On Friday son and i had gone to an event remembering the great Israeli writer Amos Oz , a fighter for peace and truth and light in the middle east where so few seek those goals.
The mayor of Tel Aviv, Chuldai , was a member of the family that had adopted Amos Oz when he came to live in his kibbutz, an injured teenagers after his mother had taken her own life and had left him questioning life in the city and in general and in particular. Ron Chuldai was a young child when Amos Oz became his brother but he never stopped being his brother throughout his career as a pilot in the Israeli air force and as a principal of a school where i had once taught English for one year, teaching the son of the politican who sought to make peace and failed , teaching the son of the musician who wrote songs about peace and love and light overcoming the darkness and also teaching children whose parents were as anonymous as me.
I asked for a photo and the mayor of Tel Aviv though he was rushing to stage, took a minute to stand in a photo with my son, who just landed in Israel the night before but already was listening to words that became immortal from one of Israel’s finest writers.
Yes, we speak together English but what better way to learn Hebrew than to listen to the words of one of the lovers of the language read out by those who love and miss him and are inspired by him with me sharing this joy of words and thoughts and hope that words can create as much as they can destroy, can build and fill us with motivation to do and to be better and more sensitive to others and to listen to ourselves and to others .
Various people with prominent positions in literature had got up on stage and read from Amos Oz’s writings.
I remember one particular passage where Amos Oz writes he does not want to fall in the streets in Berlin or London but only in Israel where if you fall everyone will rush to your side and pick you up but just as easily knock you down and bring about your fall.
It is such a complex reality we must live in when kindness and cruelty are together like a life giving remedy laced with poison.
What to do but to accept that reality is NOT black and white and is far more complex than poison and medicine but sometimes those people who knock you down actually help you stand up on your feet again .
We left when the grandson of Amos Oz came to the stage to read because it was getting too much , too overwhelming and i was seeking the comfort of pages to contain words and a computer screen to comfort me against the harsh light of the middle east mid day sun .
Amos Oz wrote words that some people, people like me now think and thank him for expending my horizons and examining my thoughts and going through my ideas like socks in a drawer mixed up with underwear and other clothing items, sorting out what i can wear and what i have to throw away because i have outgrown it.