Nonagenarians reminisce

Israel Prize laureate David Rubinger and Post archivist and historian Alexander Zvielli, reminisced about the Israel of their youth.

April 19, 2015 20:53
1 minute read.
Nonagenarians reminisce

PHOTOGRAPHER AND Israel Prize winner David Rubinger (left) poses with ‘Jerusalem Post’ chief archivist Alexander Zvielli. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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The common complaint of older people these days is that no-one wants to listen to them, but that was not the case Sunday when members of The Jerusalem Post editorial staff sat in rapt attention as two nonagenarians, Israel Prize laureate David Rubinger and Post archivist and historian Alexander Zvielli, reminisced about the Israel of their youth – a land to which the Austrian-born Rubinger and the Polish-born Zvielli came before the establishment of the state.

As it happens it was also Zvielli’s 94th birthday; Rubinger, a former Post photo editor but much better known as a long-time photographer for Time magazine, will be turning 91 in June.

Each was asked to what he attributed his longevity.

Zvielli, who is still working, said that he goes swimming four or five times a week, spends 25 minutes each day on the exercise bike, and walks for half an hour.

Rubinger, who is going to South Africa next month for an exhibition of his photographs in Capetown, is less energetic, but said that so long as someone has something to look forward to, they keep on going. The rest, he said, is “mazal, mazal, mazal.” Mazal, or luck, he said, is a very important commodity.

Photographers and aspiring photographers in the room wanted pointers, and Rubinger several times during the conversation stressed the importance of archives, which are not so much a record of the past as a resource that may be needed in the future. Sometimes what may appear to be the most unimportant photo becomes the most important, he said.

Asked about what constitutes a good photo, Rubinger replied that a good photograph does not have anything in it that does not belong.

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