Ilan

The first memory I have of Yehudit and Issachar is walking with Marcelle from Ramat Aviv, where I was a student and where Marcelle lived, to their house in Afeka. Before many of today’s buildings were erected, there was a field of weeds that we walked through as a shortcut. I was rather reluctant but curious and followed Marcelle’s suggestion to visit this couple in Ramat Aviv where we could learn ceramics. Arriving at Yehudit and Issachar’s home it was clear that this was not a regular course in ceramics. When we were there, taking our first lesson, a woman sat crying while getting advice from Yehudit and Issachar about her latest boyfriend troubles.
It was clear that this was not only a place for lessons in ceramics. More than a place to study ceramics, it was a place to learn about life. I didn’t go too far in ceramics. Soon it was me on that chair. We talked about life and death, art and literature, politics and friendships. Issachar and Yehudit slowly become my family, and their studio and house above—my home. Iasachar and Yehudit were the ultimate Israeli artist family. They were both smart, artistic, and gentle. They loved to travel, they loved beautiful things, but they had the simplest, most restrained, modest, and unassuming lifestyle. I remember them both as almost zen-like. Watching Issachar do anything was a joy. Whatever he did, he did with all his heart and the greatest of focus. I remember watching him make ceramics and just enjoying the image. I remember him showing me how to roll coils to make a vase and the clay just formed in his hands like magic. It never responded to my hands in the same way. It was the same with everything. Another image that I cherish is Issachar washing dishes after we had dinner. The care and love he took at cleaning those dishes, the concentration and the thoroughness. It didn’t matter if it were the most complex and important thing or the least important and simplest. Issachar gave it his all. This is a lesson I always try to remind myself and when I get impatient or careless about a job I invoke the image of Issachar washing dishes to remind myself of his discipline and philosophy—that the least important task is a reflection of who you are.
I remember nights and days talking with Yehudit. When we went to visit a museum we would “choose” the special piece we would take home and then discuss it. Yehudit would tell me about her classes at Tel Aviv University, about exciting ideas and meaningful concepts. Somehow we could talk for hours and hours and never get bored. After Issachar’s horrific violent death,
although I was already living abroad, I spent as much time as I could with Yehudit. I remember being tired from a flight and still sitting on the terrace, eating clementines and nuts, and talking and talking. I always cherish these images and miss Yehudit and Issachar terribly.