WE ARE BACK! SEA DAYS RESUMED ON JUNE 27 2022
The first day of the season, emotions rose higher than the waves, and the worries for the first day eventually dissipated…
We are filled with hope that all our careful plans fall into place.
Truth be told, the start of the day was a bit shaky, but after being held up at the checkpoint, the bus arrived in Tel Aviv….
The success of this first day back at the sea required enlisting many resources. This is the first day at the sea since the Corona Epidemic turned our lives upside down.
There aren’t enough words to describe the day to those of you who were not there with us to see what occurred at Tel Baruch beach this morning.
This is the 14th year for the Sea Days Project. A project led by an impressive group of women whose mission is to make it better. And specifically to make it better with 60 Palestinian women and children from Asira ash-Shamaliya who had never been to the sea. We greeted our guests as they disembarked from the bus, each one smiling from ear to ear and with warm handshakes. This felt to me as if I was standing at the receiving line at my children's wedding.
In record time, the pile of inflated rings grew smaller as women and children each took one. All of us headed to the sea. A first time at the sea for them. Can you imagine? Shouts of glee intermingled with cries of fear. Some children holding tight to their mother or to a volunteer. Slowly the fears subsided and shouts of joy filled the beachfront. We had Israeli children playing with Palestinian children.
Israeli volunteers guiding joyous kids and their mothers with everyone forgetting everything other than the rolling waves. If we hadn’t had additional plans for the day we would have frolicked by the sea until the sunset. Everyone left the water; showered and got dressed (this part takes time, a lot of time…). Eventually, everyone boarded the bus again and we headed to lunch in a restaurant in Jaffa and a boat ride on the sea at the end of the day. Many individuals labor' to make this special day happen, our only wish is to make it a little better for the others. Thank you to Rachel and Gili Toni, Ricki and Tali, and to all those who support this project who I am unable to name nor to fully acknowledge your kind deeds which make our world a better place to live in. I was so moved to share the day with you, Nirit Ben Ari Photos: Orna Naor
ONE DAY AT THE SEA – BEFORE CORONA – July 29, 2019
We are grateful to all the volunteers who made this fabulous day possible. All of us were rewarded.
We thank each of you for joining us on this wonderful day. We all won!
The sea, the waves, the inflated swimming rings, the lifeguards, the dune! Such joy had not been seen in quite a while.
It is impossible to miss the romping children. Ricki says that the little ones understand the body. Just take them to the sand and they will run as fast as possible straight and in circles. They do not walk, they just run and then into the water like natural fish. They dive, ride the waves, never give up and in the resurrection of Allah this has never been seen at the sea, not even in photos, so says Aziza.
"This is the happiest day of my life," one of the women declares, "happier than my wedding day". Our only choice is to stand still and stunned in the face of this erupting happiness for a day. Oddly enough, a pink daffodil pops up today adorns the images, and creates an Almodóvarian scene. So let us see: you were amazing volunteers. Let's thank you by name: Luna, Safra, Yehu, Shiloh, the new and excited Iris, Nava, Noa, Zohar, Yoram, and his daughter, Etty, Gavri, and Ruthi, and whoever has not been mentioned, please add yourself to this list. It was truly a day that required a lot of eyes and a lot of Godliness to go out in peace.
Special mention must be made of Aziza and Agnes, the angelic nuns in white and black in and yang, without whom all this would not have happened. For many, many years now, they have been bringing together groups from the Jahalin tribe, scattered around Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim. The diaspora that interferes with the state to complete the occupation, and drives it insane. The best minds are looking for ways to disrupt them. After they have cut down the sources of grazing and put them near the garbage or near the quarry thus creating permanent dust, or for a stinking info-icon water source
Aziza and Agnes (and formerly the lovely Alicia) set up Kindergartens, and teach women empowerment, they offer medical and mental health treatments. Too bad for those who have not made a film about them to date. Aziza also volunteers at RLA every week and also translates for the Eritrean refugees who came from Sinai.
Aziza's good energy instills in her surroundings a lot of peace, joy and honesty. These women are a great inspiration for us. Every year Aziza scares me on the phone: "this year I'm bringing a tough group the likes of which you have never seen before". And I'm scared when I'm scared. Then comes a happy, giggling group, with wonderful facial features in beauty, including women, who just want to dance and rejoice. They are a true story that needs to be told. When you hear in the media "the state is once again trying to destroy Khan al-Ahmar" it is about these people or their relatives whose turn to suffer in the hands of the Occupation will come..
A special thank you to Mickey Fisher for preparing delicious sandwiches; to Lati for the photos, and to the universe itself for a fabulous day.
Rachel and the Women of the sea
Orna's photographs, tell the story of our Sea Days. The photos have traveled to Bad Laasphe, Germany where the project is displayed as a reminder that when a human being is treated humanely there is another way.
Orna, a professional street and documentary photographer, accompanies our Sea Days volunteers, many of them from MachsomWatch.
This project invites Palestinian women and children to partake in a unique encounter – a first experience in the sea. These families live quite close to the sea but are unable to enjoy its secrets and pleasures because of the restrictions of the Occupation. Orna's lens captures the initial hesitations to meet the volunteers and the sea. She is also there when trepidation turns to laughter and cries of joy.