“LEGACY OF YOUR LIFE”
Why does one write a memoir? There is an old saying that to die without leaving a record is to die without an inheritance. Just as Jewish people are instructed to tell their children the story of the Exodus from Egypt and how they were saved from slavery, so, on a personal level, we should tell our children where we came from and how we got here, to this place in life, wherever it may be.
The task may have been too daunting until now. Chaim Mazo, a well-known Jerusalem publisher, has brought out a journal to help you every step of the way. It takes you by the hand and shows you exactly how to do it.
His introduction “Why write?” explains the importance of leaving a record for your family; and there is also a copy of “My Ethical Will” which I wrote, as a guideline to how you may wish to express yourself in your own memoir.
The bulk of pages in the book are for you to fill in yourself. You don’t have to do it in any particular order or within any time frame. You could just write a page a day in the appropriate section as the memories surface. I am sure it will become a source of enjoyable nostalgia as you go back and recapture the lives of loved ones who may no longer be around… people perhaps whom your children and grandchildren never had the privilege of knowing.
Part I deals with Early Childhood, with pages to write “Facts About My Birth”; “My Childhood” ; “My School Years”, even a place to record the movies , music and dances that you loved.
Part 2 is very important as you record all that you remember about your family and the words of wisdom they passed down to you that have become your blueprint for living.
Part 3, “My Life Today” is an easy section to fill in as you don’t need any research as you write about your marriage, endearing family stories and the proud accomplishments that bring a smile to your face.
Part 4 is the largest and most challenging section, which has space for all the elements that make up your life. Your descendants will want to know about its great moments; its turning points; your regrets and sad memories; people that influenced you over the years. It even has space for you to record your favorite jokes and recipes.
Part 5 centers on stories …. those you treasure; those you’ll never forget; the story of your family name; and stories that you want the children to ask you to tell them.
Part 6 provides a great opportunity to pass on the values and traditions you hope the family will encapsulate into their own lives.
Part 7 is important. Here you explain in “Everyday Matters” the financial situation, your political leanings, the milestones you’ve achieved and the lessons you’ve learned. Finally, Section 8 “The Future” records how you want to be remembered, and what you want to pass on to future generations. After that, there is a place for photos, a visual depiction for all those who love you and care about your life.
Filling in the pages of this Journal, perhaps with the help of children and grandchildren, can be a wonderful bonding experience as they learn what you were like at their age; and they discover facets of your life that they never knew existed.
I believe we all have a responsibility to leave a record of our lives, and this is an easy and accessible way of doing it. It is a book I wish I could have given to my parents, as there must be so much I didn’t know about them. I wish there had been a record of my grandparents’ lives, who all died before I was born.
This Journal will be more than just words written on pages in this fascinating format. It will become a family treasured possession that will keep your memory alive even after you are no longer here. And if you want to publish a number of copies for your family and friends, Chaim Mazo will help you do it in a professional manner. As he says: “Who knows – you may have penned a best-seller ! “ To buy a copy, for $18.95, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you read about his wonderful book on my Blog.
(750 words) ______________________
Dvora Waysman 5 / 5 Karmon Street, Beit Hakerem, Jerusalem 96308 Israel. Tel: 972 2 6513096 e-mail: email@example.com website: