Beverly Kent Goldenberg
Life Member, Hadassah Greater Detroit

Israel and Me

Photo of The Hatzar courtesy of the author.
Photo of The Hatzar courtesy of the author.

Israel and I are both marking our 76th birthdays this year. My mother, Jennie Levin Kent, an ardent Zionist, linked our birthdays each year. “You and Israel will be (whatever age we were).” For her, we were both special post-World War II gifts.

I was born after my father survived near-fatal war injuries. The excitement of Israel’s birth came shortly thereafter, with further elation when Israel survived the War of Independence.

Growing up, I viewed Israel as a rogue young country located way across the world—but the country that drew my mother’s attention, passion and love. My personal attachment to Israel didn’t begin until my post-university graduation visit to see and experience my mysterious birthday twin. I will never forget the awe of seeing for myself the land and places that I had learned and heard about.

My ties to Israel were further strengthened by marriage. In 1976, at the Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Detroit, I met Mickey Goldenberg, an Israeli sabra (a native Israeli, so called because, like their namesake, the cactus fruit, native Israelis are said to be prickly on the outside, but sweet on the inside).

Mickey and I married in 1978 and we became a bi-cultural, bi-lingual family.  I then added another way for me to view Israel: through his and his family’s eyes. As I became an integral part of Mickey׳s loving, supportive extended family, my connection to the land and people of Israel expanded and deepened.

Their family home in “the Hatzar” (courtyard) in Ramat Gan became my home in Israel and the core of family visits and celebrations. It has been the Goldenberg home in Ramat Yizhock, Ramat Gan since 1934. Mickey’s family came to Palestine from Egypt when Mickey’s father, Shmuel Goldenberg, was 13 years old. He and his six siblings were raised in one of the small homes surrounding the courtyard.

Over the years, many aunts, uncles and cousins have lived together in several small homes erected around the courtyard. Everyone in the extended family has grown up, visited or  lived in this magical yard of family love. Delicious meals, weddings, holiday and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations as well as just plain family fun take place there.

Today, the fifth generation of Goldenbergs are the current residents in their family home. Here, at the Hatzar, our family celebrates Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Israel and I will mark our 76th birthdays together in the Hatzar. May we be able to celebrate the return of the hostages, the healing of our soldiers and the end of warfare with the enemies that surround us. May we both live on in good health, peace and safety.

Ode to the Hatzar – A tribute to the Goldenberg family home
By Beverly Kent Goldenberg

An oasis amidst urban sprawl,
surrounded by concrete reaching the sky,
bustling sidewalks,
crammed vehicles
sounding their horns.

Open the gate,
follow the flat paver stones
to a garden,
trees and flowers
adorning a small house.

This home on a hill
once surrounded
by sand and orange groves,
from seeds to trees,
from generation to generation.

The Hatzar, like its name,
is a royal courtyard.
The Queen of the Night pops
its elegant white blooms,
encircling all
into its fragrant splendor.

Once you open the gate,
cross its threshold,
it wraps you into its
sweet embrace.

Like this land of milk and honey,
from its blossoms
love’s sweetness flows.
Though the heat may swelter,
water and drink pour,
delectable delicacies
quench your appetite
even when no hunger looms.

The Hatzar’s beauty,
calm, unconditional love
embrace me,
as do its residents
who now call me their own.

Queen of the Night Flower photo courtesy of the author.

“Ode to the Hatzar” was originally published in the Michigan Historical Society Journal, Creative Section, 2023.

About the Author
Beverly Kent Goldenberg has been a life member of Hadassah since 1968 and is a member of the Hadassah Writers' Circle. She was born and raised in Detroit and is a member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Chapter, Hadassah Greater Detroit. A social worker by profession, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Beverly worked at Jewish Family Service and Hillel Day School of Metro Detroit for over 30 years, creating social skills programs for children that were modeled state-wide. Her English teachers always thought that she would become a journalist. Better late than never, she has been writing and publishing memoir pieces and poetry the past several years. Beverly and her Israeli husband, Michael, raised their two sons, Etai (Caroline), a urologist, and Oren, a filmmaker and real estate developer, in Huntington Woods, Michigan, where they still reside today. Beverly is Savta to five grandchildren, Leo, Ami, Estee and Elie, Nesya and a grand-dog, Sparrow.
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