Menorahs at Kibbutz Regavim/Photo: Ziv Reinstein, Editing: Noa Levy
On the face of it, Eli's green yard in Kibbutz Regavim, charming as it may be, is another kibbutz yard with jugs, a wooden horse cart and old plows. But then you walk in and discover a world full of objects that throw you straight into childhood, into the days of smiling that we missed, into nostalgia that is fun to cuddle on.
Eli is one of the pioneers of Kibbutz Regavim, the northernmost settlement in the Menashe Regional Council, established in 1947, which justifies a visit in itself and is currently taking the first steps in marketing its tourism. Eli, who was the kibbutz secretary, began collecting old objects, such as chicken coops, a potato peeling machine, old cameras, books and posters from the past, and other features you know from museums that curate junk that are fun to remember.
But then you get to his menorah collection, and you're amazed. "They're from the markets," he says when I ask where he got dozens of special menorahs. "I saw dirty menorahs, full of candles, rust, corrosion. I would scrub and clean them and eventually introduce them, but I also got all kinds of friends. I said, 'Guys, let me, I'll take care of them, I'll clean them up,' and now they're on display in the museum with great honor," he adds.
"I said let me, I'll take care of them, I'll clean them up." Eli's Menorah Collection at Kibbutz Regavim/Ziv Reinstein
Dozens of menorahs stand in order on shelves. Eli/Ziv Reinstein's Menorah Collection
Thoughts on our abductees in Gaza
The menorahs are arranged on shelves along a wall, next to each other. I look at them, trying to find out who is the most beautiful, the most interesting, and definitely all of them are beautiful.
"What's the most special menorah you have?" I ask Eli. He thinks for a moment, looks at all the menorahs that are resting on the wall and takes out a menorah that he cleaned and used, with the inscription: "These candles are Kadesh." Definitely a beautiful menorah, with a Star of David but not something we haven't seen before. But not a few seconds pass and he calls me to come somewhere else. It turns out that the most special menorah is not necessarily the most beautiful menorah, but the one that has the most emotion.
Eli pulls out a menorah from another shelf and holds it in the palm of his hand. "This is Nachshon Waxman's menorah," he says. I couldn't help but get excited, and I immediately thought about our abductees in Gaza, about Hamas, may their name be forgiven, and about the difficult period we are going through. I remembered that Friday night when I watched a video of Waxman on television with my family, who was kidnapped in October 1994 by Hamas and murdered after the rescue operation of Sayeret Matkal failed, and also led to the death of the late Sayeret soldier Nir Porez.
"When his father passed away, at some point his personal things reached a flea market in Jaffa, and the merchants there knew I was interested in such darim and it was important to me, and in the end I purchased it from them," he replied. "It's a menorah that he built and was in his home, and it's presented to me with honor and has a very special value."
"It's a menorah he built and it has a very special value." Menorah of the late Nachshon Waxman/Ziv Reinstein
Eli for and one of his special menorahs / Ziv Reinstein
It's not a museum, it's Eli/Ziv Reinstein's house
Camera Nazis with swastika
The menorahs are just one impressive and exciting wall for Eli, and it takes at least an hour or two to absorb all the nostalgia he has accumulated over the past six years. From old pocket cameras, even one from 1936 that belonged to the Nazis and had a swastika on it, to a collection of weapons of period pistols, to children's games and even the propeller of a real plane that landed not far from the kibbutz and stands in the center of its yard.
In the center of the courtyard stands the propeller of an old plane that landed not far from Kibbutz / Ziv Reinstein
His Dream: A Museum of the Beginnings of Settlement
Eli receives visits by appointment and for a nominal fee, or as part of a tour package in the kibbutz itself. He also lives in the house itself, so it's not an outside museum, but a person who lives in the house that turned it into a personal collectible museum. But Eli is not satisfied with this and tries to make his impressive collection accessible to the public. "I invested quite a bit here," he says, "but now I'm also trying to plan with the regional council and the kibbutz some kind of museum, so that I can bring all these things there, and friends will also bring their own things from other homes, and in fact there will be a museum for the beginning of settlement in Kibbutz Regavim, and I hope I'll get there."
And Inshallah will come to me, and it doesn't take a great miracle for that.
To schedule a visit (for a fee): 054-5665000 (Eli).
- More on the subject:
- Nachshon Waxman