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Elena is Ilana

Mira Meir
AGE: 8-12

This is the story of Elena, who immigrated to Israel from Russia. Her first days in the country were difficult: the children thought she was arrogant and she didn’t understand their language and games. Feeling lonely and alienated, she did not want to change her Russian name to the Hebrew name Ilana, as the teacher suggested. “I’ll never understand the Israelis,” she thinks in despair. But she slowly becomes acclimated. The Jewish holidays begin to appeal to her, one of the girls in her class becomes her friend. But the big change occurs after Elena visits a kibbutz on the border and is forced into the bomb shelter because of shelling. When she returns to her class, she discovers that all the children had been concerned about her. She agrees to be called Ilana and becomes Israeli not only in name.

Photographs: Yael Rosen-Horan

MeirMira Elena is Ilana
Title Elena is Ilana
Author’s Last Name Meir
Author's First Name Mira
Language(s) English, Swedish
Genre children
Publisher (Hebrew) Sifriat Poalim
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1977
No. Pages 47 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Alina Hi Ilana
Representation Represented by ITHL


Swedish: Stockholm, Hillelforlaget, 1981
English: Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1982

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