Danny Bar-Shay and Gili Bar-Shay Boneh
Gili, 35, and her father Danny, 72, often don't see eye to eye professionally.
Danny was born in 1939, Gili in 1976 - both in Haifa.
They both live near Haifa: Danny in a detached home in Tivon, Gili in a rented house in Karkur.
Danny's wife, Mira, is a sociologist and former IBM employee. They have two more children: Ruth, 49, who works in computers; and Boaz, 41, a bibliotherapist and tour guide. Gili's partner is Yair, a former designer and current chef; they have two sons, Shalev, six, and Matan, three. Danny and Mira have seven grandchildren.
Danny's maternal grandfather, Abba Ziv, was born in Riga, Latvia, but in the 1930s realized there was no future in Europe, and came to Haifa with his family to check out the place. The whole family immigrated in 1938 and settled on Mount Carmel. Abba Ziv was an entrepreneur and "redeemer of land." He built the Ziv section of Haifa's Neve Sha'anan neighborhood.
Danny attended the prestigious Reali school in Haifa. In 1958, he was part of a so-called core group from the Israel Scouts that settled on Kibbutz Gonen, on the border with Syria. "Self-fulfillment was the most important thing to us," he says. "Anyone who wanted to study after army service was branded a capitalist." He met his Haifa neighbor Mira on Gonen. "We lived 500 meters apart but weren't friends until we met on kibbutz. I had the feeling that as a bachelor I had no future. I was turned on by her."
The days of passion on Kibbutz Gonen ended: Mira wanted a break to think and returned to her home in Haifa. "One day I came to her wearing a checked shirt from the kibbutz and tried to get things started with her; I'd collected apples from the orchard on the way. Her mother saw me and declared that I was not the suitor she wanted for her daughter," Danny relates. "At one point her parents decided to separate us; they sent her to London for three months to learn English. I went there toward the end of her stay and it turned out she had had all kinds of affairs. There was a big crisis. I went back to kibbutz and she went back home. One day I was working on the tractor and from far away, at the end of the field, I saw her getting out of a jeep. I ran to her and we embraced. 'I have decided,' she said - and we got married."
Fit for the Civil Guard:
A year later they left kibbutz and went to Zurich, where Danny studied graphic design at an academy of applied arts. Afterward, the Israeli food company Telma provided him with a studio to design packaging and also let him work with other clients. His designs have appeared on a wide range of items: Vered Hagalil chocolate bars, Yotvata Dairy products, the logo for Arkia, plus he created the "T" for Tnuva, the food giant. At the same time, he fell head over heels in love with extreme sports. It started when veterans of the Paratroops were scattered in other reserve units and Danny panicked at the thought that he might have to serve in the Civil Guard. He started to run on Mount Carmel every day, ran marathons and took up cycling. He trekked in the Himalayas and in wild areas of Scandinavia - just him, the snow, the wind and the birds. "In 1978, I saw a Geographic Society ad for a trip to the Himalayas. Mira asked me if I wanted to go. That was a watershed. Until then we had always traveled together, but since then I have trekked, mostly alone, in all kinds of places. Why alone? Because when you're alone you don't look for someone to blame for things that go wrong."
Out of patience:
The American firm that bought Telma didn't take to Danny's know-it-all, always-right temperament. "I quarreled with everyone," he recalls. "Then, suddenly I had to talk to all kinds of young brand managers from abroad. They argued with me and I didn't have the patience for them. I left in 1995. I had a studio in Tivon and I went on working. These days I don't do graphics, I paint."
Danny says: "I wasn't at the birth. I worked until I got a call to come to the hospital. When I got there she was already there."
Gili in school:
Gili majored in art in Ironi Heh High School in Haifa. Her father had been certain that, like him, she would attend Reali. "But she never considered it," he says. "She was an outsider at school. She stood out in art and graphics. I did not intervene in my children's schooling."
Rebel with a cause:
There was a continuing and consistent adolescent rebellion, but without much success. Gili wanted to attend a boarding school in Mitzpeh Ramon, in the Negev, but her parents vetoed the idea. She wanted to attend a WIZO school, but that too was a nonstarter. "There was a real clash," Gili says. "They told me, 'First finish the matriculation exams.' I was a very brazen girl and there were plenty of fights, especially with my mother. I did it all my way."
"Continuing the rebellion, I didn't connect to the army framework and all it stands for in the war context. My brother was also seriously wounded from friendly fire in Lebanon. But my parents said there was no way I would not do army service, so I was drafted. It was a very sensitive issue with them and I knew the family ethos would not tolerate it."
Danny served in the Nahal paramilitary brigade, in the Paratroops and in an infantry reconnaissance unit. Gili served in the construction unit at Hatzor air force base. "It was a catastrophe," she says. "I called Mom and said, 'I was drafted, now get me out of here.' It took eight months until I was transferred to Ramat David air force base, to serve with a squadron, and that was fun."
"That she didn't attend the Reali school," Danny says. "In the same way that you go to Yale and Harvard in the United States, I wanted her to attend Reali, like me. After all, it's the aristocracy of Mount Carmel."
Passage to India:
After her army service, Gili wanted to trek in the Himalayas with her father. But her siblings decided to join, "and instead of an intimate trip with Dad it became a family mess which generated trauma that is still unresolved." Gili stayed in India with a boyfriend, became very ill and was hospitalized and returned home with a plan. "On the trip it came to me that if there was one thing I connect to, it's design. When I was little I hung out with Dad in his studio, I saw the respect the industry had for him and I met a lot of people he worked with. When I got back from India I put together a portfolio and enrolled at WIZO. I got no credit there for being the daughter of Danny Bar-Shay, but I met Yair, my husband, and I graduated cum laude."
"The minute we graduated we grabbed our bags and went to New York," Gili relates. New York was itself - welcoming and yet also cruel. She and Yair took odd jobs until they found employment in interesting design firms, which also organized their work permits. One boss went bankrupt and lost his firm through gambling. Gili then got a job as an art director at a design firm - "and the whole New York dream came true. My first client was Gal Naor, the daughter of [tycoon] Yitzhak Tshuva. We started to rake in money, and Yair decided he'd had enough of design. He studied cooking, which is what he loved most, at the French Culinary Institute, which is a highly regarded school. It was amazing for him. He worked as a trainee in the finest restaurants in New York. After Shalev was born, I opened my own firm. I hooked up with two designers who were just starting out. That was where my design approach developed. We did big projects. I worked for MOMA, Calvin Klein and Land Rover; we did catalogs, booths, exhibitions. We were flying high with work, running wild, and felt like we were on top of the world." But in 2009, the ice at the top melted. The American economy took a steep slide and it came crashing down. "We came to work in the morning and all we heard about was bankruptcies and closures. Everything stopped. Matan was born, and we started to vacillate: Shalev didn't speak a word of Hebrew and we had never intended to emigrate. We told ourselves, 'If we don't go back now, we will never go back.'" At the end of 2009 they went back. Gili opened a boutique graphic-design studio in Tel Aviv called NotFromHere. Yair runs a catering company.
Gili and her father often don't see eye to eye professionally. "Dad had a lot of fights with WIZO over their teaching methods," Gili says, "and he is a very strong guy - he gets worked up and loses his temper fast. I did a graduation project centering on television, but he wasn't open enough to it." Danny continues to believe that his criticism was justified: "They graduate without a single project from which they can make a living. I told them they needed to work and do exercises that would propel the students into real life, not do things they would never encounter."
"It bugs me that to this day that he doesn't understand that someone who shouts doesn't listen to what the others are saying, not to mention that it's uncivilized," Gili says. "I think criticism can be made quietly and politely, and still be effective. But it doesn't upset me anymore." Danny doesn't like Gili's style of life or her professional decisions. "I call and ask where she is and she tells me she's on the way home on the train and afterward will go to a spinning class and then send emails at night. I don't understand how you can live at a pace like that. And it still irritates me the way she makes professional decisions, without asking, without consulting and without checking."
I will never be like my father:
"I find his impatience very hard to take."
Danny has a fantasy which was not realized: of climbing a few more mountains. Gili's fantasy is "to sit on some beach or on the peak of a mountain with a laptop and work from there."