Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

In The Middle Of The Night

ITS THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT OR THE EARLY HOURS, WHATEVER, I have awoken from my dreams which are so horrendous.

I am fleeing from the Ukraine, I am that little Jewish girl.

My grandparents escaped from the Ukraine in the early 1930’s with five kids in tow. No money and no language except Yiddish. Luckily for them the boat they were on reached a “safe haven” when it arrived in the London Docks.

They set up a Ham and Beef store and over the shop there was a small flat where they lived and had 5 more kids, one of whom was my mother. They kept a kosher home. Would one believe that was important under such circumstances?.

So my mother was born British as was I. She told me that on Friday’s she scrubbed the kitchen table on which my Booba rolled out the lockshen and pastry, gleaming white as they could not afford a tablecloth.

However my identity with the Ukranians is stronger than I realised and I have just awoken from a nightmare.

I was there and I was cold and terrified.

As soon as I realised that I was in my bed in Tel Aviv I jumped out and made for the kitchen to make myself a hot dink.

They can’t even do this, I realised. If they are sleeping at all in a bed. In a house?

I screamed out, as if anyone were there to hear “this has to stop”!

So here I sit at my computer which has become my “friend in need” and contemplate making a video.

Everyday on my mobile I see adverts or some rubbish from a British outlet that writes continuously about the rich and famous and celebs, as they are called. They have so many bathrooms. A “his,hers” and at least three for others maybe kids or guests?

I am waiting for one of my grandkids to come over and “clean up” my mobile. Sadly or happily whatever applies they are all too busy with their jobs and so on so I wait. I am fortunate to have a wonderful caregiver. I am pretty useless these days.

A few moments ago I woke with a start. I thought that I was one of the refugees from Ukraine. I was cold and hungry and alone.

We go about our daily needs. We also send money or clothes to those less fortunate.

My friend Lucy z’l was a Holocaust survivor born in Vienna who had endured a much harder life than I, even before the war broke out. We were close in age and yet how different were our lives?

So I ask myself why?

We have the use of water, oil, transport, schools and colleges, in all countries in the West!

We are taught to think for ourselves and make decisions. Isn’t that the way it should be in the 21st century?

I thought of Mira Awad and Achinoam Nini who wrote the song “there must be another way”

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.
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