Continuing But Not Moving On

After the first few minutes of speaking with Shifra Shomron over the phone, the similarities between this young author and the heroine of her debut novel, Grains of Sand: The Fall of Neve Dekalim, become apparent.

She’s busy studying for finals, and she asks to hold the interview when they are over. Shomron, 20, like her heroine Efrat Yefet, is studious, industrious, a “star student” and something of a bookworm. One probably has to be to publish a novel at 19. She is strikingly poised, mature and idealistic for her age. At times she passionately gives facts and information about her community like a caring yet strict teacher – which is a good thing, since her ambition is to impact society as a high-school English teacher.

Grains of Sand is the first novel to emerge out of the rubble of Gush Katif, and it is through teenaged Efrat Yefet that Shomron allows readers to become familiar with life there in the years leading up to disengagement.

As I step into the Shomron family caravilla (prefab housing unit) in Nitzan, more similarities between the author and Efrat begin to surface. A golden retriever rushes to the door and happily greets me as another fluffy-haired mutt looks on. The Shomrons’ three dogs are characters in the novel, and pictures of them illustrate the book. The portrait of an animal-loving Gush Katif family of four fits with another one of Shomron’s literary purposes, to break stereotypes of settlers.

“I wanted my family to be different, to show the heterogeneous nature of the settlers that society often overlooks,” explains the petite brunette in her small kitchen/dining room.

Shomron proves to be an articulate, knowledgeable spokeswoman for her community – thanks in part to her work as an English translator for Friends of Gush Katif – but she also wrote the novel, which she began in April 2005, as a means of therapy. READ THE REST IN THE JERUSALEM POST.

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