Taking a deep plunge into Jewish tradition

Wedding - Signing contract

I arrived on a Friday afternoon, a couple hours before Shabbat. Shabbat is a day of strict rest. The religious Jews are not even allowed to switch the light on or off. Which means they have found all kinds of clever solutions like leaving the light on and have special plates that keep the food warm for the next day. The hours before Shabbat are very hectic; everybody is rushing. If feels like rushing to your massage appointment, as somebody put it.

Coming to terms with past and present

Graves Opa Johan & Oma Stijn

The last time I had been to Nes Ammim was to attend my grandmother’s funeral in 2002. I was 30 then. It was the only the second time I saw my father since I was 4 years old. He completely ignored me even though we (and the rest of the family) were in the same living room most of the time. Years before my grandmother made me promise that I would speak at her funeral so I had to write a speech during the night. One could say that my previous visit to Nes Ammim was emotional, in conventional and unconventional ways.

By walking around in the life work of my grandfather I realized that it was the first time that I saw the project with adult eyes and that I never had really looked at is a project before. For me it was always the place where my grandmother lived. Now the house was turned into a museum which meant that the place was hardly touched. My grandmothers glasses where still next to the phone and the Rummikub was still in the cupboard. Kind of eery. Felt like if she could walk in there any moment. Kind of eerie.