Who We Are
My name is Emma Sham-Ba Ayalon. I am an artist, a poet, and a Rabbi. I got to know Etty Hillesum’s diaries 15 years ago and since then her inner language became more and more a part of myself.
As a Jewish woman who grew up in Israel, I know that we carry a trauma that influences us as individuals and as a nation. The trauma that we carry from the Holocaust plays a big role in our behaviour as a nation and especially in the way we treat Palestinians. As a peace worker I know that we cannot go forward toward a vision of peace if we don’t heal the wounds from the past.
Etty wanted to be a remedy of healing. I believe that her spiritual path that allowed her to never hate and to find inner peace even in the very dark times of the Holocaust, can serve as a healing force and as a role model for what is possible for us as Jews and as humans. Her writings deeply healed my heart and helped me step out of a victim’s perspective and to find the power from within myself to contribute to the creation of a better world.
My name is Dina Awwad-Srour. I am a Palestinian, originally from the town of Beit Sahour, a small town in east Bethlehem -Palestine. I now live in Eilaboun, a small Arab village in the north of Israel. I am a lecturer and a writer and my main passion is to empower women and mothers.
I encountered Etty’s diaries eight years ago when I was 27 years old, exactly the same age as Etty was when she started writing her diaries. I immediately felt connected to her and her challenges as a young woman. I learned a lot from her about love and freedom; for example how to stay independent and free even when you love someone. For my spiritual path I learned a lot from her about prayer and connecting to God.
As a Palestinian, I find Etty very inspiring as she helped me learn to look at the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from a wider angel beyond a black & white or a good & evil perspective. I learned to ask questions and look for the answers within myself. I learned from her to see the human inside every Israeli soldier. I gained a deeper understanding of how war is a system that misuses young men.