Encounter 267 -21.4.2023

During the 5 and a bit years of the “Lighthouse” life, the motif of listening comes back again and again as an important reason for people’s desire to return and come on Fridays (between one and four did we say?).
On the days when the circular “rite” takes place, the structure of the meeting is clearer and it is intended mainly for the ears of new participants. Sit, listen and we will tell. Speak and we will listen.
When we are among ourselves, a “new” speech is created that sometimes challenges the fixed opinions, sometimes it is somewhat strange and sometimes it repeats itself. Today some talk started about the difference between “piety” and “righteousness”, a strange doubt, a philosophical doubt…
We will continue with the summary and move on to charity with a point to think about at the end:
Mark said he met a Gazan beggar near a shopping center. He asked for money to buy his children new clothes for the holiday (Eid al-Fitr). Mark gave, chatted with him a bit and gave more. Later, when they had already parted, Mark wondered to himself, was the willingness to give due to the fact that the beggar was a Gazan? Would he have given even if the beggar was from here? And if he gave, why so and so and not more, then he could have allowed himself to give a larger amount… interesting.
Roni receives a short video from a woman she knows in Gaza in which a child is seen crying. The woman adds in the video that he is crying because he wants a gift for the holiday. Roni like Roni, takes out of the wallet and gets another video of a happy child…
Vivian arrives and with her Yaeli and Tamar, graduates of the “Sam Spiegel” film school. The two are working on a television drama series about women in the Gaza border and Vivian finds it appropriate to interest them in the “Lighthouse”.
Rami presents the rationale and says that the circle seeks to place a beacon for Gaza’s consciousness, “to a place where a light burns, hope can be steered.”
We, he says, ask that we not forget that we have to turn on the light in our lighthouse. In literature and cinema, when writing about lighthouses, the main emphasis is on the people who hold the lighthouse. They are the keepers of the light in the lighthouse. They hope someone can use the light they spread. In the “storm” unfolding in the space in which we live, there are those who want to keep the light on.
Roni talks about the great privilege she had to also know the other side that claims its right in the space, on the side of her recognition of her side’s right. We will not be in each other’s place, but by each other’s side, she says. Because of the neighborhood to Gaza and familiarity with Gazans, she feels the need to link them to us. This is how joint groups of theater, dance, music and more were created. Roni receives at least 10 “Shabbat shalom” greetings from Gaza every Friday… We can’t hide behind the “no partner” slogan, she concludes, there is definitely someone to talk to.
Malki is coming because there is a light on here for her too. Gaza is a black and depressing hole. There are indeed difficulties in acting, but there is also the tendency to “get addicted” to our personal comfort bubble. This place strengthens her.
Uzi recounts the history of the establishment of his settlement and says that it was a “settlement without violence” because the settlement was not established on land occupied by others. Over the years he met many Arabs in his tours in the Middle East, and came to the conclusion that the Palestinian Arabs are very similar to us, the Jews of the region, much more than the resemblance to other Arab communities.
Haim says that for a short time in his life he was a citizenship teacher and did not feel that he was able to make an impact. Gaza is a ghetto “par excellence” he says. It’s near his house and he lives peacefully, tending his garden and being ignored. This gap disturbs his rest. Roni’s words touched his heart and he intends to act.
Yaeli writes a series about women in the Gaza border. There is many men’s stories and a female point of view is different and worthy of a story. The voice of people in our region heard only in war contexts. She says that her “hands are tied” because the project is for commercial television in Israel. The “Lighthouse” inspires, both the place and the people. When she thinks of Gaza, the word “shame” comes to mind. She is ashamed of the state and its people’s treatment of Gaza. It is also convenient for her to forget, because Gaza is not present in her life.
Tamar is Yaeli’s partner in the series. She grew up in the US and when she came back it took her a while to connect and understand Israeliness. For her, Gaza is a kind of new insight into the place she calls home.
Mark says that on this Friday in particular, it is correct to refer to Gaza as a ghetto (4 days after “Holocaust Day”, OB). Think about the people who are looking towards the houses they had. The people who died there, who ran away, who live somewhere in the world. If Gaza is a ghetto, then what are we? Mark compares us to a group of Poles who sit near the ghetto and talk about it without doing anything… at least we talk.
Rami, defines Gaza as a kind of private house in the area. The great wars are being waged today over consciousness. It is a complex struggle. Expanding the circle of consciousness is the important task. You (turning to Yaeli and Tamar), take part in this struggle in your project. Rami quotes Rabbi Kook Sr. who says “one should not accept the conviction but add justice”. Everything that happens in Gaza is defined by Rami as a temporary “mishap”.
Shmulik points out that the tip he adds to “wear away the rock” is the help he gives to a Gazan laborer, the sole breadwinner of a large family in Gaza.
Bella had an experience this week. As a Holocaust survivor, she was visited by soldiers who came and saluted her. She was moved to tears. She swore that she would not rest and would act so that people in the world would not go through life like she went through as a child.
Hayuta tells about her mother-in-law that she calls her a “Holocaust heroine” and not a “Holocaust survivor”. She took her to hear the proclamation of the state in the museum and her mother-in-law was moved to the point of crying, which surprised her a little. The pain and excitement sometimes come from an unexpected place.
Moshe refers to the story of the meeting between Mark and a beggar. This made Moshe think about Gaza. Are the positive and negative feelings related to the history of Gaza in which we are active partners? Would we develop the same attitude to what is happening in Gaza if it was due to a natural disaster for example? Would it have aroused in him the same desire to be involved and active as he feels by being, he feels, part of the responsible for the situation? Moshe refers to the Holocaust in a story about his father who left a wife and child in Europe and went to Argentina to find a safer place. His wife and son did not have time to leave and the war completely severed the relationship. Only this week, Moshe managed to find out the names of the woman and the boy who is actually his half-brother.
Vivian brought Tamar and Yaeli because she thought it would be interesting for them to meet the lighthouse. She says that it is important to introduce them to films made about the area.
Roni points out that from the contacts she has in Gaza, she sees that the light of the lighthouse is indeed visible on the other side. Before the corona virus there was an initiative by a group that was in contact with us to settle in a building not far from the fence and set up a similar lighthouse there on the other side.
At the end of the meeting, Rami told about “Gaza jars”. Gaza, which was a major city at the end of the Byzantine period and before the Arab conquest (sixth century), was a wine production center and for the purposes of storing and sending it by sea, jugs with a cone bottom were made and they were arranged in holes in the floors of the warehouses in the belly of the ship. In addition to wine, the area was abundant with barley and wheat and enjoyed great wealth until a plague came…

This time we were: Haim, Mark, Rami, Shmulik, Nahshi, Bella, Hayuta, Mary, Moshe, Roni, Malki, Uzi, Oded, Vivian, Yaeli, Tamar.
Written by: Oded