My grandfather, died in July 2009 in Jerusalem, in the southwest sector of the city.
In 2010, with the help of archives and family stories, I began to document and to reinvent his life story. I wanted to bridge myth and history.
This is the story of a man whose life spanned the 20th century.
Leaving Lithuania in 1934 to move to Palestine, Yehuda witnessed the different stages of the construction of the state of Israel. He crossed post-Shoah Europe as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army; from 1971, he founded and directed the Ben Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, which promotes research on the history of Israel. He was awarded a prize by the Israeli president for his work as a director of the Ben-Zvi institute, but the ideals he had been pursuing all his life were already beginning to shatter. His dream was nearly destroyed.
When he died in the summer of 2009, I was nearly 30 and had fled to Japan after separating from my wife.
It was there, in unknown Tokyo, that I would find my grandfather again and begin to re-conquer my own history.
There are two of us, Yehuda and David, telling this story: a man whose ideals are in tatters and a young man, heir to a history impossible to assume without reviving it, questioning it, doubting it, learning to understand it and to make it his own.
And then, there are their impossible love stories. The woman Yehuda loved all of his life, without ever being able to live with her, and the break-up that drove his grandson to unknown Japan.
First written as short stories, these tales now adapted to the theatre are presented by Elios Noël and myself. L’écriture se construit dans un aller-retour permanent entre la table de travail et le plateau.
They interrogate both the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with its ethical, social, human, and political consequences, and our own personal histories.
What sort of life do the burdens of past History allow us to choose?
How does one build an adult life surrounded by family ghosts and crushing facts?
How can we look at today’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict and see something beyond religious, national, or historic affiliations?
To what extent can the pursuit of an ideal justify our acts?