Simon's Diary

Israel 2004

Day 4

Eddie and Miri's House in Arad - The clothes drying on the balcony are mine.



We are sitting at breakfast, and i ask Miri if she normally has Breakfast."No we are normally in a rush to get out of the house". This is more familiar to me. If I have a choice between sleeping 10 more minutes or eating I'll choose the former. But when you've got guests it's easy to slip in to a routine - even if it's just for a couple of days - thatr belies normality. I mention it only because if you ever experience this it's easy to start feeling inadequate. As if your normal daily panic is a symtom of great failure. Whenever you feel this way ask your hosts if this is their normal routine and if they say yes they're either lying or in needd of some normality training. Even if they are well rounded people seeing them as slightly fucked up will do you the world of good.

At breakfast we were speaking about my Father's father, Samuel. My own father had been a tear away from a very young age, where as the rest of the family had seemed to be quite responsible, especially when it came to family life. My father had told me that his father had suffered from shell shock, that he was lax when it came to discipline, and had not been very supportive towards the family. Boris' eldest brother Rue had eventually gone to Soutn Africa, raised enougn money to bring the rest of the family over and looked after them once they were there.


Eddie's mother, Batia, stayed in Latvia and ended up being shipped along with her husband to Siberia by the Russians where they remained for many years after the war. Boris' eldest sister, Betty stayed in Latvia and was most probably shot by the Nazis or Latvians during the late 1930's. The Latvians were very anti-semitic before, during and after the war. Eddie left Latvia in the 70's because he felt so stigmatised by the latvians for being Jewish. About a year ago I sat in a cafe in London run by Eastern Europeans and listened to them slagging off people for being Jewish. Possibly if Hitler's idea was to put in to action his "final solution", then Israel is partly the reult of the rest of europe's solution to getting the Jews out of their society. This is certainly one way that Arab countries see Israel. A passing on of a European "problem" in to their back yard.

Eddie and I are planning to do a journey and a diary which takes us through Estonia, Latvia and Russia to Moscow. This will be partly to trace his mother's steps which tread at least twice to Russia. While we were eating Eddie told me that the first time was when she was very young. Her father said he would take her to Moscow for a treat. She was very excited and he told her that when they were there they would do trips and meet other relatives. After a two day train journey they were very tired and went to sleep as soon as they got to his sister's apartment. When she woke up her father had gone and she didn't have any contact with her immediate family again for around 5 years, at which point she came back to Latvia to live with them. For Batia the damage this act of "caring" did never left her, and one wonders how it effected her children.

This afternoon we visited an Artist's community in Arad. I was particularly struck by one artist and I've dedicated most of this page to her. In a way much of her work relates to Batia's story, because the main themes within it are about one's spirit rising above adversity and the love of mothers for their children.


Dorit Yacoby's studio



This is a studio for 1 artist. I don't think I've ever seen one so big.


This is from the other end of the studio.
Yesterday the writing was on the wall, but today it's on the floor.
The writing is poetry written by the artist. A few excerpts of which are further down the page.



The Artist Dorit Yacoby.

I'm not sure what the titles are so I'll leave them blank.



Excerpts from "The Woman of the Thousand Voices" by Dorritt Yacoby

"striving to cling to the dissolving life threads of her disappearing"

"The woman of the thousand souls
Whose bones are all hollow"

"Walking on the water
She will be able to pull out her drowning children"


So is this where some of Miri's dolls come to spend their final years?

"I ironed the uniform
in the creases I inserted prayers
I ironed the place of the heart
So it does not hurt
mommy don't cry
not all soldiers are heroes"
by Dorritt Yacoby


You can visit her web site at this link doesn't seem to work i'll try and find out what it should be.

All pictures and writing by Dorritt Yacoby has been reproduced with kind permission. All rights belong to the Dorritt Yacoby

Arad has a large artist community and art work pops up all over the place.


Bedouin Arabs have until the last few years been welcomed by Israelis. The Bedouins are nomadic.
Recently Bedouins have been building homes along their routes which has shown a change in mentality.
The infiltration of Hamas into the Bedouin"towns" has also seen a proliferation of Mosques.
Up until this development Bedouins were not seen as particularly religious or political.


This afternoon I spent some time working on the Internet, at one point my kids came on line and their user name lit up on my MSN messenger list. I tried to speak to them but I'm pretty sure they switched on a game and none of my messages seemed to reach them. Perhaps this is symbolic of no matter how much you try, getting through to your kids is an impossibly difficult task.



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