Before you the ancient rain
warmth on your back, you stand and think
how few the words
a man needs in life
You think of him who sees all this, and him
whose face is the wind, and the falling of the leaves, and rain
tapping the glass.
Tuvya Ruebner was awarded the Israel Prize for Poetry in February 2008. This prize is awarded for a life-time contribution to a particular field and is the highest accolade the state of Israel can bestow.
The jury awarding the Israel Prize wrote: ‘Tuvya Ruebner has been one of the foremost Hebrew poets for five decades now....Ruebner's poetry is planted in two main landscapes, those of Europe and of Israel, and in this respect embodies ‘the pain of two homelands' and the unresolved tension between them. This is restrained, polished and intellectual poetry. It is nourished by the ancient strata of Hebrew poetry and the best tradition of Central European poetry'.
Tuvya Ruebner was born in 1924 in Bartislava, Slovakia. He was aged 17 when, in 1941, he had to flee Slovakia to Israel - leaving behind his parents and sister who were then killed by the Nazis.
In Israel he settled in Kibbutz Merchavia. His first wife, with whom he had one daughter, was killed in a car accident. His second wife is the pianist Galila Yizreeli-Ruebner with whom he has two sons. Tuvya Ruebner started as a labourer in the kibbutz and then a literature teacher in the local secondary school. With relatively little formal education, he ended up as Professor of Literature at Haifa University in Israel, and the editor of a leading Israeli publishing house for literature.
Tuvya Reubner began writing in German - his first language, and later switched to Hebrew. He has published twelve books, edited five others and translated from German to Hebrew (Schlegel, Goethe, Kafka and others), and from Hebrew to German (Agnon, Carmi, Pagis).
He is a member of the German academies for languages and literature at Darmstadt and Meintz, and a winner of numerous prizes for literature in Israel and in Germany.