A kibbutznik turns 110

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"Shalom Sivan, my aunt Heinke Gilad from Kibbutz Dafna just turned 110 years old. She arrived at the kibbutz at the age of 22 and was a founding member. She has been there ever since. She worked for years with the kibbutz children. She also worked as a cook and in the kibbutz shoe factory. Only at the age of 97 did she retire. Apparently, she is the oldest woman in Israel. So we came to celebrate with her, with the aunt who always fascinated us with stories about the pioneers, the different waves of immigration, and the beginning of modern settlement in our land. We would hear her talk in first person about everything we read in booksu. On her birthday, we noticed that she was a little tired. So when we felt that talking was tiring her out, we decided to sing for her in her honor. She was so happy to sing: 'Hinei ma tov u'ma naim,' 'Shuru habitu ur'u,' and also 'Oseh shalom bimromav.' She sang with enthusiasm, with her special smile, and spread optimism and joy all around.

I remember that on her 108th birthday, we asked her how she merited to live such a long life. She said that she did not know, but she loves life, loves people, and sees everything in a positive light. I can testify that this is true and that everyone around her is infected with her positivity. She never argues with anyone, and still sees

through the eyes of a curious girl who is amazed by everything, despite all the crises she has known. Therefore, for us, she is not just an 'item' in a news story. She is simply the most loving and most joyful woman in Israel. As we approach Tisha B'Av, we speak about the importance of gratuitous love. It turns out that to live with such love does pay off in a most significant way."

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