Whenever she returns from her home in Israel to her home in Barbados, Goldie Spieler makes it a point to catch up with what’s happening at Earthworks Pottery, at Shop Hill, St Thomas, which she founded 47 years ago. (Picture by Maurice Giles.)
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Her love affair with Israel started over 30 years ago when she visited Tel Aviv for the first time.
This love affair saw her making a firm and conscious decision to make Israel, and more specifically Jerusalem, her home. Well, it depends on how you look at things. You see, Goldie Spieler has triple citizenship. She is a Canadian citizen by birth; a citizen of Barbados, where she has lived since 1966, and a citizen of Israel, where she now resides approximately ten months of each year.
Undoubtedly, Spieler’s name is synonymous with pottery and art in Barbados. It was 47 years ago that she started Earthworks Pottery, which today is a thriving business, managed by her only child, David.
Spieler, who taught art at Queen’s College, Harrison College and St Winifred schools, is also known for her tastefully crafted watercolour paintings. In fact, it was her works of art that ultimately resulted in an invitation for her to visit Tel Aviv to stage her own art show – thanks to Israeli friends Dov and Rachel Carmi. (
When one considers the hurdles Spieler has faced as a young entrepreneur and single mother, one is sure to marvel at her long, hard journey to success. Her love affair with Israel is even more interesting, as it seemed that along that road to success, the two intertwined.
One of four children born in Ottawa, Canada, to Russian immigrants and Jewish parents, Spieler admits that as a teenager she was somewhat of a rebel, and had scant respect for her Jewish upbringing. Today, she has certainly embraced those Jewish roots and has found comfort and happiness simply living the Jewish life in Israel.
“I was always the rebel in the family. I did not agree with the laws that pertained to what I should or should not eat. As far as I was concerned, what went into the mouth came back out, so I could not figure out why eating bacon, for example, was wrong. I considered my father a shouter, but I would question everything Jewish – including the idea of atonement. Why would we have to go to synagogue and beat our breasts as we confessed our sins?” she said. (CH)
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