After living in Israel for 36 years, first as a kibbutznik, then in Kiryat Ata,
always working in stable jobs in his chosen career as an agricultural engineer,
David Zamet has given it all up – to realize his dream of being a table designer
In March 2011, he left the job he held for 18 years at the
Milos tomato-processing plant in the western Galilee, rented a studio nearby and
began his new career – designing and building his extraordinary coffee tables,
made from oak, metal and glass, with their distinctive lines and very
To embark on a new career at the age of 62 takes some
guts – but he has the complete support of his wife of 38 years, Venice-born
Olga, and their two daughters, Hanni and Ilana.
He was born in London in
1950 to a typical British Jewish family where Israel was always there, in his
consciousness, growing up. It was talked about constantly and he always felt,
from the age of 11, that he belonged “somewhere else.”
He first came for
a visit at age 13 and when the Six Day War broke out he went to the Jewish
Agency, an earnest 17-yearold, to volunteer to fight.
“They laughed at
me,” he remembers.
He began his studies as an agricultural engineer with
the intention of having a profession which would be useful in Israel, and in
1969 came to Kibbutz Usha for his first “Shnat Sherut” (year of
He remembers most of the year picking fruit, but later, he came
back to gain experience with industrial machines for his qualification and on
that visit he met Olga, they fell in love, and he took her back to England to
meet his family.
They married in 1974, and David finished his
qualifications. In 1976 they returned to Israel and they joined Kibbutz Usha. It
is a small kibbutz, with a population of about 350, belonging to the Hanoar
Hatzioni movement established in 1937. Olga became the kibbutz occupational
therapist and David worked in the garage, taking care of the farm
Olga hated giving up her children at night to sleep in the
children’s house and fought the whole thing with passion.
gained the right to keep her children at home.
In 1988, when they both
turned 38, they decided to leave the cocooned world of the kibbutz and try out
life in the town for a year, leaving their options open for a return.
heard terrible stories about people who left kibbutz life and couldn’t adapt to
life in the town,” said Zamet.
They rented an apartment, met the
neighbors who welcomed them with open arms and quickly made new friends. David
studied for a license to become a garage manager, and got a job with a large
contractor; Olga carried on with her work as an occupational
They did not miss the kibbutz at all.
After five years
he found the job he would stay in for 18 years as maintenance manager at the
Milos tomato factory, the largest tomato-processing plant in Israel.
to working with tractors on the kibbutz farm, he found it strange at first – but
decided a machine’s a machine, and soon adapted.
He had always loved
making furniture as a hobby. The idea of doing it professionally grew slowly
until one day, when they were returning from a holiday in Spain and waiting at
the check-in to go back to Israel, he made his decision.
doing it,” he said.
She supported him from the beginning, agreeing to be
the only breadwinner until his new business was established. He considered doing
it part-time without giving up his steady job, but decided it would not be the
“I don’t believe in wearing two hats,” he said. “If I’m going
to do something I have to do it properly and finish the tables to the standard I
In March 2011 he left his secure job and set up in business as a
table designer and builder.
He loves what he is doing and is cautiously
“It’s very creative to be able to design the table and very
satisfying to see it being made and becoming three-dimensional,” he said. Most
of the work is done by hand, although he outsources some of it for laser
cutting. The attention to detail and the finish are quite superb and attest to
his talent as a craftsman.
His website went up only a month ago and he
has already had a positive response from home stylists and interior designers
taken with his original designs.
In the catalogue so far he has four
different designs, each named after his four grandchildren, Joy, Maya, Eden and
“What I’d like,” he says, “is to be able to support
ourselves in the manner we’re used to but by making and selling tables.”