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July 28, 2010

i fell in love with anne the moment she sat down next to me at the organic diner and smoked cigarettes for an hour with her cappuccino and feisty energy.

anne (pictured to the right) is a holocaust survivor. she was also was once a little girl on a ship that symbolizes for so many the struggle for unrestricted jewish immigration into palestine. i had the opportunity to hear her story, which includes being aboard the exodus in 1947, when she sat across from me on the patio of the organic cafe in the scorching heat of july in tel aviv wearing heals, tight black pants and a long sleeve black shirt.

within a few seconds of anne sitting down a cappuccino was placed in front of her and a lit cigarette was in her hand. her confidence and contradictory character in this overtly health seeking place was refreshing to me and we began to chat.

The Exodus 1947 in Haifa

This photo is of the Exodus boat 63 years ago on July 20, 1947 before being deported back to Europe from Haifa, Palestine.

anne is one of the estimated 250,000 holocaust survivors currently living in israel (250,000 by the way is about half the number of survivors who arrived in the country since 1947). her exodus experience with her mother and father shaped her life as she tells it now as a woman who never married, never wanted children and simply wanted to tell me about her life now as a retired nurse in tel aviv.

anne responded to my usual question i ask most folks here, which is, “what is zionism?” by telling me to go to jerusalem and look it up myself. at another time she asked me, “why can’t you tell me? you are here in israel, don’t you already know what zionism is?

the conversation between us lasted about an hour but it was one of the most remarkable moments at a cafe i have ever had in tel aviv… watch an excerpt from our conversation below or click here to see a few photos of the day including my visit to the Tel Aviv LGBT Community Center 


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