Hope Valley by Haviva Ner-David
Hope Valley is the story of two women, one Jewish-Israeli and one Palestinian-Israeli, who come together to form the unlikeliest of friendships. Tikvah and Ruby meet one summer day right before the outbreak of the 2nd intifada, in the Galilean valley that separates the segregated villages in which they live. The valley Ruby’s father had called Hope came to symbolize the political enmity that has defined the history of two nations in this troubled land and which has led to parallel cultures with little meaningful interaction between them.
Tikvah, a fifty-two-year old artist from Long Island, is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and was raised in a loveless and lifeless household. Ruby, a world-renowned Palestinian-Israeli artist, returns to her childhood village from a life abroad to be treated for her worsening cancer. At first, Ruby pursues Tikvah’s friendship to get into Tikvah’s house and retrieve the diary Ruby’s father had left behind when his family was expelled from that same house in the 1948 war. But as their friendship grows, they not only open up to each other’s narratives and humanity, but uncover secrets from their own lives.
Tikvah’s and Ruby’s stories show both the strength and fragility of family ties, the power that trauma and fear has in shaping our lives, the strength we muster to face death and suffering, the vicissitudes of marriage and the glorious meaning of friendship. Their lives tap into the primal need for connection, as well as the rich and transformative bonds that can be formed from synchronistic encounters. In Hope Valley we meet two strong women from nations in conflict, who circle each other and, in recognizing each other’s pain, offer us hope that fear and resentment can grow into love.
Year first published: 2021