The Chiziks and Tel Hai

When Naomi Chizik's father, Baruch, decided to move to Palestine in 1906, his younger sister, Hana, followed along. A year later, the rest of the family, including his sister Sarah, joined them. Like Baruch, they all loved to work the land as described by Ehud Ya'ari, their relative, in the book Family Stories. While Baruch was beautifying Damascus, his sisters were working in orchards in Palestine. During the same period, Naomi's mother, also named Sarah, had left Poland and moved to Palestine. One day, after helping farmers battle grasshoppers, she started walking to Tel Aviv from Petah Tikva. Suddenly, someone pointed at her and said to Naomi's aunt Sarah: "That girl is being deported to Damascus [by the Turks]." As soon as Sarah Chizik heard this, she asked the young worker to give her brother her warm regards. Naomi Chizik recounts that when her mother heard the name "Baruch Chizik," she thought: "How odd to be named 'Chizik' [a bird, in Russian]." Little did Naomi's mother know she was soon to take his name. Naomi's mother was deported to Damascus, where she met Baruch and later married him. Baruch's younger sister's life did not have such a happy ending. Sarah joined a group of settlers who, under the leadership of Joseph Trumpeldor, volunteered to defend the settlement of Tel Hai. In 1920, she and seven others were murdered there. President Shimon Peres has invited Naomi Chizik to light a torch at the memorial event on March 8 for those who fell in Tel Hai. The event, which coincides with International Women's Day, is dedicated to Sarah's memory.