SYLVIA HORWITZ photography

Naomi Frankel and Tzipi Rainey


In the fall of 1996, shortly after my move to Tel Aviv, I was introduced to Tzipi Rainey. She was the wife of an archaeologist with whom I would do some photographic work on digs in Israel. As our friendship developed, I learned about her academic accomplishments as a researcher and college professor. Later Tzipi would also become the biographer of Naomi Frankel, beloved Israeli author of prose for children and adults, who died in November 2009 on her 91st birthday.

I met her about 10 years earlier when I accompanied Tzipi on a visit to Naomi in her hospital room in Jerusalem. Although Naomi was very ill and weak, she had a compelling presence and I asked to photograph her some time. Tzipi had begun her work on Naomi’s biographical journey from Berlin in 1934 to early kibbutz life and all that followed. Their enduring relationship and an intensely personal writing project would continue for the women over the next several years.

My opportunity to photograph Naomi came in August 2007. Tzipi had helped to move Naomi, from Kiryat Arba to her community of Shaare Tikva, where they could work together daily. I spent several amazing days with them here, occasionally taking my camera out to make these images. Naomi wanted me to see a picture of her first husband and love of her life, next to whom she would be buried someday soon. She lived for two more years, recalling additional details of her story with devoted longtime friend, Tzipi Rainey.

The book has just been published in Hebrew and is available from Israelbooks.

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