Shachar Shachar, 50; lives in Mevasseret Zion, flying to Los Angeles
Hi Shachar – tell me about your name.
I was born Frieda. In our family, we’re named after the grandfather or the grandmother. My grandmother was named Frieda and my grandfather, Yitzhak. So Itzik is great, Frieda is… We have 10 Friedas in the family! Every time I would send a letter to Ma’ariv Lanoar [the Maariv youth magazine], they would send me back a note: “Say, are you an Arab?” They thought it was “Farida” [because the name was written without vowels]. I didn’t connect with the name. In the army they called me by my surname, Shachar, and it stuck, so I decided I would change it on my ID card. That’s how it played out; it stayed Shachar Shachar. That’s also my business logo.
What work do you do?
Business and mental consultation. I was a deputy director general for finance for 25 years, but the psychological side is more interesting. It started from my daughter, who at the age of 3 experienced a different incarnation.
She had what children call an imaginary friend, but I understood that it was a lot more than that. She described things that a 3-year-old doesn’t know about. She started to talk about a boy she was taking care of, she said they were in a place that looked like ancient Egypt, like a village. One day she stopped talking about him. I asked her what happened. She said, “He broke his neck and I buried him.” It was clear to me that this is not what parents think of as a imaginary friend.
Wow. What did you do with the thought that this was a reincarnation?
I didn’t fight it. Her father was stressed out; I just went along and communicated with her about it, and didn’t let her feel this was exceptional. I started to study the subject. I learned channeling and Tarot cards, I acquired cards from all over the world. The world of [spiritual] channeling says that the minds of children are completely open, they remember everything. It closes afterward, but until the age of 5, if we’re attentive, we will receive far more information than we’re capable of containing. Today I integrate being a medium with business consultation.
Say a young woman comes to me who for months hasn’t been willing to define the services her business offers, and explains very logically why. Generally, the deeper our blockages, the more systematic our rationalization for them is. If someone listens to this woman, it will sound extremely logical, but she will still be stuck, because not enough clients show up and she isn’t able to move forward. Liberating a paradigm like that is accompanied by real pain. After four months I pulled a Tarot card and it came out the Great Emperor, which relates to difficulty with frameworks. A Pandora’s box opened up. At the end of one session she just cried, because she had always been a wild and free young person but had entered into a framework of marriage, children and a mortgage, and it was very hard for her. She was afraid of putting her business into a framework, because she had started it in order to avoid putting herself in a framework. Two weeks later, she sent me a list of all the services she was providing.
Isn’t it scary when you possess almost therapeutic power in the realm of business consultancy?
I think it’s a wonderful tool. Anyone who comes to the world of Tarot cards knows that there are ethics involved, too.
What do the ethics of Tarot cards include?
I will not treat people who are under psychiatric care, unless I do so in coordination with their therapist. I will not see death in the cards and I will not talk about death even if I do see it. I will understand how far the person opposite me is capable of containing all the information that is present.
How do you understand that?
It’s part of the learning process, of training and treatment. You discern body movements, gestures; there are many small nuances.
How do people respond to your occupation?
When I tell a businessperson that I am a business consultant and read Tarot cards, they will say, “Don’t say Tarot cards, it doesn’t sound serious.” But when the same person sits with me, after an hour his thinking turns around. Business doesn’t seem related to Tarot cards. Either you’re a witch who reads coffee grounds, which is the stereotype, or you’re a business consultant. But it’s totally possible to connect the two.
What are you planning to do in Los Angeles?
I’m flying to visit my daughter – it’s a surprise.
The daughter with the make-believe friend? How old is she?
Does she remember him?
No. She grew up in Beit Shemesh. A Beit Shemesh girl is about pedicures and manicures, and hair straightening. No connection between her and books and the world of the spirit. But today, there, something is opening up.
Danit and Raz Peleg.Tomer Appelbaum
Danit and Raz Peleg, both 50; live on Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, arriving from Sintra, Portugal
So, what was Portugal like?
Raz: Terrific. We went on nature hikes and there are a lot of fortresses there and so on.
Danit: It was wonderful. Amazing people, and the feeling isn’t different from Israel, all in all, except that it’s clean there. My son collects bottle tops, and he asked me to bring him some – but there was nothing to collect. Everything was clean. A short vacation from life.
What happened in life that you needed a vacation?
Danit: We hadn’t been abroad for a long time, and we’ve reached the point where our children are big enough so that we can leave them for a few days – so we jumped at the opportunity.
Where did you meet?
Danit: We met at the age of 18 doing a pre-army year of community service before being drafted. I lived on an old kibbutz, which adopted the young kibbutz where Raz lived. I actually met him in the factory on my one weekly day of work on the kibbutz.
What’s it like growing up in a communal children’s house?
Danit: That’s like asking a fish what it’s like being in water. You don’t know anything else. What was it like for you being in your parents’ house? I think I had a delightful childhood. It’s an amazing experience that is sealed by time, that will not return, which our children know only as stories, a bit like fairy tales. When we moved to the kibbutz, the children were initially frightened, because they thought they would have to sleep in a children’s house. Once they understood that wasn’t the case anymore, they relaxed. I know that not everyone experienced communal living the way I did, but for me it was right. There’s a great deal of freedom and independence, and it made me what I am today.
What’s it like being with the same person from age 18?
Raz: A pleasure. We are good friends, there’s a constant dialogue between us, we love each other very much. Every time I got angry in a way that could end in divorce – and there were times – I said, “Put it aside, wait a year; if in a year’s time you feel that you want a divorce – we’ll talk.” Two months later, I couldn’t remember what it was all about.
Danit: We feel good being together. I see us as one unit. The home lockdowns were good for us.
Does the person he became since the age of 18 surprise you?
Danit: I see a very strong connection.
Raz: I haven’t changed and neither has she.
Where did you live before returning to the kibbutz?
Danit: New Zealand.
Raz: After the Second Lebanon War , we got fed up with the rat race and wanted to relocate. We were there for three years.
Danit: We really wanted to go back to New Zealand for our 50th birthdays, but it’s closed. We’re still hoping to go.
What does being a kibbutznik actually mean nowadays?
Danit: Economically, it’s not a kibbutz, it’s a “community settlement.”
Raz: It’s a warm community, there is joint cultural life, you know the neighbors, you go to the pool together, it’s a small community in nature, not much more. There is mutual support and growth, but less than there used to be. During the pandemic we did our own “Singer in the Mask” [an Israeli reality TV show] on kibbutz.
Danit: Look for “The Singer in the Mask Ramat Hashofet” [in Hebrew] on YouTube – it’s better than the real one.
You said there is less than there used to be? What was there in the past?
Raz: Once it was like one big family. Everyone worked for everyone else, for the success of the kibbutz, and today it’s everyone for themselves. I am a socialist, I believe very strongly in the kibbutz idea. I think it should be voluntary, not only those who were born into it should be there, but those who choose to live there. It means forgoing a great deal. For example, you have to forgo your salary, your privacy, your freedom to a certain extent, but the balance between all those things is better. There are no poor people, no one gets left behind, no one suffers alone. When it started, it was voluntary: With our grandparents, only those who wanted to join did so. The second generation are those born into the kibbutz, and the third generation no longer wanted it, so it fell apart.
Do you think your children will stay on the kibbutz?
Raz: Today the kibbutz is experiencing major population growth. Today you have a home in a village, the education is better, many things from the old kibbutz still exist, and that gives it a lot of value. It’s hard today for people who want to live in a village, so whoever has the opportunity… Our children have an opportunity, so I see no reason why they should reject it, but you never know.
Danit: I don’t see them leaving their room – so they’ll leave the kibbutz?