Interview with Bina Diamond
- Judaism in our home was the holidays; that was the spirit of Judaism to us. It was our historical holidays and I think the same today. I am carrying it now to my children and grandchildren. It is more a way of life for us than a type of religion.
- I always remember my grandmother saying it isn't God's fault. Nothing is God's fault. It is human, it is human people's fault. God didn't make good or evil. God made human beings to serve him in a certain way spiritually.
- Historically, politically and culturally we (jewish) were faced with enormous restrictions-we were not allowed in early historical periods to own land. Our response-we developed our brains. You want that for your children and your grandchildren. I want them to know about our people, our culture. We held to our own beliefs instead of encompassing other people's beliefs. This is what holds a person to a path, what enriches it and what you want to pass on.
- I look up and there was the most beautiful white dove I have ever seen in my life. She is looking right at me and Doreet. Very quietly I say, Doreet, look up, look up It was as if she had appeared from nowhere because all you could hear was flapping. It was so quiet, you only heard the wings flapping. The dove materialized from thin air.
Ann: We are talking on Judaism. In what spiritual tradition were you raised?
Bina: Wonderful question, because it will be a very difficult to answer in which spiritual tradition, because that doesn't mean: Reform, Orthodox or Conservative. So the answer is none.
Ann: None of the above?
Bina: None of the above. We were brought up at home that Judaism was a way of life. We were brought up during the war years, the second World War, which was in Palestine-Israel. It was very, very rough times.
God did not come into it too much.
Ann: God did not come into it?
Bina: God did not come into it much because there were so many things that we had to worry about. When I say, we had to, it was my grandmother, my mother and my aunts. Not my father or uncles; they were all gone. All the men were not there.
Ann: They were at war?
Bina: Yes. Judaism in our home was the holidays; that was the spirit of Judaism to us. It was our historical holidays and I think the same today. I am carrying it now to my children and grandchildren. It is more a way of life for us than a type of religion. I believe that there is a God. If you call it God, you can call it whatever you want-spiritual, spirit. Whatever you want but there is something that is above us that is holding us together-my thinking, my theory. If you call it God of our fathers it is fine with me. I am not a particular Jew. I am not labeled Reform, Conservative or Orthodox.
Bina: I don't even know if I am very spiritual as far as I am concerned. People say I am. Obviously, I have thought about this a lot.
Ann: And am moved by it.
Bina: I am very much moved by it. If "spiritualism" is Judaism, then I am moved by it. I can believe in my religion more so than any other religion because it makes sense to me, unfortunately it is a suffering religion, because of prejudice, and the demonstrations of anti-semitism through the ages. And it has a very intense philosophy, a basis of all that is right and wrong.
Bina: Very intense. To be a good Jew, you have to be, as far as I am concerned, you have to have passion, and love of humanity.
Bina: That's what Judaism means to me.
Ann: How many years have you followed this tradition?
Bina: All my life.
Ann: And how old are you now?
Bina: I am about 14 and a half years old, going on 65.
Ann: 65. So the whole time?
Bina: The whole time.
Ann: Have you ever lost faith at all with the tradition?
Bina: I have never lost faith because, I think my faith, is inborn. It is part of my genetic makeup.
You call it faith. I am not sure if I can call it faith.
Ann: So what would you call it?
Bina: I don't know-that part I am not quite sure. It is the honesty of it all. When I see a room full of orthodox-the Hasidim, I get very moved. I take my hat off to them because they are the true believers of our religion. They believe in every aspect of our religion-630 laws.
We have 630 written laws, which are called "the Code of Jewish Law" (Shulchan Aroch)-the Prepared Table. It was written in the 1500's. I believe, since the 16th century, they haven't added one law to it. Laws cover washing your body, cleanliness, food, thieves, how to treat animals, business, partnership, marriage and divorce. Every part of a logical thinking is in the Shulchan Aroch. The Hasidim believe, if everyone will follow the 630 laws, the Messiah will come back.
Ann: It will be for everyone in the world?
Bina: For everyone in the world-for everyone. I get excited because I can see that these people really and truly know Judaism. I think I know Judaism as well, but they really are ensconced with their religion. The way they dress, the way they eat, the way they marry, the way they divorce. Yes, even divorce. There is divorce amongst them as well. I get a very warm feeling when I am with them, and I also snicker that in the 21st century they live like this.
Bina: When I go to Schul (the word has the same meaning as Temple or Synagogue)-I usually don't go to Synagogue unless I go with my children because-I want to show them, particularly my grandchildren, that I want them to be inculcated in this religion and not necessarily be Orthodox or Conservative or Reform. Rather, be human beings. Be "Mentschen". Have you heard of the expression-to be a Mensch? It is a wonderful word, to be a "Mensch".
Ann: To be like a dear heart?
Bina: A person. A real person is a "Mensch". A H-U-M-A-N, that is all I want them to be. If they are a true person, God is with them.
Bina: Whatever it is
Ann: Whatever you want to name it?
Bina: Exactly, whatever you want to name it.
Ann: How old are your children? Do you have boys, girls?
Bina: I have one son who is 38, or-he will be. And I have a daughter who is 44. She has two daughters, 16 and 12. My son has two boys, 8 and 4.
Ann: And have they married Jews?
Ann: They have.
Bina: They both married Jews and it was very interesting. When my son was going out with a non-Jewish girl, he looked at me one day-she was a lovely girl-he looked at me and said, "Don't worry Mommy. I am not going to marry so and so." And I answered, "Did I ask you?" He said, "No, but I know you."
Bina: He said, "I know what I feel like. I feel like a Jew." But what does it mean? What does it mean, "I feel like a Jew" I asked. "It's your traditions Mommy, and it's my traditions now. And that is the way I was brought up. To be a person." He used the word "Mensch". "I want to be a Mensch. Don't worry, I am not marrying a non-Jew. I will be marrying a Jewish girl."
Ann: And are they Orthodox or Reform-your son and daughter-in-law?
Bina: Very Reformed.
Ann: And your daughter and her husband?
Bina: No. My daughter tends to be religious where her husband-my son-in-law-couldn't care less. I think if my son-in-law would be inclined to be more religious, they would have a strict kosher home and so on and so forth.
Ann: Interesting to see how the generations.
Bina: Yes. Yes. I am so proud of them.
Ann: And how about the grandchildren?
Bina: Well, it is the same thing. My daughter's children went to a Jewish school beginning with nursery. They are observant more than I am. However, Friday night-either in my house or my son's-we have a Shabbat (blessing of the candles, wine and bread) dinner. It is not necessarily because of the religious requirement, rather, the gathering together of the family. The whole family gets together Friday night. In my daughter and son-in-law's home every Friday night-the four of them and always with friends-have a Shabbat dinner with all the traditional customs.
Ann: A lot of people?
Bina: A lot of people-every Friday night.
Ann: What a beautiful tradition.
Bina: Yes. That is a tradition that was very strictly followed in my house as my kids were growing up. My husband was Greek Orthodox but we didn't follow that religion at all.
Ann: Have you ever studied any other spiritual path/s?
Bina: I was not interested.
Ann: Not interested-okay. So what have been your spiritual heroes or heroines? Who have been your teachers? You may not have ever met them, it may have been something that you read or even a piece of music or something.
Bina: I did not expect that question at all. You know who I think was the most influential person-my grandmother.
Ann: Your grandmother?
Bina: Yes, who was spiritual.
Very, very spiritual. She was 100 percent Jewish in every way except she did not follow the Orthodox rules. She thought it was nonsense, all of that. But she believed in the words of the Bible. She used to read the Bible and she would read it to me at night time; of course, between bombs or between whatever. It was fine. It was our time together.
Bina: It was as if it was a way of life with us, particularly in the war years.
Ann: And how old were you then?
Bina: I was born in 36-December of 1936. I was only three when the war started, and living in Israel. I was not aware of it until the 1940's when reports started coming out of Europe. She would take me every Friday, after school, to see the newsreels with her.
I never heard my grandmother or my mother, for that matter, say, where is God in all this?
Ann: They didn't? No?
Bina: I always remember my grandmother saying it isn't God's fault. Nothing is God's fault. It is human, it is human people's fault. God didn't make good or evil. God made human beings to serve him in a certain way spiritually. And that was it. That is the way my grandmother believed. That very much influenced me-that God should not be blamed for anything. When people say, what was God or where was God and God made me sick and so and so forth. It has nothing to do with God. I am using the word God because I cannot think of any other word. I don't like, the term my significant other used one day-"The Dear". "The Dear" what?
Ann: I know.
Bina: It doesn't mean anything.
Ann: It doesn't mean anything?
Bina: Unfortunately, the word God is very strong to my thinking. It is a very strong word.
Ann: Is there any divine female? Is it a masculine term?
Bina: I have no idea. It could be a woman.
Ann: It could be either or?
Bina: It could be either or.
Ann: Or both and?
Bina: Or both and. Absolutely, It could be either or.
I love the Jewish holidays. I think every one of our holidays, and I meant to bring a reference book here, has a lovely tradition. I presume that is what is meant by being a "traditional Jew". The Jew who loves tradition? I love our holidays because every holiday has a historical meaning. There is only exception, maybe when God gave us the Torah. Go prove it was God. You can't prove or disprove it. But whatever, whoever came down from the mountain, if it was who authored it-brilliant! It is a brilliant piece of work.
Ann: I see. How old is that?
Bina: About three thousand years. You know, there are two ways of calculating the passage of time in the Bible. When they said Methusela was 900 years old and Moses was 120 or 160 whatever, years were calculated differently than we do in today's modern calendar.
The Jewish calendar, which is much older, is a "lunar" calendar. Some years there are 13 months, some years 12 months.
Ann: Any other heroes besides your grandmother? Heroes or heroines?
Bina: Of course, my mother. I don't have religious heroes or heroines.
Ann: They can be just worldly heroes. They don't have to be religious figures. The question is, what is it that has directed your life?
Bina: I didn't expect this question. I am not sure how to answer it. I have to think about it.
Bina: I have had heroes in my lifetime. Who pushed me? Both my grandmother and my mother were my heroes. There is no two ways about it. They really molded me.
Ann: How about in school?
Bina: I had a wonderful teacher. Yes, I did. When I was in Jerusalem at the Elementary school, called Gemandia Rechavia. She was my first grade teacher. I shall never forget her as long as I live.
Ann: What was so special about her?
Bina: She instilled in me a love of reading, and to read everything and get to know everybody. She was an Atheist. She was also, by the way, responsible for starting in Israel a new method of teaching people how to learn Hebrew quickly. It's called ULPAN. If we would use this ULPAN for people who want to learn any language it would be brilliant. I'm not sure what the method is but when people come to live in Israel, they have to learn Hebrew.
Even today, when I go to Israel (I have two girl friends that I am still in touch with) we sit down and we talk about her.
Ann: Great power.
Bina: She had tremendous power. I also had a teacher in Australia that was a great power and another in America. Both were in literature-literature, with a capitol "L". This is all about reading. The way they explained things and how they were directed in their lives to becoming teachers. Shlomit, was the name of the my first and second grade teacher. I remember sitting at her feet. She would always allow me to sit at her feet because I was so besotted with her and every word was, to me, a pearl.
I have a little story to tell about this. In 1982 I was in Israel, but wasn't living there as yet. I was at the Hilton Hotel and I hear someone saying-"Bina?", with a question mark. "Bina?" I am looking around and have no idea who is calling me. And I notice this lady calls me and she motioned-gesturing with her hand.
Ann: And she recognizes you after how many years?
Bina: 42-No, 44?!
Ann: 40 years. So she recognized you?
Bina: Yes. She said the eyes.
Bina: She said you were walking around "looking". (I was looking around for my mother.)
Ann: So you see how intense that teacher was that she bonded at that level.
Bina: There was also a spiritual man now that I think deeply about it. He was a Russian immigrant who came to the United States, lived in Palm Beach and became a Rabbi. We only knew each other for a very short period of time. By coincidence, a well known radio personality in California named Dennis Praga, met the young man in Russia when he was about 20. He got the papers for him to come to this country. When he got to know Dennis Praga, he decided, I want to be a Rabbi. He became a Rabbi in a Conservative Synagogue and, although he was a Rabbi, he was a rebel.
Tremendous Rabbi. We talked about religion quite a lot when I was in Florida. I knew him for just under two years. I enjoyed the way he taught. Although he taught in the Conservative Synagogue, he wasn't of the approach; you must do
this because God said such and such and you must do this because it is our laws.
It was all very empirical. It was wonderful. He influenced me to look at teaching in a way I'd forgotten totally until I started talking to you.
I don't have a "teacher's certificate". I am not a formal teacher. But I love teaching. And that is what I hope to be to these kids to whom I teach Judaic history and Hebrew. I teach our history because our history is our religion. Some people would say probably that is total garbage but to me our history is our religion, and if we would know our history, we likely wouldn't behave the way that we do or do bad. Our Jewish history-the Torah, is strictly historical books. It is not, from my perspective, a solely or totally "religious" book. Although it does purport to record what God says-every second word is "Adonai Eloheinu", you can separate the historical parts.
Moses, took us out of Egypt. Abraham, is our father-one of our fathers. We don't know how, if God stood somewhere and actually said these things. I don't know how these events actually happened, but from archeological perspectives and so on and so forth, we know it was three thousand years ago.
Ann: And how does it, it must have been pretty profound for all those to move, because, although some were slaves, some were living in some comfort.
Bina: They were all slaves by then because the Pharaohs made them slaves. They were not slaves before.
Ann: They were not slaves?
Bina: No, but they were not Jews either. They called them Jews, but they were different. There were three or four different names. They actually became Israelites after Moses came down from the mountain and smashed the fatted cow, the golden calf, because we are not allowed to have images, we are not allowed to have idols and such. That is when our religion started and the 40 years in the desert makes perfect sense to me in order to have a couple of generations die so the Jewish religion could be born or reborn. Born or reborn.
Ann: Cause you are separated from the old and established order.
Bina: Separating from the old and evolving into the new which Moses gave us by way of the "Ten Commandments".
Ann: And the harshness of the times induced people to bond together?
Ann: Absolutely. Because if things are easy, people can wander off easily.
Bina: We still tend to do this. We, as Jews, we still tend to do this. When there are terrible problems in Israel-we become one. I always say that the Arabs are very foolish. If they would leave us alone, we would probably have killed each other off because we are very affectionate, and very argumentative. Although the Torah tells us that we can argue and we argue in the sake of Heaven, the Bible and intelligence. When you get five Jews in a room-there may be only five people in the room-but there will be five different opinions plus another sixth.
Bina: Opinions-that's the way that we are. It is also another "genetic trait" as far as I am concerned.
Ann: And cultural too?
Bina: It's very, very cultural.
Ann: Very cultural.
Bina: We have to argue. In a Seder at Passover, we are not supposed to just sit there and eat and read the history, we are actually suppose to "argue" about it-discuss meaning. When we go to the synagogue, more so in the olden days, they would go there and they would have screaming matches with each other. They still do it in the Yeshivot-the Yeshiva (Jewish University)-the ultra orthodox Yeshiva. You should hear them screaming at each other-over one sentence. They can spend a month interpreting one sentence. We are interpreting it all the time according to Jewish Scholars. That is part of the religion that I do like. I shouldn't use the word "religion", because we are talking about the Jewish history.
Ann: Yes, we are talking really about your past.
Ann: But is there a conclusion? You never come to a conclusion so you are always open minded?
Bina: Always open minded to find another answer. Maybe it wasn't written in such and such a year, maybe it was written many years before and somebody interpreted it this way today or we interpreted in the RASHI BOOK. Rashi was a very famous Rabbi in the 10th century who added commentary to the whole Bible-added it to the actual words were written in the Bible. Every section, every sentence was considered to make it more accessible for someone to read. The Torah is usually one book, about four inches thick. Rashi's version, his commentaries, expand it to be 12 books.
Ann: He really drew it out?
Bina: Yes. If someone is a Talmud/Torah pupil of the bible, Rashi would be the first version they would read. It was so incredibly brilliant the way it was interpreted and illuminated. It is a very, very well known interpretation of the Bible. I think he may have originally been from Spain. By the way, Jews mostly lived around the Spanish areas at that point in time. Spain which was large and tolerant until 1492 and the Inquisition-the Spanish Inquisition, when Queen Isabella said, all the Jews out. Because of Queen Isabella, every Jew had to leave Spain or become a Morano. Moranos were Jews who converted to Catholicism. In Spanish, the word Morano means convert or convesos. They were silent, at home very, very secretly Jewish. They kept all the Jewish laws, but on the outside they were convesos.
Ann: They were Catholic?
Bina: They were Catholic.
Ann: Think of the strain on the mind to do that.
Bina: Absolutely. The moment they were found out, the whole family would be destroyed, would be killed. This was 1492 and what could the Jews do, where could they go? They had no idea who would take them. Wherever they went, they would either be thrown out or killed. They were persecuted. Most of the Jewish people either went to North Africa, to Greece, some to Italy, and many to Holland. Holland accepted them. Very few went to England.
Ann: And Germany? They must.
Bina: Later on Germany. Later the Jews went to Germany. Look what's happening today in France? Historically, what I know about Judaic "history" is what keeps, my "spirit". I don't know a better word to use.
It keeps me being so Jewish in spite of the world. We are still here, and I am awfully proud of that.
Bina: And what we have become, what we have achieved. The other day someone asked-actually, it was one of the older children in class. They asked me about the Arabs and the Israelis, the Jews-what each had done, accomplished in the world at large. I turned around and said, "Give me some examples of some scientific or brilliant modern thing that happened in the last 50, 60-let's say even 100 years-that originated in or came from the Arab world, the Arab culture. A scientific discovery, a medical discovery, a space/outer space discovery-whatever you can think of. No one could think of anything. Neither could I.
Instead of just building things-Jews build minds. This is what Jews do. Yes, we build schools, but more so we build an education, push ourselves to the limit as far as we can developing a mind. And that's how we were able to become such a strong nation. That people are frightened of us-it is because of our brains, because what we think. Maybe it is so, maybe it is not. But, if you look at Nobel prize winners, proportionately by world population-Jews are enormously well represented.
Ann: It would be wonderful if you could list some of that information. I don't think people necessarily know that.
Bina: I know they don't.
Ann: That would be really helpful.
Bina: Historically, politically and culturally we were faced with enormous restrictions-we were not allowed in early historical periods to own land. Our response-we developed our brains. You want that for your children and your grandchildren. I want them to know about our people, our culture. We held to our own beliefs instead of encompassing other people's beliefs. This is what holds a person to a path, what enriches it and what you want to pass on.
Ann: So you were different? And that is how you held your wealth rather than in land?
Bina: Exactly. All these things-dynamics-particularly the brain, humor, laughing at oneself, the value of intangibles is something that we had developed centuries ago. The humor of life-Sholem Alecheim. You know who that is?
Bina: No? Probably one of the greatest humorists, Yiddish storytellers.
Ann: I've certainly heard the name.
Bina: He lived in the mid-to-late 1800's, in the Ukraine. He wrote anecdotal stories that were absolutely brilliant and funny. We've always had the knack of laughing at ourselves which I think is also what kept us very together, close. That's my spirit. When you came up with the "He" word (points at the ceiling) at the beginning of this conversation. I still don't quite understand that but what I am describing to you is my spirituality.
Ann: It is what?
Bina: It is what I believe. It is what forms my life.
Ann: Right-what forms your life. So here is a whole other type of question.
Can you site any profound spiritual experiences that have come from either birth or sickness or death, your religion or your sense of the divine, or a sense of protection, outside of just being human? I am sure there is family that comes to mind and things like that, but something that is beyond?
Bina: The only thing that I can tell you that was beyond anything that I ever saw or believed, not believed-but saw-experienced, was after my mother died.
When my mother died, I was like a broken piece of china. We were extremely close. This conversation that we are having together today is not something that is new to me. It is a conversation that I used to have with my mother. Wise old bird. Funny, very peculiar, beautiful.
Bina: Oh, absolutely beautiful.
Ann: And how old was she?
Ann: Oh, so she lived a good long life.
Bina: When she died, as I said, I didn't want to live. I would have jumped in the grave with her.
Ann: Really, that close?
Bina: Yes. She died on a Monday night. She was not buried until Thursday because we buried her in Jerusalem. There was a particular cemetery she wanted to be buried in overlooking the seven hills of Jerusalem. So, of course, we did that. The next night, on Friday (Every week she and I had dinner together on Fridays)-I cried an enormous amount all those five days, but especially that Friday when I got to the Western Wall (Wailing wall)-the famous Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Friday night, as usual, it was absolutely empty. There are no religious people there because it is Shabboth and you have to be home at sundown. Observant people don't go there after sundown Friday. We got there at midnight. We had had dinner at my mother's home in Jerusalem, which was very difficult dinner for me. I don't remember eating anything but I remember there was a big crowd and I said to my sister-in-law's sister, "Doreet, I have got to get out of here, from this apartment. I can't bear it, get me out." She said, "What do you want to do?" I said, "I want a bottle of Arak." You know what Arak is?
Bina: It is the Arab equivalent to Anisette. The Greeks call it Ouzo. It becomes milky white when mixed with water. It is very potent. They bought me the bottle of Arak. I said, "Now I want to go to the Western Wall." I sat there and I was screeching. I was totally drunk. Screeching with agony and suddenly I look up and there was the most beautiful white dove I have ever seen in my life. She is looking right at me and Doreet. Very quietly I say, "Doreet, look up, look up!" It was as if she had appeared from nowhere because all you could hear was flapping. It was so quiet, you only heard the wings flapping. The dove materialized from thin air. By the time I quieted down and sat down again, I suddenly look up in the sky and see "Mommy". I saw her in the dove and I said, "Okay, that is where you are."
Ann: Yes. Yes..
Bina: The white dove came down and it was one of those things where they fan open their back tail feathers.
Bina: And I looked up. I said; "You may go now Mommy". After that, I could never go there. It was months before I could go their again.
Ann: It takes time.
Bina: That to me was such a symbol of my mother coming and saying, "You can do this now. You can let go." That is probably, if I can say it, the most spiritual experience for me.
Ann: Because it was out of the realm.
Bina; It was for me, it was totally out of my realm of reality.
Ann: It was a beautiful thing that happened.
Bina: Yes! The other thing that occurred quite a few years later. It happened to my son and I. We were sitting outside his home in Great Neck, it was his first born's first birthday. He was very melancholy. Until today, he misses his father even as I miss my mother after so many years. For him, it's been about nine years. The same thing happened! A white dove came and sat next to him. We were trying to shoo it away, and Bradley said to me, "Mommy, your mother just came to visit". "No, it was Daddy! Coming to visit on his first birthday." I said. My son, is much more spiritual than I am. That event is something I will never forget as long as I live. I am sure there are many other things that have happened to me spiritually-which you would call "spiritual".
Ann: And you might use another name?
Bina: I might have another name for it.
Ann: But, profound?
Bina: Profound. Did it change my life? I don't know.
Ann: It's like at an awakening moment.
Bina: An "awakening moment".
Ann: It doesn't change your life because you still had to mourn your mother's death.
Ann: It doesn't make it okay, but it somehow is bigger than just every day being.
Ann: Have you ever experience a time where you were just on the edge of despair?
Bina: (laughing) ---Last night.
Ann: Again, part of the human condition.
Bina: Edge of despair? I was actually, about nine years ago The edge of despair was where I decided to get into bed for four months and wouldn't come out.
Ann: That's definitely despair.
Bina: Yeah. Absolutely did not want to come out of bed. I used to get out of bed literally only to go to the grocery store so I would have maintenance. I knew that without food I couldn't live but I wanted to obviously live, because I didn't want to die. I needed to just "stop".
Ann: Just stop.
Bina: That was very difficult until one day I said enough is enough. I am not going to get any better and I went to a doctor and I said to him that I needed a pill. And he put me on an anti-depressant. It was a horrible few months. Actually, it was a horrible eight years because I didn't do anything that I liked. I didn't care. I knew that Florida was not for me and I had to get out. In retrospect, I would say that I lost nine years. That was despair.
Ann: But what was it that moved you out of it? I mean because we all go through it. Just the human condition. There is death, there is loss of work, there is loss of a loved one.
Bina: I don't know what got me out of it. I just had to get out of bed-I had to.
Ann: Something in your spirit?
Bina: Something in my body said, "Bina, enough is enough, don't be so selfish."
Ann: Yes. Just do it.
Bina: Right. I can't say that it was the spirit that moved me, I can't say that God moved me, I can't tell you all these clichés. I can only tell you that I got up.
Ann: You got moved.
Bina: I got out of bed one day-and I lived.
Bina Diamond says:
This information, curiously, came by way of a friend's accountant.
Jews make up only 2% of the total world population or 14.1 million people.
The Contribution of the Jewish People to civilization in the manner of Nobel Prize Winners
1910 - Paul Von Heyse 1927 - Henri Bergson 1958 - Boris Pasternak (declined) 1966 - Shmuel Yosef Agnon 1966 - Nelly Sachs 1976 - Saul Bellow 1978 - Isaac Bashevis Singer 1981 - Elias Canetti 1987 - Joseph Brodsky 1991 - Nadine Gordimer
1911 - Alfred Fried 1911 - Tobias Michael Carel Asser 1968 - Rene Cassin 1973 - Henry Kissinger 1978 - Menachem Begin 1986 - Elie Wiesel 1994 - Shimon Peres 1994 - Yitzhak Rabin
1905 - Adolph Von Baeyer 1906 - Henri Moissan 1910 - Otto Wallach 1915 - Richard Willstatter 1918 - Fritz Haber 1943 - George Hevesy DeHeves 1961 - Melvin Calvin 1962 - Max Ferdinand Perutz 1972 - William Howard Stein 1977 - Ilya Prigogine 1979 - Herbert Charles Brown 1980 - Paul Berg 1980 - Walter Gilbert 1981 - Roald Hoffmann 1982 - Aaron Klug 1985 - Herbert A. Hauptman 1985 - Jerome Karle 1986 - Dudley R. Herschbach 1988 - Robert Huber 1989 - Sidney Altman 1992 - Rudolph Marcus 2000 - Alan J. Heeger
1970 - Paul Anthony Samuelson 1971 - Simon Kuznets 1972 - Kenneth Joseph Arrow 1975 - Leonid Kantorovich 1976 - Milton Friedman 1978 - Herbert A. Simon 1980 - Lawrence Robert Klein 1985 - Franco Modigliani 1987 - Robert M. Solow 1990 - Harry Markowitz 1990 - Merton Miller 1992 - Gary Becker 1993 - Rober Fogel
1908 - Elie Metchnikoff 1908 - Paul Erhlich 1914 - Robert Barany 1922 - Otto Meyerhof 1930 - Karl Landsteiner 1931 - Otto Warburg 1936 - Otto Loewi 1944 - Joseph Erlanger 1944 - Herbert Spencer Gasser 1945 - Ernst Boris Chain 1946 - Herman Joseph Muller 1950 - Tadeus Reichstein 1952 - Selman Abraham Waksman 1953 - Hans Krebs 1953 - Fritz Albert Lipmann 1958 - Joshua Lederberg 1959 - Arthur Kornberg 1964 - Konrad Bloch 1965 - Francois Jacob 1965 - Andre Lwoff 1967 - George Wald 1968 - Marshall W. Nirenberg 1969 - Salvador Luria 1970 - Julius Axelrod 1970 - Sir Bernard Katz 1972 - Gerald Maurice Edelman 1975 - David Baltimore 1975 - Howard Martin Temin 1976 - Baruch S. Blumberg 1977 - Rosalyn Sussman Yalow 1978 - Daniel Nathans 1980 - Baruj Benacerraf 1984 - Cesar Milstein 1985 - Michael Stuart Brown 1985 - Joseph L. Goldstein 1986 - Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini] 1988 - Gertrude Elion 1989 - Harold Varmus 1991 - Erwin Neher 1991 - Bert Sakmann 1993 - Richard J. Roberts 1993 - Phillip Sharp 1994 - Alfred Gilman 1995 - Edward B. Lewis
1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson 1908 - Gabriel Lippmann 1921 - Albert Einstein 1922 - Niels Bohr 1925 - James Franck 1925 - Gustav Hertz 1943 ̂ Otto Stern 1944 - Isidor Issac Rabi 1952 - Felix Bloch 1954 - Max Born 1958 - Igor Tamm 1959 - Emilio Segre 1960 - Donald A. Glaser 1961 - Robert Hofstadter 1962 - Lev Davidovich Landau 1965 - Richard Phillips Feynman 1965 - Julian Schwinger 1969 - Murray Gell-Mann 1971 - Dennis Gabor 1973 - Brian David Josephson 1975 - Benjamin Mottleson 1976 - Burton Richter 1978 - Arno Allan Penzias 1978 ̂ Piotr L. Kapitsa 1979 - Steven Weinberg 1979 - Sheldon Glashow 1988 - Leon Lederman 1988 - Melvin Schwartz 1988 - Jack Steinberger 1990 - Jerome Friedman 1995 - Martin Perl
Other contributions of note made by Jews both in America & the world;
The words on the base of the Statue of Liberty... "Give me your tired, your poor..." were written by Emma Lazarus
One of baseball's greatest pitchers -Sandy Koufax
One of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, head coach of the legendary Boston Celtics, who won a record eight consecutive World Championships -Arnold "Red" Auerbach
One of the greatest sportscasters of all time -Howard Cosell
Recognized as the greatest magician of all time -Harry Houdini
The entertainment pioneer who helped make TV the institution it is today -Milton "Mr. Television" Berle
Recognized world-famous artist/painter -Marc Chagall
Miss America 1945 -Bess Myerson
The leader of the women's rights movement, which pioneered the concept that women receive the same pay as men -Gloria Steinem
The person who co-founded and was the first President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) -Samuel Gompers
Polio vaccine was developed by -Jonas Salk
Founder of Psychoanalysis, and Clinical Psychology -Sigmund Freud
The 20th century figure who most shaped our understanding of the universe -Albert Einstein
The man who first advanced that theory at the Supreme Court regarding a right to privacy from government intrusion -Louis Brandeis
Major contributors to the Broadway Theatre - Rogers and Hammerstein, Neil Simon, Arthur Miller, and David Mamet
Major contributors to world of 20th Century music/film and entertainment- George Gershwin, Isaac Stern, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Rubinstein, Yitzchak Perleman, Yasha Heifetz, Sir George Solti, Fritz Reiner, Yehudi Menuin, Andre Previn, Benny Goodman, Herb Alpert, Stan Getz, Daniel Barenboim, Bert Bachrach, Barbara Striesand, The Marx Brothers, and the Three Stooges (Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis Jr. were not born Jews... but the they did decide to convert to Judaism).
The man who directed the movies "ET", the Indiana Jones series, and "Jurassic Park" -Steven Spielberg
Two of the World's greatest tennis players -a Greek named Pete Sampras, and Boris Becker (3-time Wimbledon champ /1985-86,89)
Noted comedians (in addition to the entertainers already mentioned)- Adam Sandler, Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Jerry Lewis, Rodney Dangerfield, Jackie Mason, Carl Reiner, Jerry Stiller, George Burns, Freddie Prinze, Alan King, Jon Lovitz, Howie Mandel, Richard Lewis, Jack Benny, and Don Rickles
The man who in a major way helped finance the American Revolution (a friend of George Washington) -Chaim Solomon, of Rhode Island
Many of the psalms from the Bible were written by the Jewish ruler -King David Rumor has it that Jesus Christ was a Jewish Rabbi and, in fact, "The Last Supper" was very likely a celebration of the Jewish Passover Seder ritual meal.
And last, and certainly not least, "God Bless America" was written by Irving Berlin
Bina teaches Judaism and Hebrew in Long Island, NY. She is deeply involved in passing her Jewish traditions onto the next generation.