Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bat Yam 8

Wow it has been a very crazy two weeks and I have so much to tell, so I'll try to keep it short and only talk about the big stuff.

jessica and katie are watching the lion king next to me. it is such a sweet movie.

Okay so volunteering and classes has been going as usaual, nothing really too new. I got a 100 on my David Project multiple choice test that was beyond easy.

Two tuesdays ago, the 9th, my siyyur was looking at architecture around Tel Aviv and the Bau House. We met up with an architect student from Jerusalem who gave us a tour around Rothschild St. We had all been to these buildings before and heard the history of Tel Aviv and how it was developed but every tour we take adds a little something more. Eventually we walked down to where Joseph Bau used to have his studio and took a tour with his two daughters. Bau studied art in Poland. Bau was a Holocaust survivor. In fact, the wedding that took place in Speilberg's Schindler's List was the wedding between Joseph and Rivka Bau. However, due to Hollywood the entire wedding occurred quite differently--Joseph dressed up as a woman and was smuggled into the woman's quarter in Plashov (I visited there during the March of the Living, it was completely demolished and has a simple rock and plaque with yizcor candles as a monument). Joseph and Rivka were married amongst all the woman and since there are about 9 woman per a bunk, the woman hid away to try to give the newlyweds some lonely time. The bell rang informing everyone that a male role call would be happening (the Nazis expected men to be missing). So Joseph had to dress back up as a woman to sneak out. However, the gate between the sides of the camps had been closed, which was an electric fence. Some people had ended their lives by throwing themselves upon the fence. The only way to get to the men's side was over the fence. It was a catch 22--either the Nazis would catch him and shoot him for being on the women's side or the fence would kill him. He decided that it would be better to take his own life. He jumped on the fence and somehow he wasn't electrocuted. He made his way over to the men's quarters as the bell was ringing informing everyone that the counting was being canceled. Bau worked for the Nazis creating propaganda. He also forged documents and passports for Jewish inmates. He helped save 400 people. He is quoted as answering why he didn't smuggle himself out, that if he left who would save the others. He and Rivka survived the war at two different locations--Joseph in Schindler's factory making posters with Gothic letters and Rivka still in a camp--and found each other after. Bau finished his arts degree. Ironically his former professors couldn't understand why he took a five year hiatus.

Joseph and Rivka made his way to Israel with their three year old daughter in 1950. Joseph worked for the Mossad, forging papers. Which is why he was never allowed to sign his art work. Joseph is the writer of "Dear G-d, Have You Ever Gone Hungry?" amongst others. In his studio he also created a projection room to show his animated movies that he made on a machine that he had created. He had a hysterical sense of humor that was passed on to his daughters who are also artists. You should really check out his art work. You will surely recognize it.

Afterwards Jessica and I walked back along Rothchild to the Japanika kiosk on the corner with Allenby. It was delicious sushi.

This weeks siyyur, the 16th, we went on a hike in the Judaean hills to the Bar Kockba caves. It was a really cool hike and we ended up at the caves and were able to climb through tiny tunnels that were used during the revolt. We discussed the story of Bar Kockba and the Revolt and how Israelis and Judaism is reevaluating the way we look at these revolts where we get stuck and instead of giving in we commit suicide, another example is Massada. I'm a small person and I was crawling on my hands and knees. My knees were killing me that day and the next. When walking down stairs I had to do my little hop thingy. At different locations between the tunnels were larger caves. At one we shut off all the lights and tried to just sit in the dark. A group of youngsters came in--they were on a field trip with their school. We begin to leave that cave through a whole and as we are waiting for everyone to pass through we begin to sing songs with kids. It was really cool. After the hike we had lunch and then got back on the bus to drive for a little bit to some caves where we repelled down. I being the only one who brought a roll of toilet paper was very popular amongst all the girls. It was a really cool day.

Weds- I had to wake up early to go with Jessica to go do Laundry. We made it back the apartment with just enough time for me to pack and make it to the bus stop to meet up with Anna before heading to Jerusalem for a MASA Leadership four day workshop. It was an amazing be continued tomorrow.

Lila Tov,

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