The last time I spent Shabbat in Gush Katif, the topic of Disengagement was a self-imposed taboo; this time it was all the families could talk about. Mothers, fathers, children were all venting their anger, upset, humiliation, suffering, pain, and most of all — incredulity — incredulity that the Israeli government could be so cruel and heartless by putting them through such a traumatic ordeal. I entered the home of the family hosting me for the Friday night meal — it was not a house — but a home. The home was filled with hundred of plants and paintings and sculptures created by the artistic mother — and with warmth, generosity, and love. The table was set immaculately for their four children and five guests, and ten different kinds of salads added color to the table. “Doesn’t your mother get a kiss for Shabbat?” the lady of the house asked her handsome, lean 22 year-old son as he walked in from shul. He looked more like her brother. He immediately obliged. As we sat down, the conversation easily turned to the subject of the Disengagement — no, it’s not a “Disengagement” the mother reminded us, it’s an “Expulsion” — and the father simply declared the unofficial Israeli anthem, trying to emanate strength: “It will all be okay.” But we all knew it wouldn’t be. The couple came to the Gush 30 years ago, when the area consisted only of sand …
My first “Disengagement Diary” entry published in Israel Insider.
Published originally in the Jewish Journal, this piece describes my first visit to Gush Katif, a visit that I didn’t know at the time would change my life–forever.
If the Cinderella story had been set in Tel Aviv, her raggedy slipper would have turned into a magical glass pump at the witching hour, instead of the other way around.