Livna Yavnin

I was born a year after WW2, a year after my parents arrived in Eretz Yisrael, which was still  under the British mandate…And yes, I’m a ‘baby boomer’, the eldest of three children, and the only girl. We grew up in a very secular and Zionistic home, filled with books, music, science and art.  I loved reading, often going to the library and reading a third of the book on the way home. I loved drawing, and playing the recorder and I taught myself how to read music with some help from my father.  But, I was also extremely active in a variety of sports such as track and field (high and broad jump), and I climbed trees for fun.

When I was 17 I started feeling the need for spiritual experiences, which after exploring many cultures, led me back to Judaism, but not to the models I disliked so much in Israel.

I traveled to the US to study industrial design and slowly found my way (back) to Judaism.  I started with lighting Shabbat candles and reading the Siddur.  A few years later, in Las Vegas, I began attending services at “Beit Shalom”, a Conservative Synagogue.  The children went to Hebrew school and the congregation’s Torah reader gave me a Jewish liturgical book which I photocopied and used to learn the Trope for Torah, Haftarah, Megilot, and Yamim Nora’im. It took me about a year before I had the opportunity and nerve to read in the synagogue. By then we were already living in Herndon, Virginia where I joined the “Beth Emeth” congregation.  I read Torah at my daughter Helen’s Bat-Mitzvah, taught her to read Haftarah, and became the main Torah reader for a few years. I continue to read Torah and Haftarah at Hod ve-Hadar in Kfar Sabah, Israel, have taught for the Masorti Movement’s Bar/ Bat Mitzvah program for children with special needs and enjoy sharing both of these with Susie.

I have 7 children (no twins) 1 boy and 6 girls, and am a grandmother of 9.  I’m the traveling savta, always going to visit and help one of the ‘kids’.  Of course I still love reading, listening to music, sports, bird watching and gardening.