Tuesday, August 01, 2006


To Revive the Memories

To Revive the Memories

By Amichai Gross, Nitzan Caravilla Site.
Translated by Shifra Shomron, Nitzan Caravilla Site.
5 Av 5766/ 30 July 2006

Many memories are placed in a special department in my heart, categorized according to subject and date, arranged neatly on shelves, refusing to be covered with dust – as if they are yelling: use us!

And I walk among the shelves, browsing, contemplating, and remembering.

There's the grass outside my house, the grass that was bordered with a pomegranate tree and a fig tree, an etrog, a lemon and a tangerine, a pecan and a mango, and of course the olive tree – the one that got hit by a mortar. And between the grass and the house is the court – a small tiled area and a hoop stuck in the wall. That's where I played basketball with Ariel and Yishai and Ofer and Itamar and Guy and Aaron.

And I continue, I move to another shelf and find myself riding a bike on the hill up to Gadid, and when I reach the summit I stop and look to the right. All of Neve Dekalim is spread out before me, from the industrial area until the Ulpana. In the middle I recognize the "Beit HaLachmi" intersection and the antenna on the regional council building. In the distance I see the Moasii Bedouin tribe and not far from there – the sea.

And on the next shelf I see the fort we had in a tree in the dunes between the synagogue and the 'sand neighborhood', from which we would go to the big dune in order to slide down it with an old shutter.
And thus I continue and pass much archive material that was gathered during eighteen and a half years. I pass between the shelves, peek to the right and peek to the left; I want to see it all. To remember.

And here is the community's Kiddush in the hall under the synagogue, and the basketball tournament in the summer (Neve Dekalim is the champion!), and the Shabbat prayers at Bnei Akiva (youth group/synagogue), and walking to the sea – the prettiest sea in the country, and I feel exactly as if right now I am at sea, in a sea of memories.

And there is no end to these memories. Every small detail is included in them. Every event, every experience, every emotion.

And suddenly I stop. "Summer 5765" (2005) is written on the shelf next to me. And I remember prayers, demonstrations, road-blocks, police, soldiers, more prayers, and (soldiers) knocking at the door, crying, bus, and hotel. Houses destroyed, lives destroyed. And then emerges the memory of the sign at the traffic circle between Netzer Hazani and Katif, the same sign that once read "Atnachta – a warm corner for soldiers", the same sign that later read, "We will yet return".

Someone once asked me, "Why do you save all these memories?" And at first it seemed that there was something in his words. It's all gone, it's all destroyed, and how will memories help?

However remembering is not just gazing into the past; rather studying it, taking the good from it and applying it to the present. Likewise also to remember a person who died G-d forbid is not just to look at his pictures and tell stories about him; but to take his good qualities and embrace them, and thus 'revive' him.

We can learn many things from the Gush Katif residents: simplicity – their manual labor and connection to our Land, the immense amount of charity they did in the entire southern region, the inner strength that kept them continuously facing all the trials, the brotherhood and unity – accepting everyone as he is, and above all: the firm faith – faith in G-d, faith in the Jewish nation, faith that all G-d does is for the best.

And in our case it's even more than that. In this case we must not only 'revive' the strong forces that existed in the Gush, but also reach political conclusions. There is no doubt that we have proven that just as our warnings before the Oslo Accords were correct, so were our warnings before the expulsion correct. The terror in Gaza has grown stronger and has reached dimensions that have forced the government to return the army to the area. There were weary souls who said, "War is despicable" calling us "Doomsayers" preferring to trust our enemies, since only thus will the peace come. And we were the ones who accurately read the enemy and know what their real driving force is, we who were considered extremists-delusional-strange-paranoid – we were correct. And likewise we are correct regarding the "Convergence Plan".

A very hard year has passed, very hard. A year in which we were tried by complicated trials. We dealt with situations that were not simple. We rose, we overcame the obstacles, and we continue forwards with strength and with faith. We mustn't despair. We all see the recent national awakening; the sobering up and the new understanding that the Jewish nation must be determined and must fight for its land in a way that will determine the outcome of this war, in a firm and unequivocal way. There is still much to improve but the goal is clear.

We must strengthen and improve the national awareness, continue and cling onto the hope – and remember.
We'll remember and won't forget, we'll remember and return!

beautiful article, thanks for translating and sharing this. also please convey my compliments to Amichai on the beautiful article.
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