Grandma Julie, blessed be her memory, was born in Mumbai, India in 1931. After she married Hanoch, they considered emigrating to Israel.
They arrived in Israel in 1962, having already two children: Abigail, who was then five, and Mordechai who was three (he passed away later at the age of 25).
After arriving in Lod, they were transferred to Yeruham.
Grandma Julie, who was pregnant at the time, went to Soroka Hospital to give birth. She gave birth, on a Saturday in August 1962, to a beautiful and healthy girl, and even breastfed her during the first day. The following day Julie was notified that the girl died. Julie struggled with Hebrew, but asked and demanded to see the baby girl. The medical staff refused to show her. When her husband Hanoch arrived, he too asked to see the baby girl, the body, and they wouldn’t let him. He started to get angry and to make a scene to get them to bring her, but they kicked him out of there.
My grandmother and grandfather returned empty handed and this incident hit them hard. This story hurt my grandmother and grandfather a lot, and my grandmother told us, that grandfather finally died from the grief that resulted from the incident, and the difficulties and suffering in the country.
In India, grandfather was a martial arts’ instructor and also a Judaica craftsman. He created many beautiful things. We still have his handmade menorahs.
In Israel, he didn’t manage to make a proper living, and Grandmother, who knew how to sew, and in India was a sewing teacher at the Jewish school, worked as a seamstress and managed to bring money home. The fact that she had to work, and that he wasn’t successful in doing so, was very difficult for my grandfather.
To the next child after her, Jacob, Grandma Julie preferred to give birth at home and not at the hospital, because she was afraid. Although she gave birth to him at home, and since he was born underweight, she took him to the hospital to be examined. As soon as she could, she returned home with him.
After the girl disappeared, Grandma Julie could not trust the doctors and modern medicine, and she preferred to feed Jacob and care for him according to traditional methods that she knew from India. Hanoch, her husband, died a few years later. While Julie was breastfeeding her little girl (Leora, who was born after Jacob), he went into cardiac arrest and died.
They lived then in Moshav Tzafririm. Grandma Julie went on to talk about the difficulties in the periphery, and about the challenges she experienced as a young widow with four kids. The brother Mordechai, who was very attached to dad, to Hanoch, became paralyzed and handicapped, and had a very difficult time. Welfare arrived and recommended that Grandma Julie transfer him for treatment during the week to another institution, so that it wouldn’t be hard for Julie to raise everyone, and indeed during the week he was in ALYN in Jerusalem. Grandma Julie cared for him and would visit him there and he also would come home for Shabbat. Eventually he died of pneumonia.
Grandma Julie, who experienced such suffering and difficulties, always encouraged her children, and implored them to be unified. She knew that the hard days would pass, and they would be happy.
In the final year of her life, she was in the Bulgarian nursing home in Rishon LeZion, and we had the opportunity to document her and the family in March 2021.
To our great sadness, two and a half months after our documentation meeting, Grandma Julie passed away. She was 90 years old. She left behind two daughters and a son, 13 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Throughout her life, she never forgot the daughter who was taken from her in Soroka Hospital, and until her last day she remembered her, and reminded the family what had happened.
Gili Dandenker, Julie’s granddaughter
Julie struggled with Hebrew, but asked and demanded to see the baby girl. The medical staff refused to show her.
After the girl disappeared, Grandma Julie could not trust the doctors and modern medicine, and she preferred to feed Jacob and care for him according to traditional methods that she knew from India.