Dr Judith Guedalia

Bukra Fil Mish-Mish: Tomorrow When The Apricots Bloom

"Od tiyeh, od tihye,
Kamah tov yihye,
Ba'shanah, ba'shanah ha'ba'ah."


"In the year that will be ... we'll sit out on our porches
Counting migrating birds as they fly
And the children will run between the houses and the field
Playing catch under cloudless blue skies.


Come with me, you will see
Just how sweet life will be
in the year, in the year that will be
Come with me, you will see
Just how sweet life will be
In the year, in the year that I see."

(song by Ehud Manor and Nurit Hersh)


         Late spring and early summer find me serving only apricots to all and sundry and then "ritually" drying the mish-mish (apricot) pits on my mirpesset (porch). From four- to- about- nine-year-old Jerusalem boys (generally) can be seen whiling away hot summer days playing adju'eem (in Tel Aviv and the rest of the country, they are called go'go'eem). First with their forefinger and thumb held like a compass, they draw a virtual circle, then take turns shooting the pits to knock other players' adju'eem, and whoever has the most, or quits last, wins. The game is similar to marbles played on the streets of my hometown, New York, years ago.
         It's a short period of apricot eating, pit drying, collecting and storing the adju'eem for the summer season. The saying "Bukra fil mish-mish," has the same connotation in these parts (the Middle East) as Manyana does in Latin America or Spain - all are expressions of: "Tomorrow is another day and then we'll see."
        Summertime, and this lackadaisical attitude, kind of goes with the warm weather, unless of course it has been two years since you have been living in the cramped quarters allotted to the former Gush Katif (Gaza area) uprooted, who still haven't being given their roots.
         About 1400 formally Zionistic, productive families are squished into caravillot, the large trailers in makeshift trailer-parks derisively termed a new two-word combination, "caravan-villa," as if the largess of the government's "loan" of habitation can make up for uprooted and destroyed homes and gardens. A visit to these unsettled settler "communities" was recently reported in the Hebrew language daily, Yediot Achronot. The dire statistics say it all: in 2006, 12 young people tried to commit suicide; 20 couples filed for divorce; with the mean age of 29 years, the high percentage of chronically ill is statistically significant; depression is in epidemic proportions.
         The majority of these previously able contributors to the all areas of Israeli society, especially agriculture, are unemployed today, and the over 50s have all but given up hope of ever finding gainful employment again. The bureaucracy has been paralytic, building the promised housing has not even begun - nor will it be anywhere near completion even in two years!
         It is incomprehensible that a year has passed since the soldiers Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser and Gilad Shalit, were kidnapped. All of us, in Israel and the rest of the world, held our breaths and hearts, when we heard the tremulous voice of Gilad on the cruelly-released tape recording. But who can bear to understand the pain of parents and loved ones trying to sleep for a year, knowing that their children are being held by ruthless captors?
         August 28 is Gilad Shalit's birthday; may today be the day he, Ehud and Eldad are released and endless tomorrows only hold peace and joy for them and their families.

Originally published in the Jewish Press on July 11, 2007.

Tags: Gush Katif | Hope | Jewish Press