By Jennie Might
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Some were quite eloquent. Many felt spoken to by me personally. Sometimes it was uncanny. Following the book’s publication, I went on two American lecture tours. My talks were mostly well attended. One took place at a university in the Midwest. During the question period, a student in the back rose to take issue with me. How, he asked, could I expect sophisticated American Jews like him to live in a backwater like Israel? He had once spent a few weeks in Afula, a small city in the Valley of Jezreel, and had been appalled by its provinciality.
Or mi’ bira rama le’igra amikta, as the case may be: the chronicles of our little town of Zichron relate how, when its caravan of original settlers from Rumania first reached the foot of the hill on which the settlement stands one day in 1882, they broke out in rejoicing and song; yet several weary hours and smashed wagon wheels later, having reached the rock–strewn summit and cast eyes on the desolate hills and miserable Arab hovels that were to be their new homes, the women were shamelessly wailing and the men were gnashing their teeth.
It was the last time I saw you. I was about to go into the army in a few days, and you were off to Jerusalem for a final round there before flying home. ” And I wanted to say to you: no, you are wrong about the people, but it doesn’t really matterif it’s the landscape, then let it be the landscape, you’ ve said it yourself now, so why don’t you really come home? In the end, though, I didn’t say it, perhaps because just then a jet screamed over our heads on its way out over the Golan, perhaps because I thought to myself, oh fuck it, he’s had a good visit here this summer, why spoil it for him now?
4th Time's the Charm by Jennie Might