Rivka Basman Reciting “Vayskayt”

a vayskayt for blog

Rivka Basman Ben-Haim’s poem, “A Vayskayt”, A Whiteness, is dedicated to Kadya Molodowsky.  Rivka delighted in Kadya’s poetry when she herself was a schoolgirl in pre-WWII Lithuania.  After WWII,  when Kadya edited a collection of poems on the Holocaust (entitled Lider Fun Khurbn, Poems of/from the Holocaust), one of Rivka’s poems was in the collection.

The two met in the early 1950s when Kadya lived in Tel Aviv and Rivka, on kibbutz Ha-Ma’apil. That’s when the two got to know each other personally. Rivka could not have known that in a letter written while she was in Israel, Kadya told a friend that she was getting browbeaten for “living well with the Almighty”. Of course, as Kadya herself said (on a different occasion) to live well with someone is to argue with them.  And Kadya had serious arguments with the God of Israel. But listening to Rivka/reading this poem, you realize that Rivka had Kadya’s position nailed down precisely.

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