“I wanted to try everything”

Rachel Aliniv from Ahuzat Beit Hakerem waited impatiently for retirement to pursue art.

 (photo credit: AHUZAT BEIT HAKEREM)
(photo credit: AHUZAT BEIT HAKEREM)
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Rachel Aliniv from Ahuzat Beit Hakerem waited impatiently for retirement to pursue art. When she arrived at the estate she enrolled in all the art classes, and since then she has not stopped sculpting in ceramics, making dolls, felting, embroidering and making mosaic works. “I’m so lucky to enjoy life so much”
The many pots in Rachel and Nachman’s nice apartment keep blooming. Only when you come closer them do you notice that the colorful bloom in them is not of real flowers, but of ceramic flowers that Rachel makes with her own hands through meticulous, delicate and so realistic work.
photo credit: Ahuzat Beit Hakeremphoto credit: Ahuzat Beit Hakerem
Rachel was born in Czechoslovakia in 1933 and immigrated to Israel with her family as a toddler. The pioneer family settled in Gedera, where she grew up. In her adulthood she studied at the Beit Midrash in  Beit  Hakerem  in  Jerusalem,  which was then the only seminary for teachers where they took matriculation exams. She studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for a bachelor’s degree in sociology and education and a degree in educational counseling, with a specialization in bibliotherapy - promoting mental health through written content such as prose, literature and the Bible.
She had known her husband, Nachman, from before, when they were studying in parallel classes - Nachman attended Leyada - The Hebrew University Secondary School and Rachel - in the teachers’ seminary that was in the same building. They mar- ried at a young age.
photo credit: Ahuzat Beit Hakeremphoto credit: Ahuzat Beit Hakerem
Rachel worked as an educational counselor at Rehavia Elementary School and later moved to Shefi - the counseling psychological service  of  the Ministry of Education in Jerusalem. Later on, she took a course for language instructors in the Diaspora and dealt with it all over the world. “I was sent to England, Scotland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Turkey and South Africa to train Hebrew teachers. All these years I had no time to do art, but wherever I went I always bought a book on handicrafts or craft materials - and kept everything in a large drawer. I was waiting for retirement and later I would have time to do it. “
It was time
“When I retired I immediately enrolled in a few art classes, I wanted to try everything. I waited im- patiently for the transition to sheltered housing to attend classes. We moved to the Beit Hakerem estate after waiting for about two years. I did not have a moving crisis even for a minute. I was so en- thusiastic and already wanted to attend all the art classes at the estate. I immediately started going to classes and got to know a lot of new creative fields, like felting, a field I really fell in love with. It’s so convenient that everything is within reach and I enjoy doing it so much. “
Today, Rachel is engaged in painting, puppetry and sculpture in ceramics. Recently she also started doing mosaic work. “This is an opportunity to de- velop and practice coordination - and it is very important for hand-eye concentration and coor- dination. I’m getting great things out of all this. “
What is art for you?
“Art gives me a huge sense of satisfaction. I so enjoy seeing that I can create something that is beautiful and perfect. I did not think I could do it. It gives me great pleasure. I feel very lucky.”
The Aliniv couple have three children, living in three different cities. They have eight grandchil- dren and a year-old great-grandson. “The children and grandchildren really like to get my artwork,” she says proudly.
Beyond the art classes, Nachman and Rachel usually go to almost all the lectures at the estate together, they attend folk dance classes, and every morning they start with swimming and training in the gym. “Then we have a big breakfast on the ter- race, talk and plan our day. We really have fun here. It’s nice that at our age you can enjoy so many activities and also meet nice people. “