What kind of work do you do?
In my native Poland I was a lecturer in political science. After the fall of Communism my mother and I decided to make aliyah. In Israel I joined the IDF, training first as gunner in a Sho't Kal tank crew and later as a Krav Maga instructor. Now I run my own civilian Krav Maga centre. In the future I hope to become a nun in Myanmar. In fact I nearly became a nun there 16 years ago, but shortly before I was due to take the precepts a telegram arrived from Israel recalling me for military service - I was needed because Arafat had just launched the Second Intifada. But one day...
How do you spend your time outside of work?
Reading books on the Dhamma and practising meditation; teaching children’s self-defence classes at Torah camp; listening to heavy metal; gardening; ikebana; hiking and rock-climbing in lonely places; learning new languages (Bedawi Arabic is my latest one and I intend to start on Pali later this year).
Do you have friends who aren't into meditation/Buddhism?
I find that I don’t really click very well with Israeli Buddhists. And so it happens that most of my friends are either cultural Jews (plus a few religious ones) or cultural Muslims.
What kinds of things do you talk about and do?
My Jewish friends are mostly in academia and we mainly talk politics, philosophy, literature and music. My Muslim friends are all ageing headbangers like me and we talk about nothing but music: Pendragon, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, forthcoming gigs, and so on.
If you're in a partnership, is your partner into your lifestyle?
I am a “Jubu”. The Jewish part is that I keep a kosher household and celebrate all the Jewish festivals out of respect for my family tradition, but being an atheist I don’t hold any Jewish theological beliefs. The Buddhist part began when I was in Poland and would attend a Korean Zen centre affiliated with Master Seung Sahn’s Kwan Um School; I believe this was the only kind of Buddhism that existed in Poland during the Communist era. Later I switched to the Theravada after attending first a short course and then a long retreat with Sayadaw U Pandita.
My late husband was a Polish Catholic, but one of a mystical and theologically liberal inclination - a big enthusiast for the early Spanish Carmelites and for Quietists like Guyon and Fenelon. Our religious differences never caused any friction in our relationship.