Book Fair

Posted on Updated on

Written by Jane during her time at Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, in May 1983

The way I got this book is just a good a beginning as any – by being open and friendly,and how that makes one human being different than another. It was at the book fair–the Jerusalem International Book Fair. I desperately needed to get there, for it was my last link to a world I left behind when I moved to my kibbutz in the north. People discussing fervently the format of a text, the quality of a paper, the style of a type – how different from the everyday trivialities of kibbutz life.

I’ve found that I’ve developed a new vocabulary–or is it a sentence structure?–No, a new way of perceiving things which is reflected in language, I was told… I was given… we received… I was assigned… it’s been decided… The passivity is overwhelming. Curiously, one adjusts to all sorts of changes – all sorts – even this required passivity–although not altogether. For all the appeal of not having to do, plan, decide, the independent spirit and initiative of the New Yorker still tugs away within me.

At the Book Fair, I felt like a returning princess. Up and down the passages I kept meeting friends – all commented on how good I looked, how slim I had become, does life on the kibbutz suit me? Clearly it does, for the time I have spent there I have bloomed. Physically, I am a new person, and my state of mind has also changed. I am free. But the personality is the same. I am the type that can easily strike up conversations with strangers, is not fearful of open and friendly banter. Alone, this aspect will dominate.

Introduce the fear of disapproval, censure, and friendly criticism… and the state of mind alters – one becomes a prisoner. One’s behavior will always be circumscribed by the presence of others – such as concern for one’s guests or one’s children – but these alternations are natural and normal, they are not negative and all-pervasive. This I have learnt after one of year of divorce.