Audio: Meet 98-Year-Old Herbie Selig, Jerusalem's Most Active Senior

The most active nonagenarian in Jerusalem.
2/1/2013, 1:04 PM

A7 Radio's "Life Lessons with Judy Simon" with Judy Simon
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Mr. Herbie Selig was born in the year 1914 in Bavaria. His family had been living in the town of Zeilitzheim, Germany for over 300 years, but by the time Mr. Selig was born, only 14 Jewish families lived there. His father died when he was 13, and his mother became a business woman to support the family. The Jewish children studied in a Catholic school, located on the premises of a Protestant castle.

Mr. Selig tells of visiting his grandparents in their pastoral village across the Rhine river, and about the true respect shown to the Jews by the Gentiles of his town, to the point where the Nazis had to send outsiders to round up the Jews, as the locals had refused the task.

A cousin in America sent for a family member to care for him and the house, but Mr. Selig's mother was hesitant, calling it the "trefine medina". His mother went nonetheless, and wrote to him of her first experiences in America where Jews didn't keep Shabbat in the way to which their family was accustomed. He was 23 years old when he came over the ocean, but his two older sisters did not make it and perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Mr. Selig's astounding memory offers the listener a detailed peek into Jewish life of pre-Nazi Germany. He and his family made Aliyah from Chicago a few months before the Yom Kippur War, and overnight he was forced to manage Bikkur Cholim Hospital's pharmacy. Now 98 years old, he walks an hour every day, weather-permitting. His energy is inspiring, and the details of his story is riveting.

His message: keep a positive attitude and don't let the bad things in life stop you from moving on towards a better future.

Judy Simon is the host of the show Life Lessons and the mother of six children. After almost 20 years of teaching English and special education, Judy now serves as the Beit El Tourism Coordinator, and organizes tours of the site of Jacob's Dream in Beit El. Check out Beit El's website: and "like" the Beit El Heritage Center Facebook page: To "like" the Hebrew page: Life Lessons explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The Life Lessons podcast airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.
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