The cast: Ya'arit Kana (32) and Avishag Ram (6). W The home: The two live in a prefab at the edge of a field of chrysanthemums and at end of a hard-packed gravel road, on Ya'arit's parents' property. The structure is made of two metal containers (one brown, the other white) with shade provided by a lean-to. In the front is private parking (Honda Civic); in the back a broad blue horizon with pines and missile threats looming. A few lemon trees are planted next to the window and all around are blossoming fields, which will soon wither. Entering through a tiled porch (with two second-hand sofas and laundry drying), we arrive in a busy room furnished with a dining table (covered with a plastic tablecloth) and an old Yamaha piano ("I've been playing it since I was five" - Ya'arit). On the exposed yellowish walls are India ink scribbling (here and there) and framed good-luck blessings, including some done by Rabbi Zamir Cohen, the local rabbi ("If it doesn't help, it won't hurt"). There is also a Formica kitchen with a magnetized declaration of love (from Avishag to Mom); behind is Avishag's toy-packed room (including a trampoline and a BMX bicycle). "She's into fitness and nature," Ya'arit says.
Nature: Every day Avishag goes to Grandpa Eliezer (Ya'arit's father) and collects warm free-range eggs.
Continuing: Ya'arit's room contains a cosmetics table and Taki cards; the bathroom holds a mirror adorned with pink fur. On the other side of the house is a general room with all sorts of stuff for which no other arrangement was found).
Real estate history: Ya'arit has been living here for six years. Her father built the home for her "when my marriage fell apart." Previously, as a married woman, she lived in Be'er Sheva. She believes that in about a year she will "beat it out of here" to a nearby lot of 600 square meters, on which ("depending on the economic situation and the neighbors") she will build her permanent home.
Livelihoods and occupations: "There are a lot," she says. Ya'arit is a teacher, director, singer, broadcaster, clown, emcee, lyricist and composer. Five mornings a week she teaches theater, dance and movement in schools in Be'er Sheva and in the communities of Beit Hagedi and Mabuim; in the afternoon she produces "end-of-year shows" for a Sderot school and is also the director of a performing youth theater group in Netivot ("We just finished auditions").
Evening occupations: After dark she moves to center stage. Together with Lego, a group of southern deejays, she sings at weddings and other happy events. Her repertoire, she says, is "not hafla-like" (referring to an oriental celebration); in fact, "people say I remind them of Maya Bouskilla," a well-known singer. She also writes, composes and performs songs that people commission about the lives of the couple getting married. For a special song she takes about NIS 1,000 ("with synthesizer arrangement"). The muse for writing, she relates, usually visits her during sleep ("Every night I wake up with a desire to write"). That, for example, is the origin of the lyrics for "Understanding You."
"Understanding You": "Today I already know we have to part / Today I am dancing in the plaza of loneliness." W Index of success: A clip on the Music Channel ("But for that you need a lot of money"). In the meantime, she will be happy to be the warm up for other, better known singers ("I opened for Yishai Levy and in the middle the auditorium was evacuated because of Qassam rockets"). She would like to go onstage as "a creative artist and performer."
Besides which: She writes jingles for Radio Darom in the south ("The studios are next to the emergency room of Soroka" medical center in Be'er Sheva); her voice is used on the answering service of companies; one of her songs ("I just received an SMS") became a folkdance tune; and she also emcees karaoke along with being a clown on birthdays.
Clown: On Purim she organized an event for children of area moshavim. She brought Shauli Vaknin from "A Star Is Born" (Israel's "American Idol") who lives in Netivot, added inflatable devices, popcorn and cotton candy, and together with a deejay let it all happen ("I went wild with the children"). The phone rings (Lady Gaga ringtone): The organizers of the Saharana festival, held by the Kurdish community during Passover, want her to emcee the event. "It's going to be something big," she says. She will have to sing in Persian and is already planning to learn a song from Dad. And there's something else, too.
Something else: On a volunteer basis, Ya'arit hosts evenings at a Be'er Sheva center which aids women who have been sexually assaulted or have been the victims of domestic violence.
Avishag: She attends compulsory kindergarten in the village, gets there with Ya'arit in the Honda ("It's flexible, between 7:30 and 11 in the morning"), and is usually picked up by her grandparents at 3:30 P.M.
Ya'arit's bio: She was born on the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar in the year 5739 ("I celebrate on the Hebrew date"), and is the middle of three sisters. Her parents, who were among the founders of the moshav, immigrated to Israel in 1949. Her mother, who is from Turkish Kurdistan, is a secretary in a school; her father, from Persia, now retired, was a farmer and managed the pool in Eshkol Park. After primary school, she attended, at her request, Eshel Hanassi boarding school outside Be'er Sheva ("I gave Dad an ultimatum"), had a hard time integrating in the life of the institution ("I was a bad girl"), made what she terms a mess in the cowshed and finally found her niche in the school radio station, where she was a program editor and a member of the "good-time team." Subsequently, in the wake of a teacher's recommendation, she studied acting at Habima Theater in Tel Aviv under the guidance of Shmuel Vilozny (two days a week). After high school she worked as a supermarket cashier and was drafted into the IDF.
IDF: She was sent to an officers' course ("even though I did not have a matriculation certificate"), which she did not complete ("I was caught copying a week before the end"). She was asked to come back ("I declined") and instead joined the army's Shimshon entertainment troupe ("the commander was my bassist from high school") and performed on bases in the Gaza area. After her discharge worked as an au pair and did not go backpacking in India ("I wanted to conquer Israel").
Conquer Israel: One day she packed a bag and moved to Petah Tikva, worked in the morning as a security guard and in the evening performed at a club, was discovered by a producer (Shlomi Asaf) and started to sing for pay. Afterward she moved to Be'er Sheva, met a Radio Darom announcer, Yaniv, married him ("in no time"), had Avishag and was divorced (after four years). The motive for the marriage was, she says, "childish eagerness." Though she has possessed "psychological maturity since age zero," in this case "the maturity passed me by."
The divorce: It took place in 2008. Her parents were initially not really on her side, "until they understood." She was alone for almost two years, but met someone in the summer of 2009 ("a guy from a bereaved family for which I organized a memorial ceremony"), dated him for a year and was already planning the wedding, when she suddenly decided to call the whole thing off. She had a good reason, she says. Since then, "from a relationship point of view," she has been "despairing."
Despairing: "There is no one. These days men are not brought up to deal with relationships, they are dangerous. It's a world-wide sort of crisis, not necessarily connected with show business." She shuns the idea of meeting people through the Internet ("even though I should be paying property tax on Facebook"), because she needs "direct interaction, with passion." She has a clear picture of the intended.
Intended: "A working man, stable, preferably a moshavnik, the ethnic origins don't matter, not a showoff, aware of things, not religious but with some sort of affinity to tradition." Since her divorce she has been observing the Sabbath ("at the level of not putting on the TV").
Daily routine: She gets up at 6 A.M. (via iPhone alarm), turns on Channel 10 or 2 ("to watch whatever's on"), showers, has a cup of instant coffee (Elite Mocca, one and a half sugar), eats nothing and puts on makeup.
Makeup: Powder, mascara, eyeliner, high pencil, clear lipstick, rouge ("all Estee Lauder"). Has her fingernails done every three weeks by Shani Sinai in Mabuim, toenails-legs by the "fabulous" Yaffa Shriki in Be'er Sheva. At 7 she wakes Avishag, who dresses by herself ("She is very independent") and at 7:30 takes her to the kindergarten.
Lunch: Ya'arit almost always eats at Afogato in Netivot ("the 'house' restaurant"). She gets home by 6 ("at the latest") and picks up Avishag from her parents' place. Avishag does not attend after-school groups; Ya'arit says she has a problem transporting her. Occasionally she takes her to one of the events she produces ("She fits in easily").
Pangs of conscience: "You bet." She regrets not being "a normal mom who waits at home with a pot of couscous." Sometimes, she says, she would like to be a mother like that.
Dream: "To establish a school of the performing arts in the south and conquer the halls, for example." W TV: "Only in the morning"; evenings and nights are "just for my daughter."
Going out: Sunday - rehearsals in Netivot; Monday - "depends if there's a show"; Tuesday - home; Wednesday - "depends again"; Thursday - "I go with friends to shows" (in Be'er Sheva, Jerusalem, Holon ).
God: "I adore him." Her prayers are granted, she says, "but with a slight delay."
Peace: "I am in favor of two states, but not of giving in - there are tough types there."
Gilad Shalit: "Let them have all the prisoners."
Rocket alarm: "We run to the fields, we don't have a security room, there is the 'Shema Yisrael' prayer."
Happiness quotient (scale of 1-10): Ya'arit - 8; Avishag - 7.
Pa'amei Tashaz - This is a moshav, or cooperative farming community, in the northern Negev, between Netivot and the Bedouin town of Rahat, founded in 1953 by immigrants from Iran. It is named for the 11 outposts that were established immediately after the end of Yom Kippur in 1946, which in the Hebrew calendar was 5706 - written as "Tashaz."
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