"An enjoyable, touchingly personal account of a turbulent time in the Middle East." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Shulamit Frankel grew up in the tumultuous years during the creation of the State of Israel. In this book, she shares candid reflections of her young life as her family navigates the upheavals of this political landscape. She delves into the world of her youth, capturing details that have long been forgotten in many history books, such as German colonies in Palestine before WWII and Italy's bombing of Tel Aviv and Haifa during this time.
Shulamit's stories cover a wide gamut of what life was like growing up in a young Tel Aviv, from understanding the significance of the religious festivals to discovering the joys of chewing gum. At the time, the Jewish population was small, and she describes interactions with the familes of well-known Israelis. These include the brother and sister-in-law of David Ben-Gurion, the son of Shai Agnon (later Nobel laureate), and her uncle Reuven, who rose through the political ranks to become Speaker of the Knesset, Israel's parliament.
Both Shulamit and her brother fought for the creation of a Jewish state but, in an unusual manifestation of sibling rivalry, Shulamit trained in the Haganah while her brother joined the Irgun. Shulamit engages us in her family's deep connections of love and loyalty in these difficult years. Against the background of historical events, Shulamit recalls the daily trials and tribulations of growing up in a deeply religious family in a modernizing world, capturing the tragedies, triumphs, pathos, and humour of the times.