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Contributing Editor ~ Helen Bar-Lev, IL
 

 

 

 

Interview with Ada Aharoni, IL

Question: In which country were you born?

I was born in Cairo, Egypt, near Midan El Tahrir, where the recent popular revolution in Egypt began.

Question: How long have you lived in Israel?

Since 1950.

Question: When did you begin to write poetry and what prompted you to write?

I began at the early age of seven. I was in an English School, “Alvernia English School for Girls” in Zamalek and was the only one in my French speaking family who wrote in English-  It was my secret language in which I wrote my thoughts and poems.

At the age of fifteen, I founded together with my Arab Egyptian friend Kadreya, a Poetry School Magazine, called “The Rainbow" – We had just emerged from the bombings of World War Two”, and the motto of our magazine was: “To Abolish Wars from the Earth Forever”. How nave we were then!

Question: How long have you been a member of Voices?

Since the very beginning. I was one of the founding members. I was approached by Reuben Rose, when some of my poems were published in The Jerusalem Post.
One of them on “Jerusalem” won Second Prize at the The International JP Poetry Contest
.
Question: Do you belong to any other writing/poetry groups? Please tell us a little about them.

I belong to IAWE, the Israeli Association of Writers in English, headed by Prof. Karen Gut , of Tel Aviv University. I also belong to International Pen, and the Israeli PEN, as well as Agudat Ha Sofrim – The Hebrew Writers and Poets Association

Question: What are the most important changes you’ve seen in Voices in all this time?

I am glad to see that many new poets have joined, and that the quality of the poetry is improving. The new format of the Voices Newsletter on the Internet, by our new Secretary Helen Bar-Lev is artistic and very appealing.

Question: What inspires your poetry?

Feelings, deep thoughts. A real poet is a leader, one that tries to repair his world and society. I am inspired by themes of “peace” and “equality for women”. I often write on these topics, when they touch me deeply hoping to add a drop in the urgently needed ocean of “ repairs”, called in Hebrew “Tikkun Olam” (Repair the world).

Question: Which forms do you prefer? Why?

I prefer the open form. It gives the opportunity for more depth and intimacy. I also like the ballad form – its lyrical music is inspiring.

Question: Who is your favorite poet?

My favorite poet in English is the British Peace Poet Wilfred Owen who wrote during the First World War, and was killed in the trenches at the age of 25. My favorite poet in Hebrew is Yehuda Amichai. I also very much like the Nobel Polish Poet Chimborska.

Question: Where have you been published?

In 17 different countries, mainly Israel, America, France and England. The entire list including names of publishers can be seen on my Homepage
www.iflac.com/ada   I am tri-lingual, and write in 3 languages: English, French and Hebrew

Question: Where do you live?

I live in Nesher which is five minutes from Haifa, in the North of Israel.

Question: Tell us a little about your family.

My husband Prof. Haim Aharoni, died of a heart attack four years ago, Some of the poems I wrote in his memory are released in a disc called: “To Haim – To Life : LOVE POEMS. They are sung by singer Michal Tal and read by me with background music, in English and Hebrew. They have often been played on Kol Yisrael, the Israeli Broadcasting company. The poems can be heard and read on my Homepage.

I have two children, Ariel a Medical Doctor - Gynecologist, at the Rothschild Hospital, and Talia, the Founder and Director of the Dorot College for Third Age. I have six wonderful grandchildren and 3 delightful great granddaughters.

Question: What is your profession?

I am a writer, and a professor of English Literature, M. Phil from London University, and Ph.D from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow. I have Taught at Haifa University and at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am also a Sociologist and taught at the Technion in Haifa: “Conflict Resolution through Bridges of Culture. I have published 26 books to date, half of them on Poetry and Collections of Poems..

Below are the titles of some of them.

Books by Ada Aharoni, IL



 

You and I Can Change the World"These fine and moving poems shine with deep and challenging truth s about life, relations between women and men, and above all, Ada Aharoni instills a vivid hope and vision of a Middle East and a world beyond war. Ada shrinks from no emotional, ethical or moral complexity. She is a marvelous poet".

~Prof. Fawzi Deif, Cairo University

 

Woman: Creating a World Beyond War. A powerful collection of poems and prose, an eye-opener as to women's power to abolish war. At a time when the world is still caught up in the clutches of war, terror and violence, humankind should now "listen to women for a change." If the women of the world succeed to unite, they can powerfully throw the demonic belief that "wars and terror can solve conflicts," into the anachronistic dustbin of history.
" Ada Aharoni is a major universal poet and writer. Her new book on women creating a world beyond war and violence, is a celebration!"

~(New Waves: New York ).


 

Peace Flower.  A lyrical story that will delight all, from the age of ten to a hundred and ten. It is an imaginative tale of fantastic adventures in space, to find the Peace Flower in the Future and bring it back to earth as it does not yet exist in our Present. Lee and Roni, two brave children, face the terrible nuclear giant Nuki, who tries to stop them from bringing peace to the earth. Through their courage and love for each other, they finally triumph. This original and hopeful book has been adopted by schools and colleges all over the world. It is available in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.


 

Not in Vain: An Extraordinary Life.  Relates the remarkable story of Sister Thea Wolf, a German Jewish Nurse who came to work in the Jewish hospital in Alexandria, Egypt before the outbreak of World War 2. This not only saved her life but also thrust her in a leading role of helping Jewish refugees who came to Egypt in their attempt to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. The book contains moving poems that open each of the chapters of this unique biography.

~Review Amazon – www.amazon.com

Also available in Hebrew, titled The Woman in White: Memories from Alexandria. For more information, please email Ada Aharoni.

Thea Wolf (born in 1907) passed away on the 14th of April, 2005, in Frankfurt on Maine , at the hospital where she studied to become a nurse.


 

From the Nile to the JordanA compelling and colorful historical novel, which captures in detail the spirit, excitement and intrigue of mid-20th century Egypt and Israel . At the core of this stormy saga is Inbar Etty, the beautiful and talented daughter of respected judge Mosseri, member of Cairo 's Jewish community. When the storm of tragic events in the Middle East in 1948 threatens to destroy her future and that of her lover, the Holocaust survivor Raoul Lipsky, she sets out in a passionate quest for roots, love, fulfilment, creativity, and a new home.

French Edition: Du Nil au Jourdain. "Beautiful, heroic and fascinating! The book divulges a whole epic saga that is a part of history which is still quite unknown..."

~A. B. Yehoshua


 

Poems From Israel. "This is a fascinating book, sensitive and moving, covering a wide range of subjects, and above all ex press ing a deep yearning for peace in the Middle East ."

~Harper's Weekly N.Y.


 

Waves of Peace - Galim 8.  A collection of articles, poems, and pictures to commemorate the peace leader Yitzhak Rabin. It also contains some of Rabin's own speeches, as well as quotations.


 

New Waves Galim 2000.  "Peace Culture Anthology" in English and Hebrew, and some Arabic. It includes poetry, and an interview with Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, Paulo Coelho's "Statutes" for 2000, articles on the significance of peace by Albert Einstein, Kofi Annan, Shimon Peres, Prof. Chaim Aharoni, and many others. It contains peace poetry by the best poets from 24 countries.


 

The Pomegranate: Love and Peace Poems.

LIFE IS A POMEGRANATE

Life is a Pomegranate
Full of juicy ruby grains
Taste them fully
One by one
Before
It is suddenly
No More.

 

 

Free Verse

 

A Green Week

 

A week like fresh mint,
a green week spreading
its fragrance to the roots
of being

"Have a green week!"
My father used to bless us
on Saturday nights in Cairo,
when he came back from the "Gates of Heaven"
the grand synagogue in Adli street in Cairo

"Have a green year"
he beamed,
brandishing a fresh, fragrant mint branch
over our keen curly heads

but don't keep it just to yourselves,
give it back
to the world
fully blossoming.

Who will give me
a green week
now that he's gone?
Now that the Gates of Heaven
are shut?

Only harmonious peace
Like a fresh, fragrant mint branch.

 

 

Siniora: My New Friend in Gaza

 

Your shy smile under your veil
And luminous dark eyes in the theatre
Of life, of strife, caught my eye
In the Ability Center in Khan Yunis, in Gaza.
I invited you to take a picture with us
And you charmingly accepted.
I gave you my peace poetry book in Arabic
translation,
You read and said: "You love Peace as much as
me!"
And you gave me your address, for more of my
books.
You pointed out from the window
To the impressive new buildings in Gaza,
And we became new friends.
With women it is as easy as that.

You asked me about my children,
I asked you about your family, your plans,
You showed me your artwork, your workshop,
I showed you my inner writing, my pictures, my
peace dreams.
You showed me your impressive museum
With gorgeous embroidered Palestinian dresses,
You gently asked: "Which one do you like best?"
I pointed to the dark blue with red embroidery,
Like the one I used to wear in Egypt, a long time
ago,
And in my poetry presentations.
"I'll embroider it for you, and send it to you to
Haifa,"
You promptly, softly said.
I was so moved, and hugged you dear Siniora,
My new friend in Gaza.
When our blue bus drove away,
We both had tears in our eyes,
My wonderful new friend in Gaza

With women it is as natural, as easy as that.

Men ! Learn from women for a change,
Let women help you make peace, make friends,
With women it is as natural, as easy as that.

 

 

Cosmic Woman

 

They tell us
you were first born
in warm ocean womb
caressed by sun fingers

daughter perhaps
of the stormy affair
of two unruly atoms in love
maddened by the solitude
of eternal rounds
in the steppes of times

And your children,
lively descendants
of their stellar nucleus mother
dropped from the sky
in depths of ocean belly,
born of green and brown seaweed
and the laughs and cries
of a blue bacteria

Cosmic woman,
when you chose earth
as home for your vast roots
at the beginning
of the great human family,
it was for life

not for death!

Cosmic woman,
you, who were born of the nucleus,
from deadly nuclear mushroom

save your chosen planet
save your children!

 

 

Peace Is A Woman

 

How do you know
peace is a woman?
I know, for
I met her yesterday
on my winding way
to the world's fare.
She had such a sorrowful face
just like a golden flower faded
before her prime.

I asked her why
she was so sad?
She told me her baby
was killed in Auschwitz,
her daughter in Hiroshima
and her sons in Vietnam,
Ireland, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine,
Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya.

All the rest of her children, she said,
are on the nuclear
black-list of the dead,
all the rest, unless
the whole world understands

that peace is a woman.

A thousand candles then lit
in her starry eyes, and I saw

Peace is indeed a pregnant woman,
Peace is a mother.

 

 

Eve's Defence

 

You didn't have to accept
That shiny juicy apple
Did you Adam dear?

Please remove those
Musty fig leaves
From your memory and ears
And remember Adam dear,
You were created
From mere earth,
Whereas I was sculpted
From a much finer substance
Finer than ivory
Finer than gold.

In the rush of your
Heart's blood
In the throbbing of your temples
Remember Adam dear

I was created
From pure human bone

Your strong rib-bone
Became me - Eve
Mother of Life.

Always remember
Dearest Adam
Free, indepedent Eve
Is - You.

 

 

Palm Curve

 

Cuddled in the heart of your hand,
soft hand, warm hand,
I do not feel the meaningless drops
of life drizzling,
do not hear its jackal-thunder
nor see its lynx-lightning
in the dark.

And if the world should burst tonight
in a giant mushroom flame,
I would not notice

Snuggled in the nook
of your gentle palm
where I belong,
it seems I may exist
forever.

We are all alike

gently dozing in the nook
and the noose
of borrowed nuclear time.

 

 

I Want to Kill You War

 

I want to kill you war, forever,
not like a phoenix, that always comes back
I want to kill you war
and I don't know how
and I don't know why
all the people of the world
don't join hands
to kill you war

you the greatest killer
of them all!

The governors of the world
Go on feeding your fat belly
With fresh soldiers
And nuclear arms,
With blurring eyes
They only know how to hang
The murderers of the one or the two
But not you,
You, the greatest murderer of them all.

After the carnage the priest said
"we are all responsible."
After the carnage the Sheikh said
"we all remain brothers."
After the carnage the Rabbi said
"we can stop it if we choose."
The priest and the sheikh and the Rabbi
Raise up their hands and look up to the sky.

The peace marchers
Take hold of the slab of marble
On which is inscribed "We want to live not die!"

And carry it away under the whizzing bullets
Like a corpse - but still warm, still alive.

 

 

About Ada Aharoni, IL

 

I was born in Cairo, Egypt, near Midan El Tahrir, where the recent popular revolution in Egypt began. I have lived in Israel since 1950. I live in Nesher which is five minutes from Haifa, in the North of Israel. I have two children, Ariel a Medical Doctor - Gynecologist, at the Rothschild Hospital, and Talia, the Founder and Director of the Dorot College for Third Age. I have six wonderful grandchildren and 3 delightful great granddaughters. My husband Prof. Haim Aharoni, died of a heart attack four years ago.

I am a writer, and a professor of English Literature, M. Phil from London University, and Ph.D from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, on Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow. I have Taught at Haifa University and at the University of Pennsylvania.

I am also a Sociologist and taught at the Technion in Haifa: “Conflict Resolution through Bridges of Culture. I have published 26 books to date, half of them on Poetry and Collections of Poems..

This is Ada Aharoni's first appearance in Sketchbook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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