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A conversation in Sacher Park

שיחות בגן סאקר
בתמונה: שיחות הלילה בגן סאקר. צילום: ישי ירושלמי
Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Ayelet Vaknin and her sister went for a walk on Saturday night at 9 pm in Sacher Park in Jerusalem. They got home at 2:30 in the morning.
"I had no idea that the demonstrators were going to sleep in Sacher Park (near the Knesset) that night, but then a few women in red shirts stopped us and we simply started to talk.
This was the first time I spoke with demonstrators and they said this was the first time that they spoke with a haredi woman.
We said hello. Each of them told me her story and it was actually quite interesting. They said the story of haredi women reminded them of 'The Handmaid's Tale.' I told them how insulting it was that they thought of me in this way. . . We spoke at length about women's role in Judaism, about marriage and children and our dreams. My husband called to ask where I was. And then we both laughed at the idea that his handmaid was going to be late.
Afterwards, police arrived, took note of me and my sister with headscarves on our hair, and asked us to leave. They were afraid we could start a riot. We told them we were just talking but they said that if we wanted to continue the conversation we should all leave Sacher Park. So we stepped aside since we simply could not stop talking. There were similar groups all around us that it was inspiring to see.
We parted at 2:30 in the morning with hugs. One of the women said she would not forget this conversation for the rest of her life. In truth, I won't forget it either.
I was reminded of a few words from the book of Job (Iyov): 'Let me speak so that I may be relieved.' During the last two months, all we hear are shouts and screams, without speaking or listening to each other. We speak about other people but not with them. In my opinion, we need to speak with others in order to be relieved, so that what we are going through will be easier on all of us. Later I heard the typical negative news of the day, but I felt much better than ever before."


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