JBlog Carnival Updates, HH, KCC & JPIX

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Tree Grows in the Nitzan Caravillas

A Tree Grows in the Nitzan Caravillas

by Shifra Shomron

My goodness, how I love acacias! Their dark-brown trunks smoothly rising from the ground, their slim dark-green leaves a dancing canopy against the sky. And they grow so quickly! It was these characteristics that made my family decide to plant them back in our garden in Gush Katif. True, our neighbors laughed at us for planting such wild weeds. But we cared not for their laughter – these were the only trees hardy enough to grow independently in the arid sand dunes of Gush Katif. However, to our dismay, we quickly discovered the secret of these trees survival. Their roots. Yes, indeed. Even when they are so young that only two tiny leaves have burst up from the sand, their roots are already two feet long. And those roots grow down deep and they spread out wide. And in the end, we were forced to uproot our acacias – because they were stealing the water from the surrounding plants; the grass and flowers were being sucked dry. And we replaced them with meek, tame, slow-growing trees.

And yet I continued to love acacias. How could one fail to love such a wild, beautiful, hardy tree? Theirs was the only splash of green in the Gush Katif sand dunes. They were the trees in which my siblings and I built our childhood forts. And it was their bright-yellow puff-ball flowers that yearly announced the coming of spring and…my allergies.

Since Disengagement, it only takes the sight of a stunted, dusty, road-side acacia to remind me of my destroyed home and of my lost land. And the Nitzan Caravilla site has very few trees.

My father refuses to invest much in our temporary Caravilla – or in the small adjoining patch of ground. My father was being pragmatic, logical and right. "Wait until we have a permanent home, Shifie. Then we'll make a nice garden," he said. But time passed. And no permanent house is visible on the horizon. My brothers planted mint, myrtle and a few other small plants. Eventually, my father agreed to water these plants when my brothers were away at Yeshiva. And one day, when we were walking through the construction site where Neve Dekalim hopes to rebuild our community, I noticed that one of the little piles of dirt was covered with small acacias.

I looked at them longingly. Dark green, silky leaves, tender shoots… "Aba, why don't we plant some acacias?" I slowly asked my father. He glanced at me, looked at the acacias, and the idea took root.

Well, we've done it. We've planted five nicely sized acacias around our Caravilla. Four have already produced new leaves. They will grow quickly and provide us with shade as well as with the aesthetic pleasure of seeing green outside the windows. Sturdy, hardy trees – they'll grow well even in our temporary Caravilla site. There is no grass around them, no flowers for them to bother. Their roots can spread as far out and as deep as they please. True, their life-span is short – about 5 to 7 years. But that's fine with us. That's approximately the amount of time we'll be living here in the Caravillas.

Shifra Shomron is the author of Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (2007), Mazo Publishers.

Travel back in time and revisit Gush Katif, Israel.
Shifra's website:


Rachel Ann said...

Shifra, you display true bitchon and the courage. You and your family and friends who have suffered so much and have given so much are the life-blood of Israel. G-d will reward you and all your friends and family for the daily sacrifices you made, being in the front lines against enemy agression, and now, when the country's government has betrayed you and turned its back on your needs. One day soon you will make the new Nitzan Carivilla site green; the love of G-d, Torah and Land of Israel will prevail against the dust., Someday you will again see the sun rise over Gush Katif, and you will have your garden there, and no one will uproot it.

Anita said...

Shifra,your yearning to make every place flourish is the spirit of a true pioneer who yearns for the realization of Hashem's promises via the prophets that the Land of Israel will blossom and flourish.
When I came to Gush Katif 30 years ago there was nothing green whatsoever.
The first Tu Bishvat and everyone thereafter, the JNF brought accacia trees for all to plant on the sand dunes to stop the sandstorms -the seeds of their flowers root easily and so soon all of Gush Katif were covered with the green trees and in season their yellow flowers.
I felt very attached to the accacia trees as well, as to me they represented the people of Gush Katif who too, first root deep down to the water ,the Mayim Chayim,the Torah and then spread their roots across the breadth and width of the country. God willing this will soon happen to all of us and our towns --until we can again return home.

Chaya said...

Shifra, thanks for sharing. I hope you have new perminant residences before your acacias outlive their life span.

Leah said...

Shifra, this is a beautiful article!

I hope that you will have permanent housing sooner than 5-7 years, and will be able to plant a better garden. maybe, im yirtzeh Hashem, your permanent housing will be in a rebuilt Gush Katif after all the arabs leave Gaza; but if not, then a permanent home anywhere in Eretz Yisrael for you and other former residents of Gush Katif would be good.

Julie said...

Shifra, you seem to have a "lemonade" spirit, per the old adage, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Your family and community are blessed to have the refreshment of your abiding positivity and hope!

Yossi said...

Post script: The acacias did indeed grow fast and provided lots of shade for us and our dogs. B. H. we did move to our permanent house in Nitzan 2 1/2 years after my daughter wrote this article. Almost immediately, we did plant shade trees along with the rest of the garden. No acacias this time.