Saturday, July 7, 2007

To be old in a young society

That was the name of a three-day seminar, a sort of in service training.
I registered just for the first day.
Arnold Rosin, the expert in Gerontology gave a good rendering of mobility in old age, demonstrating how when starting to loose the feeling of balance, walking gets restricted with age. In the end we are inclined to stay put and not go out any more.
It was followed by a talk on feeding difficulties in old age and another talk about becoming grandparents. Neither of them brought new light to the subject for me, nor were they very informative
During a pretty long lunch break participants got a chance to get to know each other. That was the best part of the day.
The majority of women were from Kibbutzim. Most of them being caretakers of old people with Parkingson, Alzheimer and other severe handicaps, their general opinion of old people, being colored by that.
They were amazed to meet somebody my age, having an opinion of my own, using the computer and inter-net, participating actively in the seminar.

Repeatedly I mentioned the fact that they always talk about us old people, but not with us.

In the evening we had a workshop on Psychodrama.
A young girl who has studied the subject, gave first an introduction, telling us that it is based on the theory by Moreno, and after that she did a few exercises with us.
A young woman from Kibbutz Ruchama chose me as her partner. We were asked, each to talk for two minutes, telling an episode from our childhood. We then had to chance places and retell the other person’s story in her own words to the group.

It was at that exercise that I realized once more how important positive early childhood memories are. They stay with one for a lifetime.
Even in old age I can build on it when reconstructing my narrative.
The seminar day was long and at the end I was dead tired.

Next morning, I opened Google and looked up under Moreno to make sure that I had correctly understood what psychodrama is all about.

Moreno demonstrates basic techniques such as self-realization, doubling, and role-reversal, using actual students from his Beacon training school. We see Moreno’s powerful and unique style as his concepts come to life.

I had gained greater insight into what I had learned many years ago.

On Tuesday I shall give a talk about how to grow old and keep the balance between what I would like to do and what I am able to do.
I shall stress the importance of formulating our special needs as old people and have prepared a couple of folk tales to demonstrate my point.
I wonder how it will come across.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Narrative or Interview ?

Yesterday I received a phone call from the director of “Trust” who asked me if I was willing to be interviewed by the director of Peace X Peace.

A short while ago I have come back from the American Colony Hotel where it took place.

Two women from the States, they are friends and both also have a home in France, both having frequently visited Israel and Palestine Authority, said that they are interviewing women from across the board, different religions, different cultures, different in all sorts of ways.
Although I had agreed to be interviewed I felt pretty uncomfortable having let myself in for something I did not know what it is all about, or what this interview would be used for.
The atmosphere in the American Colony in East Jerusalem is a strange one. It is the hangout for foreign correspondents, all of who come to Israel, to report on the conflict.
Dozens of waiters were moving around, bringing drinks, clearing tables, people coming and going, talking, there was a constant bubble.
My interviewer came in late having got stuck in the traffic, in the end she asked permission to retreat to a conference room, a cold sterile and to me an unfriendly looking room.
I still could not make out what the purpose of the interview would be.
I made it quite clear that I was not going to talk about politics, who is right or wrong, who should be doing what or not do what to the other.

While the one set up the microphone and video camera, the other tried to explain to me that they hope to interview as many women, Palestinian and Israeli as possible and put their story on the inter-net. I asked what they wanted to know from me. She simply said:"Tell us who you are".
Well, I presented them with my narrative. My mother having sent me and my brother and my sister away from home, in order to spare us from the worst of what was happening to us Jews in Germany. My parents perished in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz.
I spend the war years as a refugee child in England and shortly after the end of WW II in June 1945 came to Palestine as Israel was then called .

I tried to convey to them that since early childhood, my being a Zionist, being Jewish, being an Israeli and the Shoa / Holocaust, are the main components of my identity.
Although both of them have been on repeated visits to Israel neither of them have ever been to Yad Vashem.
Because their time ran out, the interview came to an end. There was no time for questions, or verification. What they got out of it or to what extend it fits into what they intent to portray, I do not know.
As the next woman was expected to turn up, they called a Taxi for me.
I was glad to be home again.
The next day I had a full schedule, giving a talk to Jewish students from USA in Yad Vashem and to attend a meeting on growing old in a young society.