We’re always pleased when our work gets recognition, but we’re especially pleased when some of our most important work gets the opportunity to inspire others. Yesterday evening, Ruth Ebenstein was honored with a Rockower Award for her Tablet essay “Brought Together By Cancer” about Israeli and Palestinian women, who come together in their battle against breast cancer.
It’s a wonderful piece, here is a small excerpt.
The perfunctory “My name is … ” is followed by talk of diagnoses, children and grandchildren, and life aspirations. The conversation quickly gets intimate. Ikhlas, a Palestinian homemaker, confesses that only her immediate family knows that she has had breast cancer. Dinah, an Israeli science researcher who works at Hadassah Hospital (which is far from the city center), explains that she is often the first breast-cancer survivor who can make it in to greet Palestinian women after a mastectomy; she says that she typically reads a message of hope in transliterated Arabic and nods compassionately when the response comes too fast for her to understand. Seja, a Bosnian administrator who has battled many illnesses since childhood, calls her multiethnic support group her lifeline.
It’s my turn. I describe my diagnosis in 2010 at age 42 while nursing my baby. Then my voice cracks. Struggling to stymie my tears, I am overwhelmed by the coexistence and sisterhood that I have come to find. When a friend emailed me days after my lumpectomy about an Israeli-Palestinian support group, I felt buoyed by the prospect of something “good” coming out of my disease. Ever longing to befriend Palestinian women, I knew that this shared experience would jump-start intimacy. But I never imagined the heart-to-heart connections that would emerge.
Be sure to enjoy the rest here. And congrats to Ruth!