Friday, June 20, 2008

A busy week

Some weeks are busier than others. Lately a number of important events seemed to have accumulated within days of each other. I am a member of various committees. Although I keep a check on my diary, it often happens that I have to choose which one to attend.
In front of me are four of the latest visiting cards each one collected from a different event.
An ex-member from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, whom I met at the committee meeting of JRJ gave me her card and asked me to contact her to discuss how to present better the stories of "Jews who Rescued Jews".
The next card is from a gentleman from the Ecumenical Accompanier, Sweden, who is here to keep a check on our Checkpoints to help the Palestinians when having trouble crossing into Israel, often without the necessary permit. He has heard so many problems that he decided to come and listen to some good news. He came to our Interfaith Encounter meeting, where Jews, Christians and Muslims meet on a regular basis, to learn about each other’s religion and interviewed some of us. He saw us sitting together in a most peaceful atmosphere at the Swedish Theological Institute situated between East and West Jerusalem and was amazed. From the media he got the impression, that that was not possible
Sunday and Monday were busy days, but Tuesday topped it all.
Tuesday morning at 9.00 my companion of the steering committee for the old age club picked me up for our weekly session. Rushed back for a quick lunch and at 13.00 a lady came with her friend who visits me regularly on Tuesdays.
At 15.00 I had scheduled a meeting with a Jewish and a Muslim women to discuss a workshop about “Trust” that we are to give jointly next week at an International Conference of ICCJ "Israel Council for Christians and Jews". In the middle of that a couple of pupils turned up to have a photo taken together with me. I had couched them for several weeks towards the ceremony of the 60th Anniversary of the state of Israel and to complete their paper they needed a photo of us together.
Before we women completed our task a visitor, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang from Berlin who is here on a business meeting turned up. He is an old friend of mine from the days when I traveled yearly to Germany to give talks in schools. He is a professor of Criminology and Sociology. We talked for a good three hours and then I walked him back to his hotel.
Wednesday I tried to catch up with my regular household scores like shopping and cooking and at 4.30 o’clock in the afternoon a friend from “Gagoshrim” (one of the organizations who bring volunteer from Germany to work in institutions for the aged or for handicapped children) picked me up to get to the assembly point for a trip to Tel-Aviv.
The German based „Heinrich Boell Stiftung“ together with „Aktion Suehne Zeichen und Friedensdienste“, (also an organization who bring volunteers from Germany) in honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary held a joint public event in Tel-Aviv, “Living after Surviving – Shoa Survivors in Israel”. There were a number of speeches, including Knesset Member/Deputy Speaker Colette Avital, as well as a panel discussion. Two young German volunteers asked questions of three old survivors, one of them was myself. There I was sitting on the podium and gave the relevant answers. When the session finished Colett Avital spoke to me and we had a lively discussion and exchanged visiting cards. She asked me to get in touch with her for further discussions. It was quite late when we got back to Jerusalem.
Early next morning I got ready for the final trip for the season of the Old Age Club. The club, that I had initiated, has been going for the last five years with once weekly lectures and once monthly trips. This time it was to a lovely shaded Nature spot of Eyn Chemed, with a very tasty pick-nick prepared by the head of the Jerusalem branch of the Organization of Immigrants from German speaking Countries.
After viewing the Ruins of the Crusaders Fortress we leisurely walked back and passed a big group of very boisterous Muslim girls. I asked them where they are from and among a lot of giggling some of the girls almost in chorus said “Palestinians from a school in Abu Tor”. They were pretty noisy. Not knowing any Arabic I still managed to engage them in some sort of a dialogue. With a few words of Hebrew and a few in English, but mainly by signs language I asked them how old they are. Thirteen, they shouted in Chorus. When I asked them what they think how old I am, they looked at me, thought 60 or perhaps a bit more but when I said 85 they were more than astonished.
I pleaded with them by saying sh… sh… sh… and again in sign language to keep a little bit more quite.
While we sat around singing old time songs to the sounds of an accordion some of the girls approached and stopped some distance away in amazement at us old people singing lustily away. As I walked up to them they started to make dancing movements to the music. I joined them and quickly a circle was formed, while dancing several more girls trotted along. We danced for a while and I returned to my group. They approached once more and asked to have a picture taken together with me. Their group soon left and our pick-nick came to an end by 2.00 o’clock.
At 4.30 I was of again for Tel-Aviv to a reception at 7.00 o’clock at the Residence of the German Ambassador Mr. Kindermann, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the „Aktion Suehne Zeichen und Friedensdienste“, who since 1958 have annually send their young volunteers to Israel. After the Ambassador and a couple of others addressed the audience from the balcony, so did I, said a few words and presented the representative of the organization, Katharina von Muenster, with a framed certificate of a number of trees planted in their name in the woods of “Altneuland” in the Galilee.
It was late again when I finally fell into bed.
Next week I will give two workshops, one of them with a power point presentation, which I have prepared. I am looking forward to it hope it will work out alright.

1 comment:

Hajdarovic said...

It was very nice to meet you in Jerusalem (Yad Vashem). As soon posible I'll send you pictures that I took of you. Best regards from Croatia.