Ada Aharoni


Professor Ada Aharoni, writer, poet, playwright and lecturer, was born in Cairo, Egypt, and now lives in Haifa, Israel. She has published 25 books to date, that have won her international acclaim. She writes in Hebrew and English, and her works have been translated into several languages.

Ada Aharoni is the Founder and international President of IFLAC: PAVE PEACE, the International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace (established in 1999
). She chaired its founding congress "The International Congress on Conflict Resolution Through Culture and Literature" and is also President of the World Congress of Poets XIII (Haifa, Israel, 1992).

Ada Aharoni received her Bachelor Degree (B.A) in Literature and Sociology, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1965), her Master of Philosophy Degree (M.Phil.), at London University (1967) and she was awarded her Doctorate Degree in Literature (Ph.D), on the Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature - Saul Bellow, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1975). She lectured in the Department of English Literature at Haifa University, and taught Sociology (Conflict Resolution), in the department of Humanities, at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), in Haifa.

Ada Aharoni's published books are: novels, biographies, and poetry collections, in English, French, Hebrew, Arabic and Chinese. A Bilingual collection of "Selected Poems," in English and Chinese, has been published in Hong Kong (2002). In addition, her poems have also been translated and published in journals in several other languages, including:
Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Korean, German, Gujarati, and Bengali.

Ada Aharoni has been awarded several international prizes and awards, among them are: The British Council Award, the Keren Amos President Award, the Haifa and Bremen Prize, the World Academy of Arts and Culture Award, the Korean Gold Crown of World Poets Award, the Rachel Prize, and the Merit Award of the HSJE: The Historical Society of the Jews from Egypt, for her "devoted and unmatched efforts in researching the history and culture of the Jews from Egypt, and to promote visionary literature and poetry proclaiming peace in the world." In 1998, she was elected one of the hundred "World Heroines," in Rochester, New York, for her "outstanding literary works for the promotion of women and peace."

1. What Is Happiness?

(In memory of Haim Aharoni, my dear husband and best friend, who passed away, after open-heart surgery, on 7 July 2006)

When you were here dear Haim,
One bright golden day I asked you
"What Is Happiness"?
You promptly responded
With a bright twinkle in your eye
"Happiness is being married to your best friend"
I laughed and hugged you my best friend.

Now that you have passed away my love
And we will not talk and laugh together anymore
I miss your kisses and warm hugs
I miss your caressing, gentle calm
With which you appeased all storms,
I admire your spirit that fights my sorrow
That sings in me "Be Happy" in spite of all -
For this is my legacy.

2. Peace Is A Woman And A Mother

How do you know
peace is a woman?
I know, for
I met her yesterday
on my winding way
to the world's fare.
She had such a sorrowful face
just like a golden flower faded
before her prime.

I asked her why
she was so sad?
She told me her baby
was killed in Auschwitz,
her daughter in Hiroshima
and her sons in Vietnam,
Ireland, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon,
Bosnia, Rwanda and Chechnya.

All the rest of her children, she said,
are on the nuclear
black- list of the dead,
all the rest, unless
the whole world understands -
that peace is a woman

A thousand candles then lit
in her starry eyes, and I saw -
Peace is indeed a pregnant woman,
Peace is a mother.

3. Teddy Bears for Guns

My man of the year
Is the wonderful, wise one
Who sat himself in the midst
Of the West with a huge box
Of chubby Teddy Bears
On New Year's Day,
Attracting an endless
Queue of cheering kids -
Holding guns

He playfully showed
With a smile and a wink
And a Teddy Bear Hug -
It could be the beginning
Of a honey-laden decade
In a brave new world

By wisely trading
For Teddy Bears.

4. A Ladino Song

Again, and again I am there, though I am here.
In that Aranjues wine-cellar in Toledo, leading to
a gray corridor winding towards the river

Since that mustached shop owner showed me,
smiling beneath his quaint flower-print plates, the
ancient eight-branched Menorah he found in his cave

dropped by my Jewish ancestors, fleeing the wolves
of the Inquisition - I cannot leave that Aranjues cellar.
I am still there with the Menorah though I am here.

I tried to fell to that caffe in front of the synagogue
which has been turned into Maria Bianca's church, but I was still
there. Then a singer, named Ada, with a deep "fatho" soul

sang a Ladino song, my grandmother sang to me: El pasharo se
vola "the bird has flown, the heart is crying, weep my soul weep
deep, for there are bad people who will not let you life...."

An Aranjues shiver ran down my spine, the floor
opened its ancient arms and I sank into the cellar again,
ran in the corridor again, now closer to the river

flying with the bird, weeping with the fugitives
but still holding the Menorah
tightly in my hand

I am still there
though I am here.

© Ada Aharoni