At many tourist attractions in Israel nowadays you can see a little “seret” or movie about the place. This is quite welcome, as the movies are shown indoors in air-conditioning, and I found each movie to be refuge from the summer heat and the emphasis on walking and walking and walking. After seeing many of these little films, however, they begin to blend together. One, however, stood out from the crowd, and this was the one at Rosh Hanikra, the one that told the story of the ghost bride.
Long, long time ago south of these tall white cliffs lived a young girl in Acre (Akko). Her father made a deal with a older businessman in Tyre, Lebanon, that she would be his bride. So she was taken in a caravan north. As the caravan passed over these cliffs, the young bride jumped out, never to be seen again. And as the movie continued the history of Rosh Hanikra (the British built a railroad through the cliffs; the Haganah blew up the tunnel in the 1940s), the young bride appeared over and over again in the background with the cliffs.
After the movie is over and we emerge back into the brilliant sunshine, my daughter (who is 6) had all these questions: why did they show that girl over and over again? what’s a ghost? what happened to her? did she die? what happens after you die? is she still here?
So I suppose we (my husband, my two sons who are older than her, and I) came up with some sort of explanations. One week later, when we were in Jerusalem, I found her making up ghost stories one evening: