Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wonderful 'Settlers' of the Negev...

בס''ד

The Golden Age or The Third Generation are fancy titles referring to anyone over 60. In plain language senior citizens.

Becoming a Golden Ager is a very special Bracha.  It is not something we should take for granted. Being able to see our children grown-up, becoming parents themselves and living productive lives brings joy to our hearts. 

And grandchildren and great-grandchildren….the joy is a blog all by itself. 

Being over 60, I was invited to join our moetza, Sdot Negev [regional council] seniors group. The group offers friendships, creative activities, jewelry making, ceramics, painting, music, Torah shiurim and outings. There is an exercise class, two delicious meals are served and door to door mini bus service.

I have always been interested in ceramics and jewelry making and so I decided to give it a try. And so bright and early yesterday morning at 8:15 the mini bus picked me up and I was on my way.

Arriving at the moadon [community building], I was greeted by Shira a very sweet counselor who showed me around. When Shira introduced me to some of the women who had already arrived and told them that I speak English, immediately one lady said, I want to learn English, then another and another.  

I joined the table of ladies and we spoke a little about ourselves, me murdering Hebrew and they breaking their teeth to speak English. Somehow, we understood each other. 

Coffee and then breakfast was served and the other staff who co-ordinate this program came to introduce themselves and say hello to me. Everyone was so very warm and friendly. I felt very comfortable.

As I looked around the room, I felt in awe. Here were the real settlers of the Negev.

Sitting with me were men and women who were born in Israel many, many years before the modern state was recognized. Others were olim from Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Egypt. They left their birth home, most being kicked out by cruel arab governments who stole their land and property and they traveled by boat  and settled in Eretz Yisrael.

There any many heroic and terrifying stories of how these brave people escaped with just the clothes on their back.

Our early government’s history of receiving these olim is not a nice story. The treatment they received by the elites was shameful. They were treated as second class citizens and sent to live in a barren and desolate area known as the Negev.

The olim brought with them their traditions, their food, their music, their Rabbanim and above all, their love for Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish homeland. They raised families. Having ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen children was not unusual. Everyone had their chores.

They went about settling the land. Not having the modern farming tools that we have today, they worked with their hands from sunrise to sunset. They plowed and planted fields, started kibbutzim and moshavim. They built homes, cheders  [religious schools], schools, Beit Knessets [synagogues]. They became businessmen and tradesmen. They welcomed guests with a warm Shalom Aleichem, a kiss on the cheeks, and food. 

With a Bracha from Hashem, the settlers of the Negev did the impossible. They settled the Negev, this dry sandy, barren, desolate land was blooming. Green, green land with fields and fields of wheat and vegetables as far as the eye can see. The sweet smells of fruit orchards and flower gardens permeate the air. 

From small farming communities, developmental towns and cities were built. People from other areas of Israel were moving to the Negev.

As I look around at all the seniors in the room I have the utmost respect for them and want to say thank-you. Thank-you for your hard work in settling our land.  The Negev has been my families home for the past 10 years.. Thank-you for making the Negev a wonderful place to call home.

That’s all for now.
Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam                 

6 comments:

Unknown said...

Very nice but I see this as a challenge. Why not begin to tell "their story", Your new-found friends must have plenty of stories about where they came from, their journey here and their acclimation into Israel. Sounds like a great project.

Meyer

Miriam said...

Shalom Meyer

I will take up your challenge and research properly and then blog. Might take me some time.

BTW on Oct. 22/09 I blogged about my son-in-law Hagai's father, who was one of the Negev settlers.

http://miriamswords.blogspot.co.il/2009_10_22_archive.html.

Paula R. Stern said...

Love it! We are all settlers of this wonderful land...each in their own way and their own place...and despite that, I have a special love for the settlers that choose what might seem a harder place, a hotter place, a place less immediately fertile. The Negev has such beauty; it is very special when it is recognized and loved for that beauty and the special people, like you, who live there!

Benny said...

Just read your wonderful blog about living in the Negev and all the Mizrachi cultural experiences you have enjoyed there as a result. I a a British Jew and a regular visitor to Israel. I have also been to your original home some years´ago. I perfected my Ivrit in what back in the early 80´s was the WUJS centre in nearby Arad so I know your area very well indeed. In wishing you Shabbat Shalom

Benny

Batya Medad said...

This post has been included in the latest joint Havel Havelim-Kosher Cooking Carnival,  Shiloh Musings: 17th of Tammuz Fast Postponed, HH and KCC, Too

Please visit and check out the other posts; read, comment and share, thanks.

Welcome to the joblogging community.

Owen said...

Wonderful reading. I'm a lover of Israel living in N.Z. Where do you live in Israel?
Warm regards



Regards,
Owen