My grandmother, Alice, was born in Tunisia, March 12, 1929.
In the early 1950’s, a young man named Neldo was visiting Tunisia from Israel. Neldo was born in Tunisia but left to become a sheliah, bringing young people to Israel to help build the country. The moment that Alice and Neldo saw each other, they immediately fell in love.
One night, Neldo had been called to go back to Israel right away – leaving a letter for my grandmother, asking her to come to Israel to marry and live with him.
But my grandmother’s mother, who was so afraid that her beloved daughter would leave the country, she took the letter and destroyed it.
My grandmother was so sad that her boyfriend left her without a word.
She got married to a Tunisian man, had 2 girls (my mother) and left for France where she settled.
At 70, after a life full of success and terrible losses and divorce, she came with us to Israel on holidays. One day, she asked to visit Kibbutz Regavim, where Tunisian People settled, wondering if some of her friends of the past were still there. We drove to that Kibbutz and met Neldo, her first love!
After we came back to Paris, Alice and Neldo started to write each other e-mails and then called each other every night, like teenagers. One day, my grandmother decided to go to visit him to Israel and this is how their relationship started again 50 years later in another country. Eventually she moved there in 2014.
My grandmother died 1 year ago and is now buried in Kibboutz Regavim, where Neldo still lives. Yesterday would have been her birthday.