Under the Domim Tree

by Gila Almagor, translated by Hillel Schenker, [Simon & Schuster], $15

This is a beautiful, bittersweet story of an appealing group of teenagers in a youth village in Israel in 1953, post-Holocaust. Abandoned children who long to belong, the characters are both human and noble in the face of terrible events. In this second autobiographical novel by actress Gila Almagor (see LILITH Spring 1991 on The Summer of Aviyah), Aviyah, the narrator, falls in love for the first time and finds the burial place of her father. Miriam, a hostile new girl at the village eventually goes to court rather than return ‘home’ to an abusive couple–Holocaust survivors who falsely claim she is their daughter. Recently released as a feature film in Israel, the title refers to a favorite tree which thrives, the teenagers believe, because it is watered by their tears.