Right to Left: Four books for 60 years

Posted: 7/17/2008 7:22:00 PM
Author: Viva Sarah Press
Source: The updated version of this article appeared in the Jerusalem Post online on July 18, 2008.

Right to Left: Four books for 60 year
by Viva Sarah Press

Haya Lanu Otzar
by Adi Yefet Fuchs
Photography by Amit Gosher
Katrina Hagdola
158 pages; NIS 129

In dedication to Israel's 60th anniversary, local publishing firms have all recently come out with new coffee-table books highlighting a part of the state's history. Haya Lanu Otzar, which can be translated as We Had Treasures, takes readers on a nostalgic trip. It returns the spotlight to the Israeli house of the 1960s and '70s. Documentary filmmaker and producer Adi Yefet Fuchs has collected an assortment of everyday items from the past and presents them here in photo album style. These items played witness to a more simple and modest time in the history of the state.

Alongside each beautifully photographed object is a short explanation about its importance to the time period. For example, a three-pronged television antenna is included as a reminder to the days when TV was a new concept and watching a full broadcast without interruption was considered an achievement in and of itself. Peacock feathers, before the days of political correctness, were "the" item with which to decorate one's home.

Other objects included in this anthology are old-fashioned sewing boxes, charity boxes, canteens, cameras and sandals. This book will appeal both to those who lived through the '60s and '70s in Israel as well as to those who were born afterward.

Letayel Im Haggei Yisrael
(Touring Israel in the Spirit of Jewish
by Sara Shoub
223 pages; NIS 98

Tour guide and Jewish studies lecturer Sara Shoub integrated her love for the Land of Israel with her knowledge of the Jewish holidays into her unique hardback. Shoub writes that both holidays and tours are spiritual in nature and offer something different from the day-to-day routine. Opening with Rosh Hashana and ending with Shabbat, this guide book gives a new point of view when it comes to traveling around the country.

For each holiday, Shoub explains its significance and suggests a complementary tour. At Rosh Hashana, for example, she recommends visiting ancient synagogues in Gamla and Tiberias as well as taking time to stop by Dvorat Hatavor, where visitors are given a live demonstration of the production of silk and honey as it was done in biblical times. For Tu Be'av, the holiday of love, she proposes a moonlit walk along Alexander River.

The book is also packed with maps, information about the sites including when they're open, old and new photographs and Web site addresses. The book is too heavy to lug around on trips, but each holiday's information page can easily be photocopied and taken along.

Yisrael: 60 Shanim Vetiyulim
(Israel: 60 Years and Travels)
edited by Oren Nahari
280 pages; NIS 189

Mapa's new book celebrating Israel's 60th anniversary is a guide book that also outlines the history of the country. Edited by Channel 1's Oren Nahari, this hardcover offers up a different site for every year of the country's existence. For example, Mapa recommends a trek to the Nahal Masur canyon for the year 1975. It was in 1975 that the US promised to deliver F-15 airplanes to Israel instead of Skyhawks. Today, old Skyhawks can be found scattered in the canyon and visitors can get a close-up look at these long forgotten attack planes. There is also a two-page history summary dedicated to 1975 with highlights of that year's events.

This book features old and new photography, historical statistics, maps, and drawings. Yisrael: 60 Shanim Vetiyulim is also too heavy to take with you on a tour. Instead, it is great for reading up on where you're going before you head out on your journey.

Ahavat Ha'aretz: Shirat Ha'aretz Venofeya
(Israel - A Love Song)
edited by Thelma Eligon-Roz
Photography by Shlomo Rogalin
179 pages; NIS 148

This is a big book of poetry with stunning photographs of Israeli nature. The book was put together by editor Thelma Eligon-Roz, who is also a poet. She writes that she hoped to demonstrate her love of the country through famous writings and poems. She dug through decades of material to collate this anthology.

From Shaul Tchernikovsky to Ehud Manor, Natan Alterman to Naomi Shemer, this book includes a wide assortment of love poems written about, and for, Israel. The works are divided into chapters: pre-state days, the founding of the nation, poems about nature, love songs dedicated to the state and nigunim. Eligon-Roz chose as the closing song Hanna Szenes's powerful and famous "A Walk to Caesarea." As the poem states - "My God, My God, I pray that these things never end" - Eligon-Roz seems to be telling the reader that she too hopes the Jewish state will continue eternally.