On a brisk, sunny coming-of-fall day in upper Michigan rumors of an assault on the Eastern Seaboard by Hurricane Irene filter through to my retreat in the north woods together with an actual communiqué from my predecessor, Richard Hannah, providing fascinating news about two of our classmates and reminding me of the larger world out there to which I must inevitably return with summer’s end. Although I am only 35 miles from Canada, today I am sharing news from Israel and Latin America.
Jon Gershovitz reports from his home in Mercaz Shapira, Israel, that he is “working, retired and safe.” As an undergraduate Jon hailed from Larchmont, New York, majored in psychology at Dartmouth and subsequently got an M.S. in social work. “I have been practicing since 1964,” he writes. For 12 years prior to retirement in 2006 he worked at an old-age home with 70 sheltered living apartments and 30 nursing beds. As a founder of the facility he was instrumental in defining the social work role from the start and “had the opportunity of encouraging people to think about and tell their life stories, to become active in their new community and to help the rest of the staff understand some of the more unpleasant or weird behavior of our oldies.” In retirement Jon continues his social work about five hours a week at a 14-bed nursing home at a moshav (town) about five minutes from his house. He adds, “I am the oldest member of my staff and considered eminently wise by my colleagues. I do the best I can not to disabuse them of their opinion.” Jon is also a writer and translator. His current and most challenging project is translating from Hebrew into English his wife Yehudith Bar-Yesha’s recently published book on Hasidic stories. With regard to personal safety, Jon admits he has lived through some very scary times (especially the suicide bombings of 1995 through 2004) but says that thanks to improved security measures and a variety of other factors “things are much, much more peaceful than they have been for years.”
Bill Wolfe, an undergraduate economics major from Eastchester, New York, and a Tuck M.B.A., now lives with his wife, Jan, in Chittenden, Vermont. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Bill has devoted much of his time recently to helping others abroad, most specifically children with serious medical issues from Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries. In 2002, Bill formed the American Amistad Foundation, which he initially financed with his own funds and later with donations received from individuals, service clubs and churches. He gives freely of his time and talent and spends more than 100 days each year in Guatemala helping to purchase or find donated prosthetics, wheelchairs and walkers, medical supplies, medicines, clothing, shoes, school supplies and toys for children in need. Bill was twice recognized, in 2004 and again in 2007, with a Volvo for Life Top 100 Heroes Award for his international humanitarian efforts.
Two wonderful stories! Be sure to come back to our 50th reunion next June and share your own life story with old friends and classmates.
—Jim Haines, 307 Sewickley Ridge Drive, Sewickley, PA 15143;(412) 741-9088; email@example.com