It’s rare these days to be able to wish a happy birthday to someone who is older than JTA. Today, we’re pleased to report that Ralph I. Goldman is 97 years old and still sharp as a tack.
The longtime JDC executive (now emeritus) lived through our entire archive and can still recount off-hand the stories that the rest of us have to sniff around Wikipedia for. Walking down the streets of his Jerusalem neighborhood, Goldman can identify the founders of the state after whom they’re named — and then tell you whether or not he got along with them. Just last year, Goldman spoke at length about his experiences to a crowd at the PresenTense hub in Jerusalem. [Disclosure: I’ve been involved with PresenTense for four years as a fellow and presenter, but had nothing to do with this event.]
The interview above is slightly older (we’re awaiting official confirmation of the context) and reveals some fascinating stories about Goldman’s involvement during the founding of the state. Our Jewish News Archive’s earliest mention of Goldman dates back to June 1934, when he delivered his Hebrew College graduation speech in Hebrew, and our most recent in 2004 at a GA brunch in his honor. According to the Goldman interview above, his first visit to Israel wasn’t until 1937-1938 on a scholarship from Avukah, a Zionist student organization whose history is well-documented in our archive.
When you’re good and ready to hear some riveting stories about the founding of the modern Jewish state, grab your laptop and some popcorn and listen to this living legend. For now, you can join other JDC folks in wishing Goldman well.
And Mr. Goldman: If you’re reading this, feel free to write us as many guest posts as you can hammer out until 120.