Judy Shotten interviewed by Barbara Gingold

A Zionist in Spite of Herself

Zionism was in her genes but not her head when, almost by accident, a young woman from Winnipeg found herself en route to the newly established State of Israel in 1949. Her two-week trip there turned into a lifetime. Judy Shotten has seen it all from the beginning: Israel’s early socialism and contemporary corruption; the rise and fall of the kibbutz and the nascent cosmopolitanism of Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; seven wars and the tentative pursuit of an elusive peace; the frauds of “egalitarianism” and the birth of Israeli feminism; the never-ending push-pull between the Jewish past and a more universal future. Social worker, psychologist and sex therapist, volunteer museum guide and Machsom (border checkpoint) Watcher, avid gardener and international backpacker with a long list of professional “firsts” to her credit, Judy Shotten is our own personal Israel archive, ever editing, changing, adding to what’s been known and done. Now she tells Lilith reporter Barbara Gingold about her six decades of passionate engagement in and with the Jewish state.

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