Friday, May 06, 2011


On May 6th, 1946, my grandfather (mother's side) celebrated his 25th birthday. May 6th, 1946 was also 5 Iyar. If I'm remembering correctly, at that time he was finishing his service to the United States Army, where just a couple years earlier he was one of the first American soldiers to meet the Soviets face to face. The Soviets forced him and his friend, who were looking for a missing pilot, out of the sky and then they questioned them for a while (apparently the Soviets weren't so sure that a pilot named Friedenreich was in fact American and not German). Once they sorted it all out, the Russian major in charge gave them a ruble while they gave a $5 bill to him; my grandfather noted that the Russian got the much better end of that deal. (Edit: My mom says Army not Air Force, and she never heard the story. But I did. Who knows...!) As the war was ending and for a period of time afterward, my grandfather helped set up refugee areas for Holocaust survivors in Europe (I may be putting that wrong - Ma?). On May 6th, 1946, somewhere in Cleveland, Ohio, my father was born.

On 5 Iyar, 1948, Israel declared its independence, and my father celebrated his second Hebrew birthday. Ever since I can remember, my father likes to note that there are so many people who celebrate his Hebrew birthday which huge festivities. That's good, because we aren't such festive party people in the Goldish family - we just like to see which of us calls first to wish him a Happy Birthday every May 6th.

Today, my grandfather turned 90 years old, while my father turned 65 years old (and is now on Medicare, woo!). I remarked to my grandparents when Elianna and I called them a few minutes ago that 90 is really something, particularly to be in such good shape. They thought that was funny, so I guess that's relative. Elianna noted that after he's 99, he'll turn 100 - they thought that was funny, too, and my grandmother remarked that I told her father the exact same thing when he turned 90 about 25 years ago.

My aunt is planning a birthday party for my grandfather, though it won't be until the summer when my cousins (who are both professors) are available to come with their wives and kids. I just think it's great that my grandparents are, at their age, in a condition (ba'h) where we can plan to have such a party in a few months. Moreover, it will be shortly after my grandparents' and parents' anniversaries - anniversaries #68 and #38. Now that's something.

Maybe even more importantly, when I called my Dad this morning, right after I wished him a Happy Birthday, I asked him if I won - and I had. Nice. :)

Happy Birthday to my father and grandfather - and many, many more.


  1. Happy birthday!

    I've always wondered why people capitalize both words in "happy birthday." :)