Cultural experiences with Anat

By Abe Roisman

I’ve begun to realize that spending time with our dear Anat is a cultural experience in its own.  All I have to do is follow her around and I will see things in a different way.

The first time I realized this was on the way to a seminar that all of IRAC and the IMPJ went on.  We were driving to a kibbutz in the South, just me and Anat, and she asked if I wanted breakfast.  I was driving, and I said sure.  She carefully prepared something, and before I knew it, she had placed in front of my face a half of a baked potato, cut the long way, with salt sprinkled on top.  Well, certainly I’d had baked potatoes before, and even with salt.  However, I’ve never been handed one for breakfast in this way.  Suffice it to say, though I never thought to eat this way, it was great and I highly recommend you try it.

On a more serious tone, the other day, we held a demonstration in the shouk, Mahane Yehuda, in Jerusalem to honor the 18 women who were killed in the last year in Israel on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  We prepared a presentation, which included a display.  The display was a board with photographs–when available–and stories of all of the women who were killed in Israel.  And weapons.  We put all of the weapons used to kill these women next to their pictures, which included over a dozen knives, a gun, a cleaver, and a baseball bat.  It was very powerful, and hundreds of people stopped to look at it while we handed out flyers with a hotline for women and children to call if they were in danger.

Where’s the cultural experience?  The ride to the shouk.  There I am, sitting in the back of Anat’s car, steading this board that is covered in knives and a cleaver, on our way to the shouk.  Then, we park, pull the board out, and walk right into one of Jerusalem’s busiest arteries of commerce, weaving through a crowd with over a dozen weapons.  All the while, Anat keeps that smile on her face.  Isn’t it great what we’re doing?  I ask you, dear readers, when was the last time you marched into a busy market with over a dozen knives, let alone in Israel?

I really enjoy getting to work with Anat.  She’s a fascinating woman who does things her own way.  The lesson I’ve learned from her so far is if you know it’s right, why not?  I look forward to spending the remainder of my fellowship learning new ways to be efficient and effective from Anat.  Beside learning from her, I will also enjoy spending time with her.  We have pretty similar tastes in music.