By Barbara Myerhoff
While famous anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff obtained a provide to discover the method of getting older, she made up our minds to check a few aged Jews from Venice, California, instead of to record on a extra unique humans. the tale of the rituals and lives of those awesome previous humans is, as Bel Kaufman stated, "one of these infrequent books that go away the reader in some way changed." the following Dr. Myerhoff documents the tales of a tradition that turns out to provide humans the power to stand huge, immense day-by-day difficulties — poverty, overlook, loneliness, bad healthiness, insufficient housing and actual possibility. the story is a poignant one, humorous and sometimes clever, with implications for we all in regards to the value of formality, the agonies of getting older, and the indomitable human spirit.
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Additional info for Number Our Days: A Triumph of Continuity and Culture Among Jewish Old People in an Urban Ghetto
I don't believe in God. " Eventually I convinced him that I was drawn to him for his learning and philosophical approach, not for his typicality. He had thought more about his experiences than most, had struggled to make sense of them. He yielded to this argument. I added that this work had personal meaning for me as well. I had not had the opportunity to learn about the world of my grandparents directly. I wanted to hear a firsthand account of Needle and thread 43 Yiddishkeit and the shtetl. My grandparents had not taught me this, and now they were dead.
I promised everyone an opportunity to speak each week, however briefly, and insisted everyone listen to each other with a minimum of interrupting. This was very difficult for the old people and only after many weeks of meeting were they certain enough that they would have a chance to talk to manage to hold back their offerings. They-and I-used the tape recorder to good purpose. Pleading that the typist could never work with • Left-winger. NUMBEI. OUI. DAYS tapes in which everyone spoke at once, I turned the machine off when they tried to shout each other down.
The bright side of guilt is that it is an expression of a sense of responsibility for another's wellbeing. When I realized that, I became resigned and even grateful about my responses to my subjects. I had been with these people for almost two years when I hit on what seemed the most significant component of my complex feelings about them. I chanced to read a comment by Isaac Bashevis Singer in one of his novels about survivors. A single statement of his suddenly clarified matters for me. In reference to his own difficulties in writing about victims he remarked, "Although I did not have the privilege of going through the Hitler holocaust .