Grandmother Yeti

Today, if she had been alive, my Grandmother Yati (Yocheved), my father’s mother, would celebrate her 104th birthday.

Grandmother Yeti was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1914 and immigrated to Israel in 1934 when she was 20. She met my grandfather, Robert (Mordechai), who immigrated from Germany also, They married, moved to Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh and gave birth to four sons (My father, Yair, was their eldest son, and the rest is already history … My grandmother died nine years ago, on January 25, two weeks after her 95th birthday.

The strong connection I have felt my whole life to Grandma Yeti revolves around music in general and singing in particular. She was blessed with a powerful, high-pitched, quality  and echoing voice – the kind of opera singers were blessed. She sang at every opportunity she had, toured with Sara Levi Tanai, was nurtured by Yehuda Sharett, the music man and brother of Moshe Sharett, she was also a member of many choirs and even directed and guided musical choirs herself.

I remember that every word that was said next to her became a song, I remember how she ‘Conducted’ us when we sang at every family event, I remembers the passion and the intention that was in her to ‘to sing to heaven’, as she used to say …

But I also remember that I could hear and feel how she turned her voice sometimes, into a kind of survival tool and clung to it to control her life, and yet, in all its surroundings. In those moments her voice became stiff and threatening – an experience that ‘silenced’ me in a certain sense, for years, and led me to say that a singer I will never be!

Lo behold, after a long creative, artistic journey, I also became a singer, and singing became a significant correction in my life…