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RALPH YAMRON

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Interviewee: RALPH YAMRON

 

Interviewer: Brian Yamstein

Interview Date: November 12, 2017

Location: Oak Park, MI

Tape No.: 11.12.17-RY (audio digital file)

(Approximate total length 53 minutes)

Transcription: Yousaidit (DS), Fiverr

 

Themes: Jewish Identity, Anti-Semitism, Holocaust, Immigration, Observance, Upbringing

 

Summary: Ralph Yamron reflects on his identity with Reform Judaism, even though he disagrees with having women rabbis and cantors. He respects the fervor of his Orthodox neighbors and expects the Orthodox to maintain the legacy of Judaism. He recalls the story of his grandfather’s getting a one-eyed horse as a reward for building a large oven for the Czar.

 

Example of proper citation/ attribution:

Yamstein, B. (Interviewer) & Yamron, R. (Interviewee). (2017) Ralph Yamron: Jewish Journeys[Interview transcript]. Retrieved from Jewish Journeys Oral History Collection of Congregation Shir Tikvah: https://shirtikvah.org/cstoralhistoryarchive

 

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

 

 

Interviewer: The name of the interviewer is Brian Yamsteen; the name of the interviewee is?

 

Interviewee: Ralph Yamron.

 

Interviewer: The date is Sunday, November 12, 2017; the place is Oak Park Michigan. I've explained the project, and you have signed the consent to this public interview. Is that correct?

 

Interviewee: Yes.

 

Interviewer: Thank you. So Ralph, what is your favorite Jewish holiday, and why?

 

Interviewee: My favorite Jewish holiday is Passover because I like the traditions, and it gives me a chance to gather the family together all in one place at one time, and to follow the traditions of L'dor Vador that's why I like it, that's the really long and short of it.

 

Interviewer: Right.

 

Interviewee: I use a reformed Haggadah. I like it, it's not real long, and everybody gets to understand the meaning.

 

Interviewer: So L'dor Vador means from generation to generation, why is that important to you?

 

Interviewee: Well, that's what being Jewish is about. We're taking your education and knowledge from one generation to the next. Of course, you'll probably say it in other religions too, but it's kind of emphasized more in Judaism, I think, and that's a tradition that I like to follow.

 

Interviewer: So you said you were a reform Jew?

 

Interviewee: Yes, I am.

 

Interviewer: Is that how you grew up?

 

Interviewee: My parents were not Shomer Shabbos, and they weren't going to services anywhere that I can ever remember until I was getting ready at the age of about eight or so to start looking forward to Bar Mitzvah. And so my mother enrolled me in the yeshiva Beth Yehuda, and unfortunately, it was too late. I got there into a class of children that had been going there for four or five years already.

And in order to go to the bathroom a true story, if you couldn't ask in Hebrew to go to the bathroom, you couldn't get to the bathroom. And so my stay there is, to say the least, very short because it was impossible for me. And so my mother looked around and decided that Temple Israel would be the best place for us because she particularly liked Temple Israel because most of the service was in English and she didn't read Hebrew. So it was much more meaningful to her, and also to me.

 

Interviewer: So you grew up in Detroit, right?

 

Interviewee: Yes. I grew up in Detroit; I lived on Elmhurst, my first house while I was born in Monroe, Michigan. My mother convinced my father that she wanted to be closer to her family, so we moved to Detroit. My first residence was on Duane near Dexter, that's right near Elmhurst.

At the end of the block was for Frentz's restaurant, and I've been told when I was a child of six or so, I had a charge account there. I could walk down the end of the block and go and have a sandwich or bowl of soup, and they would just write it down, and when my parents came in, they would take care of the bill. It was a four-family flat that was the first place I lived.

 

Interviewer: Was Frentz's like a delicatessen thing?

 

Interviewee: Oh yes, anybody who knows Jewish history here [00:05:00.00] would know Frentz's delicatessen was there for many years.

[00:05:00.00]

 

Interviewer: So you said you first then tried to enroll, your pants tried to enroll you in Yeshiva Beth Yehuda?

 

Interviewee: Well, actually, my first experience was at the Humphrey shul, which is off Dexter not far from Yeshiva Beth Yehudah. It was a very Orthodox synagogue. I was very young; I remember that it was very smelly. I remember that the women sat upstairs, and I remember asking my father why the men covered their head with hats, and he told me in a humorous way it was a tradition so that you wouldn't be bothered by the lice in people's hair, that's what my father told me. That was his experience from being born in Russia.

So that was my first experience, the Cantor impressed me, of course, I had no idea what it was that he was singing about, but I like the sounds, and later on, in my life, I got very involved in music, and I appreciate things in the minor key, it just appeals to me. Maybe it's because I'm Jewish, I don't really know.

 

Interviewer: So because of a lot of Jewish music, at least the cantorial music of that traditional cantorial music.

 

Interviewee: Was it a minor key, yes.

 

Interviewer: That's interesting.

 

Interviewee: And it was sung by Cantor's who were men, that's as far as I'll go.

 

Interviewer: Well, can I ask you a little bit about that?

 

Interviewee: You can ask me.

 

Interviewer: So for you, how do you feel, I mean about women cantors today?

 

Interviewee: I've seen some of the women who are singers, are wonderful sinners there's just not Cantor's to me. The range is most all the time can crack a stained-glass window at 100 yards, and that's not how I perceive cantorial music. I guess if I found a woman Cantor who had a low tenor strong voice, I might appreciate that maybe. But I'm pretty traditional; I think Cantors should be men and I think Rabbis should be men also. But it looks like we're running out of men rabbis, the women are taking over which doesn't make me really happy.

Although, I guess they may have more empathy for family situations. I still think that the rabbi should be a man. I'm not exactly sure why. When I grew up, my rabbi was Rabbi Syme at Temple Israel, and I thought he was the most wonderful rabbi ever was. Also, Rabbi Fromm was at Temple Israel, he was getting to be older by that time, and I know that Rabbi Syme’ s father was an Orthodox rabbi in Winnipeg, and my father lived in Winnipeg for quite some time before he came to the United States.

But I being a kind of a very emotional person, rabbi Syme could barely say good evening and how are you before I pulled out the Kleenex. He had a way of telling a story that first made you laugh, and then made you realize what it was that he was started to tell you. And his son carried on that tradition, Danny Syme, he is retired [00:10:00.00] now, was a rabbi at Beth El long ago.

[00:10:00.00]

Interviewer: So you said you prefer the male rabbi and all that stuff, you're not sure why. But you are reformed, you do associate yourself with Reform When you were growing up, did reform, was it only male rabbis still?

 

Interviewee: Yes, that I had any contact with.

 

Interviewer: Right. So your preference for, it's only an orthodoxy that as a male they're stuck with like the male rabbi thing. Is that a problem for you in terms of your affiliation?

 

Interviewee: Is it a problem? Yes, sure. At this point, I'm in the diaspora again. I have an old synagogue that I would go out of my way to attend, even the reform the bigger synagogues are just corporate entities to me, they've lost that personal touch. And also their liberal to the extreme, and I am conservative to the extreme. So there is no place for me.

 

Interviewer: Interesting.

 

Interviewee: Although it's interesting to note that a lot of my neighbors who are Orthodox are very conservative. But I'm afraid orthodoxy is beyond my capability. I don't discount it; I think they are very nice people. In my case, I have never had a problem with one of my neighbors; they all seem to treat me well even though I do drive on Shabbos. But in general, this is a very Orthodox neighborhood that I live in, and I'm very happy here. I think it's wonderful; it's a hard life for them.

It certainly is. But on the other end of it, it never changes, and that's something I couldn't deal with for my life. For me to get up every single day and know it's going to be exactly the same as it was the day before, or maybe the year before. You read the same thing; I'm going to do the same things over and over. It's like that movie Groundhog Day, where he continually gets up, and it's the same, that does not appeal to me at all. Although I appreciate their fervor [Inaudible 00:13:09.12] and I think at the end of all this, they'll be the only ones really left.

Because if you go to a conservative shul or even a reformed shul, except for the big corporation ones, you basically don't find anybody there, they're empty; they're searching for people. If there are people in there they're old people now in the conservative shuls they are old people. And then the reformed shus all of them are in West Bloomfield, and every time you go there, it's more of a fashion show than a service which bothers me a lot.

And I've had some disagreements with the rabbis there, especially when the rabbi stood on the bema and said with the Ten Commandments right behind him, said that we shouldn't judge President Clinton. I thought to myself, taking from the radio personally, are those just ten suggestions or Ten Commandments, and it's your job to tell me about those Ten Commandments? And how can you do that, how can you give the president a pass if he's an adulterer?

[00:15:00.00]

And so at that point, I thought listening was not possible, because rabbi wasn't really being what I considered a rabbi. [00:15:00.00] He was paid to a corporation and preaching what the people wanted to hear rather than the true word, be it in Hebrew or in English. When the Rabbi Syme spoke in English, he would have never ever said that somebody who committed adultery or murder or any of those things should not be judged because of his position in life, no. That really turned me off at that time. It was Temple Israel.

And I've been back on occasion for simchas when we're invited, and it's wonderful, beautiful it's a tremendous show, tremendous. The Cantor, actually they do have a cantor, besides I know they have a female, and they have a Cantorial soloist who is a powerful voice. And the previous Cantor, oh I can't think of his name though, that's terrible. Anyway had a wonderful voice, wonderful voice, he wasn't a very nice person, but he had a very wonderful voice.

 

Interviewer: So now there are so many things that I'm interested in asking you about. So you're talking about like adultery and Bill Clinton, this reformed rabbi who you felt like didn't really...

 

Interviewee: Yes, I think he disqualified himself.

 

Interviewer: So for you, that strikes me as very Jewish, as caring about. Adultery is wrong, do you feel like your values in terms of adultery, which is obviously you think it's wrong it comes from the Jewish background somehow? And how so?

 

Interviewee: Yes, you know I'm not a learned scholar, but I know the Ten Commandments, at least I've read them more than once, and my parents lived that way, and I lived that way. And every person that I know that has not lived that way has been a very unhappy person in my experience all through life. I've known some people that have done very well financially and wound up to be extremely unhappy people because they didn't hold to their marriages, and they cheated and lied and did all the things that you're not supposed to do.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I try the best I can. And I do argue with some of my Orthodox friends who I can speak with, and one of the humorous things I always asked them is what happens if you die and you meet God? And she says you know you were wrong and therefore you've done all of these things every day of your life and not experience some of the wonderful things that this life, this earth has to offer and you were wrong. So I'm into almost everything in moderation, but putting the Ten Commandments first, that's what I would say.

 

Interviewer: So let's talk about your parents a little bit. You mentioned that your father was from Europe or something?

 

Interviewee: My father?

 

Interviewer: Yes.

 

Interviewee: I don't ever remember him being or speaking to me about religion. Of course, we went to Temple together with our whole family at that time, uncles, and my father came from Russia MolahKavitz [Inaudible 00:19:51.29] a little town near Nasavotz [Inaudible 00:19:58.16] [00:20:00.00] that says he told his story. His story is very long if you want to hear it.

[00:20:00.00]

 

Interviewer: We would love to.

 

Interviewee: Sure, I would be glad to tell you. This is as told by my father to me, his father and his grandfather were blacksmiths, and his grandmother was a saleswoman who sold notions, sewing needles, thread, cloth, and he went around with a wagon from one little village to the next doing that. And my grandfather was impressed, impressed is not the word made to serve in the Czar's army even though he was Jewish.

 

Interviewer: Your grandfather?

 

Interviewee: My grandfather, yes. And they had a competition to impress the Czar because he was coming to visit their regiment. And my grandfather built an oven that would be able to cook a loaf of bread large enough to feed the regiment; it was quite a feat, especially in those times. And for that, even though he was Jewish, and I'm sure the Czar did not know, Czar actually gave him a medal. And at that time, when you were done with her service, wherever you were, they said thank you and find your way home.

There wasn't any transportation, but because of what my grandfather did, he was allowed to keep the horse that he rode, which was blind in one eye. It may sound comical, but it's as my father told me. So they use that horse for many years to pull the wagon, and the only thing that had a problem with that horse is you could not sit on the side with the blind eye, it would make him go a little crazy. If you sat on this side where he had the good eye where he could look back and see you, he was a very calm animal.

And when that day finally came when my family founder was going to be a pogrom coming to their village, my grandfather packed everything that they owned, that they could onto their wagon and they got on their wagon, and he sat on the opposite side, and that horse actually saved my family because he just ran until he couldn't run any farther. If it hadn't been for that occasion, I wouldn't be here talking to you.

And so then they left, and they couldn't get to the United States because of all the restrictions on immigration. But Canada was very open, and so they wound up I don't know why in one of the coldest places you can be outside of Alaska, they wound up in Winnipeg and they lived there for quite a few years and then immigrated to the United States.

 

Interviewer: This is your grandfather?

 

Interviewee: My father. By that time, it was my father and his brother and three sisters, and my grandmother was still alive in Winnipeg; my grandfather had passed. I can't tell you exact times and years in it. And my uncle went to work for the Canadian railroad and worked there for his whole life. And my father, when the depression came, he came to the United States, and he was a salesman.

[00:25:00.00]

 

He was always a salesman; he used to sell newspapers on the famous corner in Winnipeg, [00:25:00.00] which I can't tell you right now, but they had 40 below zero in the wintertime was not uncommon. And my father used to tell me that they used to go ice-skating and wear a business suit to impress the women that they were not wimpy or whatever. And underneath the pants of the business suit they were wearing leather underwear, because you could lose your anatomy, that's how cold it was.

Interviewer: So what was your father's like Jewish, obviously he passed something down to you about Jewish identity?

 

Interviewee: Yes, but he wasn't a temple or a shul goer.

 

Interviewer: Was it important to him to be Jewish, being Jewish?

 

Interviewee: Yes, I think so, but I don't ever remember a lot of that. My mother was more the teaching of the traditions; my father was not a devout soul. He was Jewish, he knew he was Jewish, he had almost all Jewish friends, and he moved in a Jewish community. But I don't ever remember till we joined Temple Israel that he would attend any service, it was my mother that was the...

 

Interviewer: Where was your mother, was she also from America, from Europe?

 

Interviewee: My mother was born in the United States in Detroit. Her parents were from Poland, and my mother and father met at Stony Point, there was a swimming beach near Monroe, and the sign on the front of the beach said no dogs, no niggers, no Jews. And when my father was there swimming, he took one look at my mother and her nose and said this is a Jewish woman, and they hit it off really well.

And so they married, and my father had a dry cleaning business in Monroe, and he also went to work for the Excelsior dry cleaning equipment company. So he was on the road selling dry cleaning equipment.

 

Interviewer: Wait. So this beach they said no Jews, but they were Jews at this beach?

 

Interviewee: Yes.

 

Interviewer: I mean nobody could [Inaudible 00:28:17.25]

 

Interviewee: Well, who knew, but that was [Inaudible 00:28:21.05], and his friends knew, and he was very friendly with a fellow who was in the furniture business there. There was Ted Saks and my mother, and Ted Sachs's wife; were like the very best of friends. She was at the beach with Ted Sachs and his wife, my father just came looking for some company, I'm sure.

 

Interviewer: Interesting that they just ignore the sign like to me.

 

Interviewee: But you know nobody at that point swam naked, that's the plain truth of it. At that time, the only way you would know if somebody was Jewish, I'm sure there were a lot of people who were circumcised, was if you were circumcised.

I was born in the Catholic hospital in Monroe, and all the nuns came to my circumcision because they had never been to one before. Made a big deal out of it, I was told, all I can remember is the pain.

 

Interviewer: So you're saying your mother was more involved?

 

[00:30:00.00]

 

Interviewee: Yes. Her family she had two sisters and four brothers, and they were all pretty much [00:30:00.00] about the same as my father, not going to shul. My aunt Belle who married, her husband's name was Lou Fields, he was a very religious person, and that's how I wound up at the Humphrey shul.

 

Interviewer: It was a very...

 

Interviewee: Oh, very Orthodox shul. My aunt and her husband lived in an apartment building on Dexter and Humphrey, and it was like a block and a half down to the shul. So that's the connection to the Humphrey shul.

 

Interviewer: I see.

 

Interviewee: But my mother was the one who steered me, and not overtly, I mean everything was just done. I went there for my bar mitzvah, and I went there to Temple confirmation class, and I went there to temple High School. And we learned a lot about Judaism, and we learned about other religions.

It was a very common practice for us to take field trips to all kinds of places. Holy Rollers, seventh-day Adventists. I do remember one trip that we made to Father Coughlin church, and at that point, Father Coughlin was no longer on the radio, and he did not come to greet us. But the priests were well aware of what happened in the past.

 

Interviewer: And Father Coughlin was a famous?

 

Interviewee: He was a famous radio celebrity, very anti-Semitic supporter of Hitler.

 

Interviewer: In 1930.

 

Interviewee: Along with Henry Ford. And so he had a pretty terrible, looking for the word I'm sorry, the Jewish people disliked him immensely. And when we were there, we talked to the priest about what had happened, and they said he was totally wrong, and they repudiated him for what he did, and that was the reason that he was no longer active at all.

He still was in residence there, but he was older by that time and no longer on the radio. And at the ending he said the right things, he said you pray for us, and we'll pray for you, and everything will be good, I remember that.

 

Interviewer: The priest said that?

 

Interviewee: Yes, more than one. And they took us around, and they took us to the 13 stations, and they explained to us what was going on as did the other places where we visited. So when we left that environment of school at Temple Israel, we had a pretty good idea of what was going on with other religions. So there wasn't any confusion or hatred or bigotry because no matter what name you used, it was God. If you wanted to call God Jesus Christ, not something I believe in.

He is probably a very good man and a teacher; by the way, he was Jewish. So I find it very hard to accept Christian people who are anti-Semitic. I point out that if you look upon the wall there, the fella that's hanging here is a Jewish fella. He was born Jewish, and he died Jewish, and he had some very good things to say and started quite a religion, and it's taken over all the world. But they start with the Old Testament, [00:35:00.00] same words exactly, same Ten Commandments not suggestions.

[00:35:00.00]

 

So in other religions, you find the same thing just different words. In my search for truth, I've been involved in martial arts for a good portion of my life. And although they don't regard it as a religion, it has quite a few things in common with religion.

Self-respect, respect for others, avoiding conflict, making yourself a better person, making yourself more aware of life and its surroundings. There's a little Buddhism that sneaks in there once in a while, because most of these practitioners were, well, not all Buddhists, but Taoists and all kinds of Eastern religions practice martial arts in one way or another for a very long time.

 

Interviewer: Is there a way that, since you're Jewish or that's your background, when you do these martial arts, how do you enact it to your Jewish tradition? If so, at all.

 

Interviewee: The respect and the treatment of the people, and trying to be aware comes in. But it's not really a religious experience, although some practitioners did like in everything. There's an orthodoxy in some of the martial arts, but I've seen the most miraculous things happen. I've seen human beings do some of the most miraculous things, that if you didn't see it yourself, you wouldn't possibly believe it can be done.

 

Interviewer: In the martial arts?

 

Interviewee: Oh, yes.

 

Interviewer: Like what?

 

Interviewee: Like what? Oh, I've seen styles of the martial arts which are called very soft styles, it's almost like a ballet dance. And I've seen those people strike at very solid objects and break them, and turn them to dust and do it very slowly so you can't in your mind reconcile where the energy comes from. And I've seen little old Japanese or oriental man fend off four huge men attacking them and not holding back anything. And the ending was all four of those men were flying in four different directions.

And this was a man of 85 years, maybe four and a half feet tall and you'd look at that and try to figure out how it happened, and there's no common sense while you're figuring it out. I once saw a young lady sitting in a chair, a regular wooden chair, and four guys. Their task was to simply push her over.

Four guys, each one over 200 pounds and she's 14 years old, and she's sitting there with her arms outstretched, and her legs outstretched flowing her energy, okay. And they couldn't push her over in that chair, and I know it to be a fact because I was the first man. I was the guy who had his hands on her shoulders, and the four of us pushing one another could not tip her over.

 

Interviewer: So it's interesting like so you've seen these things...

 

Interviewee: That’s unexplainable, yes.

 

Interviewer: In this martial arts, we're talking about Jewish identity. It doesn't sound like, maybe I’m wrong, you've had similar type of experience in the Jewish tradition, right?

 

Interviewee: Sure. What about David and Goliath, it makes me more of a believer that it could actually be done.

 

Interviewer: I see.

 

Interviewee: That a young man with a sling could actually knock down a huge man, you would think even with all kinds of training, he wouldn't be able to generate enough force. So it's things like that in my mind are now more probable to have actually happened.

 

Interviewer: Have you seen anything within like, think about like religion somewhat within the Jewish tradition where you were amazed like this thing I mean? Or now?

 

Interviewee: Well, I was amazed that the Jewish people once they finally got to Israel decided not to wait for God to help them; they decided it was time that they learned to help themselves. That in itself is a miracle, and I find it very hard to believe that the Jewish people in the United States don't get that. Especially the Orthodox community are waiting for Ha Shem to come and intercede.

And then I ask myself the question that I asked myself over and over, what happened in Germany? Was God on vacation, did he just blink? How is it possible? It's very hard to reconcile that the children and the women.

Maybe the men did such terrible things that they might have been deserving, although I can't imagine that. But the children, the women supposedly that terrible death and to suffer like that? I don't think I've met very many survivors that are able to reconcile that. They still go on traditionally, but I find it hard to comprehend. I think if that would have god forbid happened to me, I would lose my belief. I would not stop the Ten commandments, but I would stop looking to a god or an afterlife because it's inconceivable.

We are the chosen people, chosen exactly for what? I understand that the Orthodox believe they are here to heal the world; I understand that. Sometimes I have small discussions about that, like exactly what was it you did today that healed the world? In my particular opinion, if they would go out and get a job and work in between pray, and take that money and donate it to hungry people or whatever, that would be healing the world. But the other way I just don't see it, I can get into that, but I don't want to.

 

Interviewer: Right. But it seems like a very difficult position to be in, talking about Jewish identity. With Jewish identity, you self-identify as a Jew, but yet the Holocaust and the reality of that in Israel, and it's a struggle to kind of like make sense out of the whole thing.

 

Interviewer: And even the reality of the Holocaust when there were Jews who could escape, and country said no can't come here. Why? Why was that? And what was the Pope doing at that time? Was he looking out, just turned the other cheek and to forgive and to have peace in the world? I'm afraid I can't believe that, because had the Pope at that point said to all these countries it's your responsibility as Christians to help these people, the world would have been a [00:45:00.00] better place.

[00:45:00.00]

 

Interviewer: Let me ask you this question, this would probably be my last question. So at the beginning of our interview, you said about like the conservative synagogues are pretty much seems to be less people, and orthodoxy seems to be the only like that won't survive into the future, something like that.

 

Interviewee: Yes.

 

Interviewer: How important is the survival of Jewish identity to you. Does it matter that they were Jewish people in 200 years saying I'm Jewish? Does it not matter for you? Why?

 

Interviewee: Yes. I am saddened by the fact that the conservative movement is going by the wayside, and I am saddened that the reform movement has moved so far to the liberal and whatever is good for today politically correct, I'm saddened by that.

But also I'm encouraged, and the fact that the Orthodox have very large families and some of them don't stay in the Orthodox community, but they still observe, and I think those are the Jews of the future that may form something between the orthodox and the reform like Conservative. But more between conservative and reformed than conservative and Orthodox.

 

Interviewer: I guess my question is, and I have the same question for myself. If it's hard to believe in God and the whole thing after the Holocaust, why do you care? Why do you care if there are Jews, people who identify as Jews in a hundred years?

 

Interviewee: Because I think a Jewish way of life has many attributes, and I would hate to see those things disappear from the world. I'm 74 years old, so I think a lot of those attributes will still be part of the world through other religions. Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Evangelicals, there are certainly a lot of those, and they are growing.

 

Interviewer: And what are the attributes you're talking about?

 

Interviewee: Well, they basically all come down to those Ten Commandments. You could be a great Hebrew scholar and know all of the mitzvahs, but if you don't simply live your life according to those 10, then all the rest are pretty meaningless to me. I mean, if you wash your hands with a cup in one hand and in the other hand, and then you go out and steal, the washing of the hands is pretty meaningless.

And these other religions are steeped in the Ten Commandments thou shalt not, some of them really strong in that. And so the world will survive I hate to have it survive without any Jewish input because I think a lot of Jewish life is good, some of it I find, looking for the right word, I respect tradition. But some of it gets to be for a modern thinking person which I think I am, gets to be pretty ridiculous. I understand tradition; for a long time, we kept a strictly kosher home. [00:50:00.00]

[00:50:00.00]

As long as my mother-in-law [Inaudible 00:50:02.09] may she rest peacefully was alive, we kept a very kosher home, very kosher home. So we did never have to lie to her when she came over, milchigswas milchigs,fleishig wasfleishig, and there was another set of dishes for trefeokay, which many of my family had. We didn't do that, but when I married my wife, we made this decision, I said, and I'm a reformed person, but I never kept kosher. I knew what it was, but I never did that, I said, but if we're going to do it, we're going to do it the right way in our home.

Which gave our children a tradition, which they remember, they don't necessarily carry through with it, but they remember which is the best I can do. And so I'm all in all very satisfied, and things have worked out pretty much well. You know, do I have regrets? Sure, but nothing that wakes me up at night. I've tried to treat everybody as I would be treated. Some people have treated me very unkindly, but in general, most of the people I've met have treated me well, that's not a bad deal.

And I guess that's probably all you guys would be interested in. I'm very well; my health is improving. Thanks to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I think it's the greatest Hospital in the world; by the way, it started with donations from very wealthy survivors.

 

Interviewer: Really?

 

Interviewee: Yes. The main building there is a ganda building, and he was a survivor. Although it's basically a Christian hospital, but they are the best. They've saved my wife, and they've saved me, and you can't ask for better than that. So I think it was Ha shem that steered me there, how's that for an ending?

 

Interviewer: Great. Well, Ralph, thank you, thank you very much for your time.

 

Interviewee: You're more than welcome. And when I leave Ha shem, I have quite a few questions for her.

[00:53:26.00]

 

 

[End of Recorded Material]

 

 

Sat, September 19 2020 1 Tishrei 5781