One story behind the age changes #general


I have seen many messages telling of Jewish women who
lowered their ages and men who increased their ages, or
vice versa. First of all, one must remember that few
Jews ever had their births and deaths recorded with
authorities, especially in Eastern Europe. The Russians
and Poles probably didn't care.

Most Jews, being Orthodox, followed the Hebrew (Jewish)
calendar. Thus, my mother would tell me that he
birthday was sometime around Purim. The year was the
year of the "great snow". Over time, her birth date
varied >from the 1st of March to the 30th of April. The
year fluctuated >from 1898 to 1901. When she died, we
had to arbitrarily pick one of the public records,
Social Security, as the "official" date.

Ages were also conveniently "moved around" to
accommodate a "shidach" (arranged marriage). If the
bride needed to be younger, so be it. Or, if the groom
needed to be younger or older, that was O.K. too. The
only thing that they had to be careful of was that the
bride and groom were not first cousins. Even this
became a problem, because people were driven
from "shtetel to shtetle" as the Czar or Cossacks went
on rampages (Pogroms), or anti-semitism became so
threatening, as in Poland, and especially Galicia, that
flight was imperative. Thus, family ties were lost, and
later it was found that indeed first cousins did marry,
albeit unknowingly. This may well explain some of the
genetic diseases common to Jews of Eastern
European "origin".

I hope this doesn't add "fuel" to the "problem". I had
intended to enlighten people on the subject.

Bernie Auerbach

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