HOME May-June 2006 Featured Stories Background Information News On The Web



by Rachel Saperstein


Our friends, Mendy and Sharon, were coming for Shabbat. That meant busy preparation, as we do for all of our friends and visitors.

"Keep it simple, we're dieting."

"So are we, or at least so am I," I rejoined.

"Lots of veggies and fruit?"


A nearby Supersol provided the staples. The mini-market and greengrocer here in Nitzan provided the extras and the "I forgot to buy..." items. And I cooked.

That evening we held a meeting with the men who will head the "Dr. Fixit" project. Ideas were batted about. "Let's give courses to our maintenance people so they can fix major appliances as well as do simple repairs." "Lets get hooked up with department stores that sell 'put-it-together-yourself' items that no one knows how to put together." Brainstorming brought out the best. Ideas flew. A business report is now in the making.

The three women developing "The Orange Gallery" met last night to plan the first exhibit of our artisans' work. We will be at the Gerard Behar Center in Jerusalem on June 22 along with a performance by the Bet Shemesh Women in their "Gush Katif Story". Our women called me once for a bit of information. Otherwise they were on a roll -- talking business.

Sarah, our hairdresser, told me about an advanced hairstyling course that she was anxious to take. As Sarah will be the hair design director of our "Day Spa", I arranged for a study grant with JobKatif. Sarah is on her way to having a dream come true.

Nadia Matar of "Women in Green" is to be put on trial this Wednesday [June 14]. She compared the letter written to the Jews of Gush Katif by SELA director Yonatan Bassi to a similar letter written to the Jews of Germany by the Judenrat. She is accused of "insulting a public official". I arranged for a bus to bring our Gush Katif people to the courthouse in Jerusalem's Russian Compound. We will stand proud with this courageous woman.

Likud headquarters called. The World Likud membership is here for their convention. Could I help their fallen party? "Bring them to Nitzan! Let them meet the refugees!" I begged. "Let them repent and work to scuttle the Olmert plan to again remove Jews from Jewish land and give the Land of Israel to the Arabs." I phoned a few Likud old-timers. They wept when they heard I was from Gush Katif. They too had been betrayed by their own party, betrayed by a demagogue and his coterie.

Sharon and Mendy came for Shabbat. Our air-conditioner wasn't working properly -- we froze. We talked. We laughed. We recalled their many visits to Neve Dekalim. On Shabbat, Mendy, a kohen, gave his blessings not only to the congregation but to a congregant's newborn son. This was the first circumcision ceremony to be held in our synagogue.

We walked around the refugee camp. The dullness of the nondescript homes depresses the soul. The brightly colored geraniums give a bit of warmth. After Shabbat we visited the small shed that Yehuda, our picture framer and locksmith in Neve Dekalim, built to house his framing shop. He is selling pendants and key chains engraved with the words "We will not forget -- We will not forgive." The Star of David is torn, the name of each destroyed community is etched in the back. I bought Sharon a necklace and Mendy a keychain.

This morning my flute teacher, Alex, called to say his car was being repaired and could we meet tomorrow. I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn't practiced.

OPERATION DIGNITY is bringing hope, financial aid and employment to our people? OPERATION DIGNITY needs your help to revitalize a once proud people.

Send your check, earmarked "Operation Dignity" to

Central Fund for Israel
Rehov Hagoel 13
Efrat 90435


Central Fund for Israel
attention: Arthur Marcus
Marcus Bros. Textiles
980 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10018 USA

Rachel Saperstein and her husband Moshe lived in Neve Dekalim, Gush Katif, Gaza, Israel. Rachel Saperstein was a teacher at the Neve Dekalim ulpana and a spokeswoman for the Katif Regional Council. Her book, "Eviction: A Gush Katif Viewpoint", with photos by Moti Sender can be ordered from

Moshe Saperstein is a Jerusalem Diarist, one of the group of Israelis who are recording their experiences living in Israel. He lost an arm while fighting in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. He was again wounded in a February 2002 incident when he drove his car into a terrorist who had just shot and killed a young mother traveling in the car in front of him. He writes frequently of his physical and emotional struggles.


Return_________________________End of Story___________________________Return

HOME May-June 2006 Featured Stories Background Information News On The Web