Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Who is Zelda?

Who is Zelda?

Ask an Israeli in the street ? Most people will not have an answer At least they did not have, till now.

Those who know their history or are interested in Israeli literature will say she was a poetess.

Others might add “she taught Amos Oz”.

Others will shrug their shoulders.

I was named after my Ukrainian Great- Grandmother whom I cannot remember. My “Booba” named Pearl died when I was three and I do have a cousin named after her.

On arriving in Israel alone at the tender age of 18 I looked up an Israeli family whose mothers’ antecedents had been here for 9 generations and who’s son was studying Law in London. Money was strictly monitored in those day and the travel allowance was something around 30 pounds sterling, if my memory serves me correctly? My mother had loaned the young man money and my young husband was to collect it in Israel..

The women were extremely welcoming and sat around me discussing Hebrew names. “You cannot have a name like Zelda its terribly old fashioned”. I replied I have been Zelda all my life, in a Christian country. “So what” they replied and suggested that as I wanted to at least keep the Zee, it could be Zahava or Tzippora”.

“No way” I remonstrated.

So now Zelda will once again be a name for babies and it will be in memory of a Glideria, commonly called an ice cream bar.

My eldest son was six when we arrived and on entering school the name thing came up again. Peter is not an Israeli name. I had called him Peter because it was nearest to my own father’s name Peretz. Again everyone said “You cannot call him Peretz and Perry sounded effeminate.

So do we ever get it right!

“What’s in a name?

“A rose by any other name will smell as sweet” quote.

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.