A Holocaust Survivor’s Story


My best friend growing up, Ellen Jacob, had parents who had both been in the Holocaust. I knew Ellen was very close to her father. Every time I would see Mr. Nebel, he seemed kind, and I liked him.

I was really impressed with some of the things Ellen had at her house. When I would ask her about something, she would say, “Oh my Dad made that.” Even as a silly teenager who wasn’t very materialistic,  the furniture made an impression on me. After watching this video, I realize where he first learned his craft.

Yom Kipper, an important holiday on the Jewish calendar, is coming this week. It’s about forgiveness. It’s a time to forgive others and yourself.

Mr. Nebel passed long ago, and this interview, edited by Ellen, is quite emotional.

You will have to click on the link to get to it. It is worth your time, especially if you don’t know much about the Holocaust. As the years pass, the Holocaust gets

A picture of Holocaust victims from Poland.

A picture of Holocaust victims from Poland.

further and further away from us. It is a cautionary tale everyone should know about.

https://www.facebook.com/ellen.b.jacob/videos/10205049160737263/

 

Pouring beer for the first time!


At the age of 65, I had my first experience pouring beer. I volunteered for the Festival Latino, in Columbus, Ohio.

I reported to my friendly bartender who informed me that pouring beer was not just a matter of putting the beer cup under the keg, and pulling the handle. She showed me the “head” which is foam. Too much head and the customer will feel shortchanged.

There is an art to slanting the cup, waiting for the beer to get almost to the top, and straightening it out. If there is too much head, you can pour it out, and add more beer. It took me all afternoon to get the hang of it. If the foam takes over, it goes down the drain.

I also got to pour a brand from the can. This was much easier, but I still had to slant the cup.

Another bartender, just as friendly and helpful, replaced the first instructing bartender so she could eat some of the fantastic Mexican food.

I asked both bartenders why they did the job. “Like the variety of people, never gets boring,”was the answer. Both ladies were very cool.

The Latino Festival

The customers were great too. It was the Latino Festival. They were all patient with me and allowed me to take their pictures. They even spoke some Spanish to me at my request. (Not everyone was Latino).

And they were happy to pose for pictures. (Donald Trump was not in attendance, thank goodness.)

After pouring beer all day, I went home and drank a can that’s been sitting in my refrigerator for months. (We’re not big drinkers at my house.) It was very tasty. It came in handy too because the Republican debate was on TV.

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A biography by Barbara A. Topolosky


Ruth Stone’s Biography
by Barbara Topolosky
Ruth Stone's Biography

I decided that writing biographies might be a good thing to do for people.

Haven’t you always wanted to know details about your relative’s life. Here’s a chance for you to get those details.

I can scan photos, make a CD of this, or write a book.

If you’re interested contact me at Btopolo5@me.com

The Girls: Women who have been friends for over 66 years!


“The Girls” l-r Top row Ida, Florlyn
Bottom Row: Late Ruth Stern, Ruth Stone

This article originally appeared in The New Standard a Columbus, Ohio, paper. I feel it’s worth revisiting.

The Girls

How many people can say they’ve been friends for sixty-five plus years. Five women in Columbus can say that because that’s how long they’ve been meeting at each others homes. They call themselves “the girls,” although some of them have adult grandchildren and are great-grandmothers.

The girls started in the early 40‘s but nobody is sure of the exact date. Back then, they were young women who had met at school, and Junior Hadassah. Hadassah is the organization that raises money for hospitals in Israel, and is an important part of the Jewish community today.

The original girls were: Florlyn Rinkov Freedman,Ida Wolpert Gordon, Ruth Mathless Stern, Ruth Berliner Stone, and Fanny Shenker Tobias.  Original members who are not longer living are: Miriam Carlstein Goodman, Joan Mathless Hattenback , and Terry Feldman.

The group have been mainstays in one another’s lives, and is like a close family. It’s fun to watch them interact with each other. These women, ranging in age from late 70’s to late 80’s,  light up when they come together. You can see he group dynamics at work, and  can imagine them as young women in Hadassah going to different events together.

We met to discuss their lives together, the Jewish community they knew as young women, and what their friendship has meant to them.The women I spoke to were Florilyn, Ida, Ruth Berliner Stone, and Ruther Mathless Stern.

These women are not typical  little old ladies.” They all  have strong, engaging personalities. Florlyn is the most outspoken, Ida and Ruth Stone have definite opinions, and Ruth Stern is a good listener and only talks when she has something to say. Everyone was stylishly dressed, and still attractive.

It is remarkable that they’ve stayed in contact for so many decades. They’ve lived through many  life cycles together  —young adulthood, marriage, raising children and loss of loved ones. They have been a great support to each other.

The New Standard: How did you all get together?

Ida: We started meeting in about 1945. We were an offshoot of Hadassah. We started meeting in the evening, just to socialize. It was a way of getting out and about. None of us were card players, so we decided just to talk and have a snack together.

Ruth Stone: We really liked each other. We were all single and independent at the time.   Everyone did eventually get married. Some of us moved away and came back. I lived in San Diego for two years, and meeting with the girls was something I really missed.

Florlyn I left Columbus in 1946 to go to the Pentagon to work for the Defense Department.  I came home, and ended my 38 year career in Columbus, and helped raise a younger brother. I was a career gal, and didn’t get married until I was 40. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a rebel. I love meeting with the group.

  Ida:I missed the group when my husband and I were living as snowbirds in Florida.  We lived there for 18 years.  I came back to Columbus for a short while, and now live in Cleveland. My husband and I owned Gordon Jewelers together when we lived in Columbus.

Ruth Stone: We talk to Ida on the phone when we meet.  We’ve been meeting every other Monday or Tuesday for 65 years.

The New Standard: What was the Columbus Jewish Community like when you were growing up?

Florlyn: I imagine there were about 10,000 to 15,000 people.  The Jewish population was all centered in the Southeast and most of us went to South and East High schools. We had a lot more butchers at the time. I remember when my mother bought live chickens. She had to take it to the kosher slaughterer.

All reminiscing:  There was Martins, Mendleman, Briar Center, Bornsteins and Heps. A good deli was Krolls.

Ruth Stone: Our parents kept kosher, and we attended shul on Friday nights.

Florlyn: In my family, we rode on Shabbos. We weren’t allowed to go out with non-Jewish guys in those days. I remember when we went to my uncle’s on Passover, and didn’t come home until it was very late.

The New Standard: What are some of the best times you’ve had together?

Ruth Stone:  We went to Hadassah conventions together. One time we went to Louisville for “Kentucky Derby Day.” We had a terrific time. There were soliders that came over from Fort Knox. We went to a dance with them that night.

Florlyn: It was 1949. I was the only one who had a car. We met other Hadassah people. I remember a regional we went to in Pittsburgh. It was so much fun.

The New Standard:  How have you helped each other through losses?
Ruth Stone: We’re good friends. We maintained our friendship through all these decades. Knowing hou have friends that have been through a lot of the same things is comforting.

Florlyn: It’s kind of a support. We get together every couple of weeks. It’s good to get out and see people who have been through our history.

Ruth Stern:  It’s a good habit.

The New Standard: Is Judaism still as important to you as it was when you were growing up?

All: Yes
Florlyn: It gives me an inner feeling.
Ruth Stone: It’s a comfortable way of life

  Ruth Stern: I enjoy the Sabbath Service

All of them still light Sabbath candles.

The New Standard: All of you are very vibrant women, even today. What do you attribute that to?

Ruth Stone: I am definitely an optimistic person. I don’t want to dwell on bad things.

Ruth Stern: I bowl, keep busy, go to a book club, and don’t watch daytime TV.

Ida: Getting out and trying new things is important. I didn’t know I was good at art until I took an art class,  and now some of my art is being displayed at an art show.

Florlyn: We are a good support system for each other. Good attitude is the most important thing. I exercised and I still want to do it. I know I can overcome obstacles one way or the other. Getting out and meeting people is important, even if it’s the same people! Each day that is behind you can’t be relived. The future has to be better.

*Ruth Stern passed away this year.

To read more of my articles, go to http:// http://www.thenewstandardonline.com. I’ve written in each edition.  Just hit the archive button, and you will find them.

Saying goodbye to a friend, Barbara Perrin


I got the news of my friend’s death through an email. That is now life in the 21st century. In case you may have known her, her name was Barbara Perrin. Maybe you ran across her in the writing community.

My friend wasn’t my closest friend. We didn’t call each other on a regular basis, or go many places together. But, the relationship was getting warmer. She had a subtle sense of humor.

We attended a 3 day writers group together several months ago. We talked and talked in the hotel room. She was really proud of her son.  I felt like I could tell her anything. How many people can you trust like that?

I met her at a  casual writer’s group several years ago. She’d come every week, all the way from Westerville, Ohio to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. I could depend on her walking in every Thursday, getting some coffee, and sitting down at the table in the back of the room.

She was an editor by trade, and edited some things I wrote. It was something you’d expect someone to charge for, but she generously did it for free. I learned more than a few things from her.

She was a kind and gentle person, one who knew how to be tactful and get along with others. She seemed to have all the patience in the world.

Her stories were really different, and she had a wonderful way with words.  Her stories were about different types of things from an angle you wouldn’t expect. They were quite artistic. One of her stories was published in the last Columbus Creative Cooperative, and she was so excited about it. The editors were looking forward to the one she was writing for the Bicentennial edition.

When they didn’t receive it, they kept trying to contact her. Her only son called them, and gave them the news. That’s why I found out about it through email. The editor sent out the news to everyone who belongs to the group.

There was no obituary in the newspaper. She died like she lived, quietly.

Today, I went to the writer’s group where I met her.  Only one other person who knew her was there.  I missed her so much, especially her kind blue eyes. The group, like all things, changes with time. Both of us felt so  sad about her death.

She was missing. And the fact is she’s not coming back. We both kept hoping maybe she’d show up, although we knew it wasn’t logical or possible.

That is what happens when someone dies  They are missing.

Barbara Perrin is in the top row on the right. She’s wearing denim and a scarf.

Rest in peace.

Harmony Project #3


The Harmony project is based in Columbus, Ohio. It’s founder, David Brown, doesn’t just talk about helping. He does it, and finds other people to “pay it forward.” One way we do this is by singing in a choir. It’s 200 voices, and we’re performing on July 18, and 19th at the Southern Theater.

Some people think ending homelessness is a big dream, almost like ending wars. Here is a story about a woman, who works for the Columbus Shelter Board, who sees ending homelessness as a real possibility. Wouldn’t be great if more people cared enough to do what she’s doing? That takes some kind of heart, and she has it.

She’s also a member of the Harmony Project. She likes to sing, and be a part of the chorus too!

Hear her story!

The Harmony Project gives me joy! Stay tuned…


This a wonderful project in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve been involved with it for two years. I get to sing on stages like The Southern Theater, Lincoln Theater, and all over Columbus. The ticket sales raise money for different philanthropic endeavors in the city. It’s great fun, and it definitely brings me joy!

Next, we get to sing with The Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

The person narrating the video is David Brown, the leader of this whole project. It’s been a terrific experience. He is like the Pied Piper!

Watch the video. It’ll tell something about this project. This is a series of videos. This is the first one. Please share!