Hi, everyone. I am delighted to post a personal history story from Israel! I am putting it first in the English translation, and then in the original language, Hebrew. Please scroll down to see this version, and forgive me for the imperfections in the formating of the Hebrew version-- the site is not used to it and it is fighting me tooth and claw. The story is generously given to us by Nurit Henig.
Nurit was born in Tel Aviv, and was raised in a neighborhood that represented a microcosm of Israeli society in all its complexity. She served in the Israeli Air Force, and then went to the University of Tel Aviv for a degree in literature and theatre studies. After completing her studies, she acted on the stage of the Ohel Theater, one of the first theaters to be founded in Israel, and stayed with it until Ohel was closed a couple of years later. At this point, Nurit started working for the distinguished Israeli Educational Television as a director of children’s programming. Later she
advanced to the position of a producer and an editor. During this time, Nurit enhanced her education by attending the highly regarded Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem where she studied scriptwriting.
By Nurit Henig
In the morning, when Yuda’le was informed that his mother’s condition deteriorated and he must prepare himself for the worst, he became terrified of the thought that his life was about to be changed beyond recognition. Since his retirement, he spent every day with his aging mother at the Healing Home for the Elderly. He had no wife and children; he had abandoned his only hobby, repairing old radio sets, a long time ago. Staying with his mother the entire day saved him from the need – to live.
Following retirement, after settling his mother at the home for the elderly, Yuda’le could have reorganized his life as he wished. For the first time, their small, crowded apartment was his alone, and he could do with it, and with his life, anything he could think of. However he could not clarify to himself what he actually fancied. His old friends either played with their grandchildren or passed away. The television supplied him with the news once a day; for more than that he found no time. He did not go to weddings; only to funerals of his few friends which he did not dare to miss.
Some things take longer than expected, but finally I do have good news on the personal histories front. I have received a fantastic personal history story from a wonderful writer in Israel. I am currently translating it into English, and it will soon be put on the site. I am hoping to place it in the original Hebrew as well as in English, because the language the author has used is beautiful and I don’t want it lost to us; I am sure some of the readers of this site speak and read Hebrew, too. I will present the author’s name and a short biography when I place the story on the site, and I hope to see many comments – since I would love to receive more of her beautiful work, and your comments may persuade her to send it!
In 2012, I am planning to return to collecting personal histories from people who have an interesting story about themselves, their families, or their friends. If you read the introductory article and the three examples I provided, you will see what kind of diverse stories I am interested in. The short term plan is to collect them in a blog that will appear on this website. The long term plan is to eventually prepare them as print and e-books, possibly arranged around several specific topics. I would like to know if there are enough people interested in joining the project – please leave a comment to let me know.
All too often, the idea of personal histories brings to mind an image of genealogical research, or a tedious list of dates, places and events. Perhaps a family tree, with some pictures of family members pasted on it. This is the wrong idea. Personal histories are the most exciting stories in the world – stories that mirror people’s lives and souls. They are true stories, sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes hilariously funny, tales of the deepest human interest.
Everyone has a story. This unique, valuable tale expresses the thoughts, feelings, and events of an individual life. No one else can tell it – the deeply personal circumstances, the joys, the sorrows, the adventures can only be expressed by the person who has experienced them. You could write it yourself if you enjoy writing, and if not, you could share it with a personal historian. Working together, you will make this priceless information available to your family, friends, and perhaps – who knows? Even to a larger audience. Many personal biographies are published with great success.
Scarlett Johansson's lovely grandmother
Ladies and gentlemen, permit us to introduce the star: Miss Dorothy Sloan! Take a bow, Dorothy; this is your fan club.
Some people who know Dorothy may argue, and mention that she is not the only star in her family. Very true. Dorothy is the grandmother of the shining and enchanting, not to mention very famous, Scarlett Johansson. But let’s face it; we know that any woman’s truly interesting life story demands some time to ripen. The great French Writer, Honoré de Balzac, said that a woman begins to be interesting only when she reaches “a certain age.” The beautiful and talented Ms. Johansson, who loves her grandma dearly and has always thought of Dorothy as her best friend, will be the first to admit that she has followed in Grandma’s footsteps when she decided, at a very early age, to pursue her successful show biz career.
As told by Rebecca
This picture of Rebecca and Danilo as teens was given to me by childhood friends and it is possible that a mistake was made regarding the identity. I have no way of checking it out and if anyone recognizes either of them, and thinks that this is the wrong person, please let me know and I will immediately remove the picture.
Separating from Danilo was the worst part. We grew up together in our little village, our houses stood side by side and our parents were best friends. We thought of ourselves as brother and sister. Each day we played in our adjoining yards, creating our own little world of magic. I remember the scent of snow in winter, the clean earth and growing herbs in spring and summer. Our childhood was so good, so secure. At the time it was enough, more than enough. Who would have thought we could fall in love, too? But that is exactly what happened. When Danilo and I reached our teens, he was sent to the Gymnasium in Odessa, and I stayed at the local school. We only saw each other on vacations and soon enough realized how we really felt about each other.
As Told By Dianne Ettl
“I’d like to live to be a hundred and twenty, so I can see all the wonderful things to come. And at the right time, I’d probably ask for another twenty.” Chaim said that as he was celebrating his one hundredth birthday at his beloved Day Center of the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan, surrounded by other seniors and the staff – all of whom adored him. Unfortunately, he did not live to be as old as that, having passed away a month short of the age of one hundred and four.
All the wonderful things to come? This is not a statement one hears very often. Many people, much younger than Chaim, lose their optimism and their zest for living as the years go by. Chaim maintained an enormous love of life. “To think of all the marvelous technological and scientific advances I’ve seen over the past century is amazing. I can only wonder what the next fifty years will produce? The young people of today are living in a wonderful age.” Evidently, no “good old days” regrets for Chaim.