Even though I am not a gardener, I like to plant things and watch them grow. Have tried different seeds, plants and other evolving species with mixed results. But there is something magical about the process of growth that fascinates me. Getting my hands dirty is the pleasurable by-product. Planting an olive tree would be the ultimate fulfillment, since it might give us fruit and oil and shade after many years, and it is characteristic of the region in which I live. Jerusalem has very old olive trees and, as a matter of fact, I live just a few hundred meetres from the Valley of the Holy Cross, with its many ancient olive trees. They have been here many centuries before us and they will probably remain long after we have left. That is where I take my dog for a walk and where I get inspiration from the combination of biblical times and the present contemporary world. In the late autumn, I pick the olives, smash them and put them in salty water so that we have something to eat in the winter. It is the old custom of this region, which has seen so much bloodshed throughout history. But I believe that growing olives also may hold the secret for a longlasting peace, if we can only learn how to extract the bitternes from this tasty fruit. After all, we are all descendants of olive growers and olive eaters. At least those of us who once lived in this part of the world.
Natan P F Kellermann, PhD is a clinical psychologist, an international trainer of psychodrama and sociodrama and an author of books and papers on various subjects. He was the chief clinical psychologist of AMCHA/Jerusalem between 1996-2000, its executive director between 2001-2004, and its project development director until the end of 2011. For more than ten years, he lectured on Holocaust trauma at the International School for Holocaust Studies in Yad Vashem. Kellermann was a fellow of the ASGPP (Zerka T. Moreno award 1993) and was the elected chair of the psychodrama-section of IAGP 1998-2000. He was born in Sweden in 1953 but lives in Jerusalem with his family since 1980.