Miami (February 2, 2016) – Targum Shlishi is supporting Toldot Yisrael, a Jerusalem-based organization that records and shares the testimonies of the men and women who helped found the State of Israel. The unedited oral histories produced by Toldot Yisrael form an extensive archive that is used by scholars, educators, and documentary filmmakers. While Toldot Yisrael is well-connected with museums and archives throughout the country, a recent agreement to house the interviews in Israel’s National Library will make them even more widely accessible.
“Toldot Yisrael’s mission is a noble one—recording and preserving our history is of paramount importance. However, time is running out,” notes Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director. “There are still many key figures from the founding of the State of Israel whose testimonies have not been recorded. We intend for our support to help the organization to realize more interviews with key figures on an expedited timeline.”
Toldot Yisrael’s oral histories range from two hours to twenty-six hours long, often recorded during multiple interview sessions. The first part of the interview typically covers events pre-1948, including personal memories, the individual’s childhood and home life, aliyah to Israel, and more. The bulk of the interview focuses on the period up to and including the War of Independence. The final portion focuses on post-1948 experiences.
Toldot Yisrael notes the urgency of the project. In 2007, when the organization was founded, there was a pool of 120,000 interview candidates; more that 75 percent have passed away since then, and it is estimated that one in seven interview candidates will not live through the coming year. The goal of the organization has been to record 1,000 interviews.
“In large part our objective derives from the paucity of firsthand accounts of Israel’s 1948 generation,” notes Aryeh Halivni, founder and executive director of Toldot Yisrael. “Although the Jewish community has done a wonderful job of documenting testimonies of Holocaust survivors, until recently there was no effort made to record the stories of those who witnessed and were part of Israel’s founding.”
Targum Shlishi’s support is covering eight interviews with the following individuals:
Zeev Hirschberg – Haganah, involved in Brichah immigration
Yaakov Michaeli – Etzel member
David Oved – fought in Haganah, family traces back to 2nd Temple period in Palestine
David Rubinger – fought in Jewish Brigade, Israel Prize–winning photographer
Rivka Shamai – served in Lehi, was imprisoned by the British
Rachel Sokel – member of Kibbutz Massuot Yitzhak in Gush Etzion
Aviezer Ya’ari – Haganah, IDF General, former head of the IDF’s research department
Yosef Yekutieli – member of pre-State Iraqi underground
About Toldot Yisrael
Toldot Yisrael is a Jerusalem-based nonprofit dedicated to recording and sharing the firsthand testimonies of the men and women who helped found the State of Israel. Since 2007, Toldot Yisrael has been interviewing the members of Israel’s 1948 generation in order to capture and preserve the epic story of Israel’s founding before it is too late. So far, the organization has interviewed more than 850 of Israel’s founders and recorded over 3,000 hours of powerful and unique footage. Toldot Yisrael’s aim is to conduct hundreds more – while it is still possible. For more information about Toldot Yisrael, visit its website at www.toldotyisrael.org/en/.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Aryeh5.