Today I went to the Shiva for Vivian Silver, It took place at the home of a member of Women Wage Peace, who was a close friend of Vivian. Upon arrival, I noticed several members of WWP who were there to ensure everything ran smoothly, and the family was comfortable and cared for. I felt that Vivian would have been surprised by all the love and admiration shown towards her. I didn’t know much about Vivian’s personal life, when we met or texted it was mostly about the movement and our goals. But a fellow member I met at the Shiva, originally from New York, shared that she had known Vivian for over 50 years. They initially met in New York as part of a group in Habonim movement that eventually made Aliya, and they have remained friends ever since.
I also encountered two ladies from Kedumim, near Nablus, who had connected with Vivian through the movement’s outreach program, aiming to engage in dialogues with women residing in settlements in the West Bank. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk inside, we crossed paths again while leaving. We chatted for a while and one of them added: “Vivian’s righteousness will protect us.” Despite knowing almost no one at the Shiva, it was important for them to pay their respects.
A bearded man, wearing a large yarmulke, mentioned that he had arrived from The Golan Heights. Like Vivian he was originally from Canada, but didn’t know her personally. He explained that he read a lot about Vivian and, despite having very different views, felt compelled to be at the Shiva.
Shivas often provide an opportunity to hear family stories. I had a brief conversation with Vivian’s brother, asking about their mother, whom Vivian often praised for being remarkably engaged despite her advanced age. The brother said that after their father passed away, his mother in her 90s decided to embrace life and, together with him, she experienced for the first time adventures like horseback riding, water rafting, and even zip lining. I found these stories inspiring, they also revealed that Vivian grew up to be such a brave and unconventional woman partly because she had a role model back home in Winnipeg,
The brother mourned that, unlike their mother, Vivian was deprived of 30 additional years of adventures. It was sad, my only consolation was to tell him the truth: in 74 years Vivian accomplished what many couldn’t in several lifetimes.
Yehi Zichra Baruch יהי זכרה ברוך