I enrolled in (and this time was accepted to) a photography course for Arab and Jewish women, “With Different Eyes.” I felt that this new perspective was exactly what I needed, and was proven right.

We are a group of 20 women, Arabs and Jews, and once a week we get together (with two photography teachers/artists) to learn how to take better photos. In addition, with the help of moderators we also learn about ourselves.

We formed a Facebook group where we post the photos and by liking each other’s work and giving positive comments we are strengthening our bonds and getting to know each other. It is quite amazing how much you can learn about a person from what she chooses to photograph and from the way she does it.

Giv'at Haviva looks like an old fashioned Kibbutz-- a large green campus with old houses scattered around  Being there I feel like I have gone back in time and arrived to the good old Israel (Eretz Israel Hatova) that our beloved singer Arik Einstein used to sing about.

Perhaps Giv'at Haviva is only a bubble, but I am delighted  that thanks to one of its community activities I was able to change my mind and to find a place where old values like humanism, simplicity and good-will still matter. It is a huge Tikkun.

The essay appeared in the Times Of Israel 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/givat-haviva-tikkun/FullSizeRender

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Life and Death and Life Restored on Westminster Bridge


Westminster Bridge

hailed by Wordsworth

‘a sight so touching’

but death

is still death.

 

Smiling, carefree

tourists

crossing the Thames

but death

is still death.

 

A big car

driven

on a footpath.

People

mown down

with bitterness

but death

is still death.

 

Low-tech

assassin,

they said.

Blood and pain

casting out

everydayness and joy.

Human beings

just living

are become bodies

as death

is still death.

 

A Spanish woman

won’t rejoin

her family.

An American man

can’t embrace

his wife

as death

is still death.

 

A British policeman

protecting

our essential goodness.

An Englishman

struck down

‘cos he was there.

A Romanian woman

unable to accept

her partner’s proposal

as death

is still death.

 

Brave souls

outfacing

this heinous crime

Giving aid

to the fallen

the injured and the dying

as death

is still death.

 

Wickedness

may set us back

awhile,

but evil

like this:

‘Thou shalt DIE!’

As death

is still death.

 

And lo,

out of this tragedy,

our oneness

outshines this suffering

as we rage

against the darkness.

The majesty

of London is restored,

and our desire to

go on living

in harmony

will triumph

over division,

as LIFE

is still LIFE.

 

 

 

 

 

A poem, in memoriam,

by

Nicholas Mackey

Thursday 13th April 2017

 

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The Soul Of Genius

 

 

Back in 2015, Blackwell's Bookshops and the Bodleian Library jointly offered an Academic Writing Prize of £2,500 for the best student essay entitled What is Genius? It was timed to celebrate the opening of the new Weston Library where an inaugural exhibition, Marks of Genius, displaying 130 of the Bodleian's greatest treasures, was being mounted. Whilst 'genius' is a hackneyed term which undervalues its essential meaning, perhaps, after all, it is universally available.

I have been unable to discover the winning essay, but decided to share with you a few thoughts in the following poem. This is from my second collection, Mysteries of Light, which is currently being compiled.

 

 

A Talent Set On Fire
 

Genius is talent set on fire by courage.
Henry Van Dyke


Genius is interior light
the fathomless world of the crystal
caught in a needling sunbeam
or quivering candlelight

It is not of itself intellectual
nor inspiration, acumen, slick memory
the crisp organisation of words
on the uninformed page

Genius burns without consuming
like Moses' bush on Sinai
discard your mental shoes
this is Holy Ground
a penetrating glimpse
of form and meaning
hard edges melting
in luminous mist
patterns within patterns
reverberant echoes
from wild forgotten caves
pounded by tides subject
to lunar magnetism
the synaptic lightning
forked from the lodestone
of archaic memory

The landscape of genius
is the sheer rock face
grappled with irons and grit
for a squint at Eternity

 

The Great White Peak - Edgar Payne

 

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You're here

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I know you’re here tonight. Your embrace tells me so. It’s that swathe of warmth that wraps around me and steadies me to my core, of your want to be here intertwined with my want for you.

Sometimes there’s a presence on the breath of cigarettes or on the whiff of perfume, Cacharel Anais Anais if I remember. Other times it's in the scratching of shopping bags chock full of skirts and blouses, socks for her, ties for him and a vase for me, red at its best.

But tonight, that presence is you. It’s in your hold, so caring and kind, a solid trusting that stabilises and stops the freefall, for me and for you. Life can get like that where everything comes and goes, rushing to be somewhere and do something that makes so little difference compared to the touch of kindness, of stings of hurt from the selfish and the self-interest in that, the taking and prodding for one’s own means … yes and no, maybe, all for me, please be me. Me, me, me! Let it be you, you, you ...

Even in a life of loves and haves, of kindness and care, there’s still a freefall. In a life of everything there can still be a slice of nothing wedged in a force of gravity, expedient and crass. Maybe that’s selfishness too and the feeling of nothing is the greatest self-interest and ego-centricity of all. Maybe that’s who we humans are and why it’s in that nothing that the freefall is at its greatest.

Such quandary in everything, in nothing.

Until you come along in unexpected visit and hold me until I let go and fall into you and you into me, feeling safe in that even when it’s frightening too … for what if we can’t brace the falling and I tumble further from you, for what if you’re not real.

Yet trusting you is all I can do for there’s this knowing that sight cannot reveal, a knowing of you wanting to do the best for me in all your sweetness of heart and me wanting the same for you. How that happens or how that is, I don’t know. My only knowing is in the feeling of you and of waking after falling into you and you into me, in a boundless energy and clarity, ready to give again.

The ducks are coming, as a cacophony of hundreds of chirrups and flapping wings reaching for height and searching for a place to roost. In pink ears and freckles, in wood and shell, come roost with me.

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