(photo credit: ARIEL JEROZOLIMSKI)
At an award ceremony held last week in Petah Tikva, Jerusalem-based author Dvora Waysman was presented with the 2014 Shabazi Prize for Literature and Art, granted by the Committee of the Shabazi Prize for the Heritage of the Jews of Yemen. The award was given in recognition of her historical novel The Pomegranate Pendant, which chronicles the life of a young Yemenite woman who makes the journey to the Holy Land in the late 1800s.
The book was made into a movie, The Golden Pomegranate, which was filmed in Israel and premiered at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2012. The film’s director Dan Turgeman and producer Robert Bleiweiss were awarded the Shabazi Prize as well.
The committee acknowledged the book for its “sensitive and creative style, which is deserving of the highest praise. It is a special cultural treasure, which adds an important chapter to the Zionist history by commemorating the first aliya of the Jews from Yemen and their participation in the redemption of Eretz Israel and the establishment of the State of Israel.”
The ceremony, hosted by emcee Itamar Pinhas, was held in Petah Tikva’s Cultural Center in the presence of Petah Tikva Mayor Itzhak Braverman and Shalom Ben-Moshe, the mayor of Rosh Ha’ayin.
In addition to the award presentations, there was a roster of Yemenite entertainers, featuring singer Zion Golan, female folk dance troupe Bat Nedivim, singing duo Shiran Karni and Hila Tam and singer and oud player Yoni Tzoref, accompanied by his son Liran on the darbuka (drum).
The 800-seat hall was filled to capacity, consisting largely of members of the Yemenite community who had come from such locales as Petah Tikva, Rosh Ha’ayin, Kfar Saba and Yahud.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” whispered Waysman, overwhelmed, before going up on stage to receive her engraved plaque and address the large audience. The plaque was presented to the 83-year-old author by Mayor Braverman and Tuvia Sulami, head of Beit Yehudei Teiman in Petah Tikva.
Waysman was born in Melbourne, Australia, and made aliya in 1971 with her husband and their four children. They have 18 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She has written 13 books and hundreds of short stories and articles that are published worldwide.