Preserve Your Story, Now

I’ve loved hearing people’s life stories as long as I can remember.

As a child, I savored the stories of my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and parents.  The relationship between my father and grandfather running a small textile mill in Woonsocket, Rhode Island (USA).  How, in World War I, my other grandfather survived the crushing poverty of Jerusalem and then Vienna.  My grandmother’s correspondence, in Hebrew, with her father in the mid 1920’s – she a teen in Lithuania, he in Brooklyn preparing the way for his family’s immigration to the United States.

I remember the way family members told stories.  The wistful, nostalgic, sometimes sad and other times happy looks on their faces.  The rushed excitement or the pregnant pauses of their words.  I was always ready with follow-up questions.

Their stories became mine, part of my self-understanding.  The stories connected me to the family members, to the world, and to the heritage of an exceptional people.

As a person and Jew, I’ve been nurtured on a diet of stories and life testimony ever since – others and my own.

As a congregational rabbi, the passion became a profession – listening to people’s stories, validating their experiences, and capturing their narratives at the end of life for family and friends.  I also linked people’s stories to our flourishing story as a Jewish people going back to the time of Moses, our greatest life storyteller, who recalled our national epic – and his personal one – at the threshold of the Promised Land.  Through these experiences, I understood, better than ever, the irrepressible drive of human beings to pass on their stories, their legacies, and their values.

Now, I create jewishlifestory, so you can walk in Moses’ footsteps, vitally alive, preserving your stories, legacies and lessons for your children and grandchildren.

May the jewishlifestory blog inspire you along that path.  I’ll share my stories.  Please share yours.

Bruchim ha’baim.  Welcome.

Mark Robbins , jewishlifestory.com

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