Nir Am nonagenarian optimistic about Israel’s future
By Dov Hartuv
KIBBUTZ NIR AM, Israel — Science and medicine have enabled us to lengthen our life span, but they still don’t know how to guarantee the quality of our lives.
Over the last three years I have been spending a morning a week with one of the founding members of Kibbutz Nir Am here in the Sha’ar Hanegev Region.
My friend, and I think I am entitled to call her, friend, is now 93 years old. Her hearing is poor and she uses a stick when when she walks. However her wit insight and thirst for knowing have remained as sharp as ever. As we sit and chat over a cup of coffee rambling on from subject to subject, a world of experience and the wisdom that come with time, unravels before me. As her eyes don’t allow her to read the printed page, she has recorded books sent to her from the library for the blind in Netania and we discuss and recommend novels we’ve read. Her choice in reading is catholic like mine so that we’re always entering pastures new.
Of course through our conversations I’ve gotten to know her three married children and her grandchildren and great grand children. None of them live on Nir Am but they are in constant contact and often visit. On her side she is determined not to be a burden and with the help of her live- in helper from Nepal she remains steadfastly independent.
I often contemplate how privileged I am to have met a lady whose life has been so full and momentous. Coming alone as a teenager from Roumania in the mid 1930′s she was a member of the small band of idealists who founded Nir Am, fought through the War of Liberation in 1948 and fulfilled the dream of making the desert bloom.
She has been through so many crises in her life and come through with unimpaired optimism. Even the kassam rockets and mortars that have fallen on her kibbutz over the last 10 years have not been able to change her view of life as a cup half full.
The kibbutz today is a far call from what it was two generations ago. However, it is full of the vigour of change. Only a way of life that becomes stagnant and fossilized will loose its drive and waste away. The road has changed but the ideal remains constant like a guiding star.
As we talk it is always with an eye to the future and the promise it holds.
Last week was her birthday and as a small gift and a token of my esteem I brought her a box of chocolates as I know she has a sweet tooth.
Hartuv is based in Kibbutz Nahal Oz, which like Nir Am, is part of the Sha’ar Hanegev municipality.
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=15572