2014 has been a wonderful year for me. I had only one acting job. I was in the series DOCTORS which went out in June. But I went on 4 unforgettable trips overseas. In January I went to visit my precious friend Mrinalini, now age 96, in Ahmedabad in India. As always, staying with her nourishes my soul and lifts my spirits. It is a place that is so exciting and creative and beautiful. She and her family and my Ahmedebad friends gave me a warm and loving welcome. I try to go every 2 years, so I sincerely hope that Mrinalini and I are both well and bright enough for me to go again in 2016!
Here I am with Mrinalini in her glorious garden
With my lovely godson, Aniruddh Peter, named after my Peter
In March I went to Israel for the wedding of my grand-daughter Esther, known as Esti. While I was there, in collaboration with the Israel National Library, I purchased, in a New York auction, the handwritten manuscript of my grandfather, Myer Joel Wigoder, of his memories. It is being translated into English so that all the family can read it. As always when I go to Israel in the winter, I came home with a very bad cold!
The bride Esti with me
Haddasah, my eldest great-grand-daughter
In Haifa wth some of the children
THE BALTIC COUNTRIES
May and June I went on one of the most moving and important trips of my life. I went to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of them historic and very beautiful. I have always wanted to go to Lithuania, as my father was born there and my family lived there for generations. Dad was carried out as a baby of 3 months old, and I may be the first of the family to visit the places where my family lived and they left by 1892.
My Grandfather was born and grew up in a village called Wexna and research has uncovered where they lived and studied and worked and played and were buried. You might imagine how moved I was to see it, touch it, smell it. A strong connection with my ancestors. Then to Laizovo, where my Grandmother was born and grew up. When they got married my Grandmother's father insisted the young couple live with them for the first 5 years. Through a local researcher I learned that the house is still standing. Derelict, but still there! And I stood on the very spot where the house stood which my Grandfather bought when they could move away from his in-laws, and where they lived when my father was born. I was able to walk the street where they must have walked to the Synagogue.
I went to the Jewish cemeteries in both towns, so stood where the family are buried. My nephew Meir asked me to take video pictures everywhere. So I do not have many pictures to add to this but I want everybody to know about it. As well as the places of general interest, I saw many important places of Jewish interest. The whole trip made a deep impression on me and I shall never forget it.
Typical wooden houses as in the villages of my forebears
Castle in a lake in Lithuania
Our hotel in Vilnius
The ninth fort, Kaunas (Kovno). Memorial to the hundreds of thousands murdered here.
The last overseas trip of 2014 was in September to Turkey. My nephew Meir and I spent 6 days in the Golden Key hotel on the Datcha Peninsula, and it was paradise. Situated in a forest 6 kilometers from a main road, running through the hotel and under the bedroom balconies is a small, quiet river with swans, ducks, fish---surrounded by trees and blossoms, birds all around. I have already booked to go back next September with friends. A 10 minute boat ride away is the sea to swim, sunbathe and a restaurant for lunch.
Then we went across the bay to Mazi to join my other nephew, Shimshon, with his partner and 3 children of 25, 21 and 2! A small, simple family hotel next to the sea. Meir and I had a joint party for our upcoming 60th and 90th birthdays! We had such a happy week together.
The Golden Key. Meir and I on our way to the sea
On my balcony over the river
Driving along the coast of the Datcha Peninsula
Sunset on the way back to the hotel
Mazi. About 8 kittens in the open air dining area
My great-niece Talya
My great-nephew Itamar
My great-nephew Yoel
Shimshon and Itamar at the party
Miri, Yoel, Shimshon, Talya and Itamar
I consider myself a very very lucky lady. I am off to a beautiful hotel on the Sussex coast for Christmas with a group of dear actor friends. And I am full of plans for next year.