Rana Verbin - Yanai Yechiel - January 2012
Rana Verbin. Photo by Yanai Yechiel
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My father’s being taken captive by the Egyptians was a formative experience. The [soldiers with him] had to choose between being captured and suicide. The soldiers around him wanted to do a Masada II; my father preferred captivity. When he got back to Israel some people wanted to try him. I grew up with the imperative to live at any price.

It’s hard for me to shut my mouth. I started talking at nine months. I inherited the urge for self-expression from my mother, from my father the quixotic drive to tilt against windmills, and from both of them a love for food and drink. When I try to restrain what comes out of my mouth and avoid confrontation I have to sleep with a mouth guard afterward.

At the age of 10 I was in a rocking chair in the penthouse of a girlfriend, and I flew out of it. My chin split open. I got home and the neighbor held my head while my father stitched me up, without an anesthetic. He was the best surgeon in the country, so there was no scar.

The Israeli media is obsessed about women straightening their hair. When I was 30 I did a shoot for a Colgate commercial which was to be broadcast in Europe, too. In Israel they wanted me to straighten my hair, but the Europeans insisted that I stay curly.

I started reading a little before the age of four, and that affected everything I do in life. I have periods of fiction, but now I am reading more nonfiction. I am at the end of “Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil,” by Alain Badiou, and have started Isaiah Berlin’s “The Sense of Reality.”

I did a week of filming for Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” but in the end the screenplay was changed and the whole first 20 minutes got cut. All that remained was 10 seconds of my voice and my name in the end credits. I was so upset I didn’t go to see the movie.