We used to sing this lines from the Israeli national anthem to tease our friend Tiki — which is short for Tikva which means hope in Hebrew. We have yet to give up hope… is the translation.
Those words in the anthem hold the collective memory of the Jewish people, and the hopefulness comes in spite of our experience, despite what has happened to our people throughout history.
Despite her name, Tiki wasn’t as much about feeling hopeful as she was about creating it. I have to think about that. Tiki didn’t say ” I hope,” as much as she would say: “Yala…” Meaning let’s get to it — let’s make it happen NOW! or “Yala…” as in quit harping on it; or “Yala,” as in get over yourself.
So as we reach the end of Yom Kippur and the Heavenly Gates start to close, and the Book of Good Deeds, where we hope to be inscribed remains open on the Heavenly Table, I try to imagine the energy, the stamina, the determination, the courage Tiki embodied, all with her smile and sense of humor. In the photograph above I’m walking behind her, after her braids but before her hair turned white. We’re walking to our houses in the Ravakia I think.
In honor of Tiki — this year I’ll do a little less hoping to do my part for the refugees from Syria, the survivors of the Hurricane in Haiti. the survivors of victims of homicide I work with in Boston, and my two sons, one who survived the Civil War in Sierra Leonne; the other from a different kind of war zone altogether. They never make it easy for me to help them.
And maybe when I’m tempted to whine, or feel burnt out, or back away from my obligations I’ll remind myself — WE HAVE NOT YET LOST OUR TIKI. No we never will. In body yes but never in spirit. I walked with her years ago. I hope to keep walking with her in the future.