The Gates of Paradise


Ori Ansbacher was a child of nature. Up in the hills near her home, Ori found two crooked columns and said: “Look – these are the gates of paradise.” That was her secret place and she invited her mother and brother to visit there. They always felt her special gaze there. The clip reawakens that horrific memory. 

In memory of Ori Ansbacher

Ori was the daughter of Noa and Gadi, sister to Tal, Thema, David and Sova. She was born in 1999 and lived with her family in Tekoa. In her youth, she was a counselor in Bnei Akiva and on finishing high school, she volunteered for National Service, during which she served in the Center for the Treatment of Youth in Ein Yael in Jerusalem. This was her second year of volunteering, during which she worked with and mentored youths with disabilities. She was loved by the youths she worked with and by her superiors. 

Eitan, the director of the Center, described her as follows: “She had a focused desire for truth and when she felt that something was fake, even to a small extent, she was not prepared to tolerate that. She always demanded that what we say should be true and accurate and if not she would not do it. On the other hand, if she was convinced that something was right, she was ready to make every effort to do it. This showed her other side: the belief that nothing can stand in the way of determination. If she believed in something, there was no problem that she could not overcome.”
On the third of Adar A 5779 (February 7th, 2019), Ori left the Center for the nearby forest. Two hours later, her family reported her disappearance, and after eight hours of searching, her body was found. Ori who had gone into the forest to commune with Nature, which she so loved doing, was brutally murdered by a terrorist. She was 19 years old on her death. 

The family chose to mark the 30th day after her murder at Ein Yael. 

Ori used to write poems down in a notebook she carried. Following is one of them: 

Being in the Forest / Ori Ansbacher

To be within the calm
The sun above kisses me
The ground below me supports me
The water is at rest inside me
And the air lets me shut my eyes
And breathe

To walk barefoot, exposed
To let the stones stab 
And rub together. 

To wrap them in my foot
Like the daily pitfalls
To embrace them with compassion
To look at the pine extending a hand
To the pine beside him
That puts out a hand to another pine
That puts out a hand to another pine
And to laugh out loud

To look at the sky – to look for God
To look closely – close to me
And to find him
To let the thousands of leaflets 
Make me see green
To shine the windows of my soul
To hear the bird chirping
To chirp back at it
Thanks and how are you?
To agree to wait for an answer
To let the mind ask and ask and ask
To investigate and be curious
To let the heart rest
He deserves it

Comments by the creators Yoni Shalmon and Dor Bushari: 

The general approach to the project was to emphasize the life stories of the victims rather than focus on the death itself; but in the case of Ori Ansbacher, it was difficult to ignore. In the beginning, there was a fear of touching her story since the wound was still open. Nonetheless, Ori’s spirit and the collection of random circumstances in the end verified the feeling that this is the correct choice. When dealing with such a sensitive subject, there is also a fear that arises from the desire to maintain Ori’s character as a real person. However, the story deals with the tension between life and an abstract ideal and therefore we felt that we have here a kind of permission to take artistic liberty with the characters and also to therefore admit that there is always a gap between an animated character and the individual on which it is based, even in a personal story. 

Ori’s writing ability was evident in a variety of texts, some of which were even produced into songs. While doing the background investigation for this clip, it was clear that we would combine the two. After writing the script, we listened to the song “Being in the Forest” and to our surprise, many parts of it fitted in with the idea of the clip. Thus, we made her voice and her world heard. In the clip, the singer Efrat Apter performed the song and also provided Ori’s voice. 

We don’t know exactly what Ori felt when she stepped into her Garden of Paradise: Was it for her a personal Garden of Paradise or that of all humanity? Was it imaginary for her or reality? When we translated the story into a clip, we felt how this tension expressed itself in many aspects of Ori’s character: innocence and light as opposed to darkness and violence, religion and tradition as opposed to freedom and individualism, the new generation as opposed to the previous one. We used Ori’s ability to maneuver her way between all of these worlds and to express this primarily through the bond between her and Noa, her mother. Therefore, even the Garden of Paradise relates to the real world, rather than erasing it. The design of the Garden of Paradise is a transparent layer on a black-and-white reality. The Garden of Paradise is not a fantasy, but rather an interpretation and a living point of view. 

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