AGE: 14 up
This lyrical story is set in a kibbutz on the banks of the Jordan River, in the aftermath of the 1948 War of Independence. The narrator is an adolescent girl named Tirza, a nature lover who doesn't always conform to the accepted norms of the kibbutz. She tells the story of Tamara, a new immigrant from Morocco, who fails to bridge the gap between her old world and the culture of the kibbutz, and runs away to her family in the transit camp. Then there is Oscar, the refugee violinist, whose relationship with a married woman provokes so much hostility that he is finally asked to leave.
The book offers a critical view of the kibbutz, depicting the interference in an individual's private life, and the fostering of an Israeli culture that is detached from the Jewish world. The voice of protest that rises from the book is balanced by the rich descriptions of nature, which underscore the beautiful aspects of kibbutz life.
Critic Zohar Shavit writes about Winter Wishes: "It's been a long time since I had this wonderful experience: the desire for a book not to end. Reading it is an unlimited pleasure."