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Grains of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim

Grains of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim

A moving book that allows us to feel the pain of the Gush Katif residents who were exiled from their homes.


We are approaching the two-year anniversary of the tragedy of the Disengagement and the exile of the residents of Gush Katif from their beautiful communities. Gush Katif became a political movement and it's easy to forget that we are dealing with idealistic families who had settled the Gush and were uprooted along with the acacia trees. The battle was lost and has faded into the bittersweet and turbulent history of the fledgling Jewish State in its ancient land.

Shifra Shomron has written a book, part personal diary, part historical third person narrative, about the transformation of Gush Katif from a Garden of Eden existence to a defensive outpost and finally to the site of the Jewish nation's newest exile. Peppered with Biblical quotes, it reminds us that being exiled from our land is not a new story.

Shifra describes the last years in Gush Katif for the Yefet family, Yoram, Miri, Efrat and Yair and their dogs tending their garden, wandering on the sand dunes, a religious family who are a microcosm of the Gush and the archetypal wandering Jews.

There is no one who could read this book and not be moved. It is an important book as a testimony to the short-lived life of the settlers' dream and the not yet fulfilled vision of the final redemption. It is the chronicle of a teenage girl who had grown up in the idyllic world of the Gush who must leave it and her childhood behind both literally and figuratively. It is lyrically, poetically and innocently recounted.

The Gush has returned to the dunes from which it sprang up but, as the parents of our heroine remind us, we will one day, God willing return to build upon the rubble of Neve Dekalim, the palm tree oasis which was one of the flourishing plantations of promised redemption.

On this, the anniversary of the fall of Neve Dekalim, Katif, and the other communities that are no more, we must remember the many residents who have not yet managed to put down new roots, the yet unemployed, the youth still struggling with shattered dreams and disillusionment, the need to petition the Israeli Government for solutions and to remind them that the sacrifice of these people did not bring the hoped-for peace and the need for all of us to still pray for the final redemption.

Shifra Shomron is now studying to be an English and Bible teacher at an accelerated college program in Israel. Her parents have still been unable to find work. The family lives in one of the caravillas set up by the government before the expulsion. The book is available through at, and select bookstores in Jerusalem and Barnes and Noble in the USA.

May 19, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Yosef Goldgur, January 12, 2008 10:50 AM

Grains of Sand

A good many Religious Zionist Rabbis pointed out in retrospect that the reason for the explusion, even if in an indirect way, was the lack of communication between settlers and the rest of the nation, the former being concerned with their affairs and enclosed, subconsciously mimicking the path of Charedim Orthodoxy. The latter, as a consequence, were indifferent to them.

This book is an attempt to bridge that wide gap, and at least from my standpoint it exceeds expectations. For, even if one does not agree, he at least understands, raising the dialogue from cheap slogans to intellectual discussion.

The pure faith expressed in the book brings to mind heroics and self-sacrifice that are to be found in the birth-pangs of the State, and indeed there is an attempt in the book to draw a parallel between the two. Whether you agree or not to the ideology, the question appears; will I go to such lengths for MY ideals?

As one who is acquainted with both book and author, I would definitely recommend this book to all. This review, though short, is admirable and it is to be hoped that in the future works as "Grains of Sand" will promote greater understanding between the different sections of the nation.

(3) stephen hoffman, May 22, 2007 2:47 AM

supporter of the disengagement

it was not a tragedy the disengagement was the right thing , it just didn't go far enough israel should pull out of most of the west bank also .

the disputed or occupied terrotories or whatever you want to call them , has done israel not good , it has decreased israel's democratic status ,because of the settler's racist attitude towards the palestinians , putting israel on the same level as the palestinians and that is not good.

(2) Anonymous, May 21, 2007 1:29 PM

Detailed bok information needed

Can you add this book information?

Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim by MAZO PUBLISHERS
© 2007, ISBN 978-965-7344-19-4,
soft cover, 188 pages, $16.95

(1) Mosheh Wolfish, May 20, 2007 5:31 PM

Noach, now you cry?!

The midrash teaches that when Noach left the ark/teivah, he saw the world destroyed and desolate and he started crying to G-d. To which G-d said, "Foolish shepherd! Now you cry, when they are all destroyed?! Your job was to cry, beg, plead and pray for them BEFORE they were destroyed! Now it is too late." Will we now cloak ourselves in self righteousness, and too-late anguish, when we should have gone then and laid ourselves on the ground and said, "No!" Are we, too, foolish shepherds? Are we at least ready to do what it takes to prevent the next organized, cruel destruction of Jewish communities in Eretz Yisrael - or will we, again, be self righteous after the fact?

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