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January 16, 2014 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-01-16

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Pauline and Harold Tischler with their new ketubah.

Tale Of Love

After 70 years of marriage, couple
enjoys new ketubah to replace lost one.

Laurie Tischler Beals
Special to the Jewish News


n the spring of 1943, a darling
young woman accepted an engage-
ment ring from her handsome
suitor. Unfortunately, there was no one
to make a wedding for them, so they
decided to elope.
On July 18, 1943, this self-reliant
24-year-old woman by the name of
Pauline Sanders, boarded a train
in London, Ontario, expecting that
her fiance, Harold Tischler, would
meet her in Toronto where they had
planned to be married. As she once
told her three granddaughters: "If your
Grandpa had disappointed me, I would
have gone on to Buffalo to visit my
Well, Grandpa was indeed waiting
at the station, dressed in his Royal
Canadian Air Force uniform. They
took a taxi to the home of a rabbi who
performed the marriage ceremony
and presented them with a plain, but
meaningful ketubah. The witnesses
were members of the rabbi's fam-
ily. From there, the couple went to
Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.
In 1955, the young family moved
from Canada to Detroit, where Harold
worked as a manufacturer's rep and
Pauline enjoyed retail sales, especially
the book business, until they retired in

18 January 16 • 2014

1986. They are the wonderful parents
of Gaye Tischler (Frank Castronova)
who reside in Ferndale, and this writer,
Laurie Tischler Beals (Robert Beals) of
Fort Collins, Colo. They are also Nana
and Grandpa to three granddaughters
and two great-granddaughters.
On one of my many trips to visit my
parents, my father happened to come
across the ketubah in his legal files and
showed it to me. I had never seen one
before. Forty-seven years ago, my hus-
band and I respectfully blended our
different religious backgrounds when
a justice of the peace tied a very strong
knot, so we don't have a ketubah.
I was very taken with the word-
ing that expressed the vows between
a husband and wife and told Dad
I would like to take a copy of the
document the next time I was in
town. When I asked to do that during
another visit, my father said that the
ketubah was somehow missing. He
said it would not be possible to get a
copy of it as it wasn't registered in the
same way that a civil marriage license
would be. I was saddened for their
loss and decided to follow a course of
I called our synagogue, Congre-
gation Har Shalom in Fort Collins. The
gift shop did not sell them, but Rabbi
Shoshana Leis (who is the co-rabbi
along with her husband, Ben Newman)

was captivated by my idea to some-
how replace the ketubah and said
she would be happy to sign off on it
as the officiant.
I remembered a larger temple in
Denver (where I would buy all of
our Chanukah supplies during the
early years of our marriage spent
in the Denver area) and called
their gift shop. Again, ketubahs
were not an item that they sold;
however, one lady offered to ask
the cantor to see if he happened to
have one in his possession. As luck
would have it, the very kind cantor,
Joel Lichterman, of the BMH-BJ
Congregation, made a ketubah
available to me.
Incredibly, my parents' anni-
versary date is the 18th, which
means chai (life) and donations
are accepted in increments of $18.
I was thrilled to make a donation
and sent a postage-paid envelope
for it to be mailed to me.
Our 9-year-old granddaughter,
Kaela Beals Newman, and I were
the witnesses. I then met with
Rabbi Shoshana, who not only
signed off as the officiant, but also
filled in all of the Hebrew words to
match the English side of the docu-
Additionally, she wrote a special
message in the corner: "Thank
you, God, that we have arrived at
this special moment:' As I pulled
away from the synagogue, my eyes
were filled with tears of joy. I could
hardly wait to present this special
gift to my parents for their 70th
anniversary. They proudly signed it,
and I framed it, along with words
from the Song of Songs.
In a perfect feng shui setting,
those two framed documents hang
on a wall directly across from my
parents' bed. A picture of them
as they were 70 years ago com-
pletes the grouping and it is the
first thing they see each morning
when they open their eyes. They
reside in Southfield at The Park at
In October, my parents turned 92
and 95 years young, and our entire
family is so proud of their longtime
marriage and commitment to one
another. We're all glad that Dad was
at the train depot in Toronto all
those years ago. However, this sweet
story does have a punchline.
My father has a wonderful, dry
sense of humor and when Mom
told our daughters how she would
have gone on to Buffalo, Dad inter-
rupted to say: "Your grandmother
did not realize that Toronto was
the last stop; the train didn't go to
Buffalo!" Father knows best.

Digs In To His

ii jp

P. Dessel is an archaeologist and
a professor — and yes, he even
wears a hat — but he insists he is
nothing like Indiana Jones. Nevertheless,
while the hero of Raiders of the Lost Ark
led a life of adventure; Dessel, who has
participated in excavations in Israel,
Turkey, Egypt and North America, often
deals with controversy.
"Whenever I have encountered ancient
burials on an archaeological site [in
Israel], we have to
rush to get them
out," he said. "Or we
just avoid excavat-
ing them for fear the
religious parties will
shut us down"
Religious Jewish
groups in Israel that
have claimed such
excavations desecrate
Jewish graves are not
J.P. Dessel
the only ones at odds
with archaeology.
Palestinian groups
oppose discoveries that point to the exis-
tence of a historical Jewish presence. At
the same time, those with commercial
interests are eager to exploit archaeologi-
cal finds to promote tourism.
Dessel will be speaking about his
experiences excavating in Jerusalem on
Sunday, Jan. 21, at 4 p.m. at the University
of Michigan's Frankel Center for Judaic
Studies, 202 S. Thayer St., Room 2022,
in Ann Arbor. His lecture is called "The
Archaeology of Jerusalem: Filling the
Space Between Nationalism, Religion and
Capitalism." He will explore how scholarly,
nationalist, religious, political and com-
mercial agendas intersect and compete
when archaeologists in Jerusalem unearth
sacred relics.
"I want people to get a better sense of
the uses and misuses of archaeology in the
political realm," Dessel explained. "But I
also want them to appreciate that when it
comes to archaeology, it is not just about
politics, but also commercial interests,
especially tourism. In Jerusalem, all of
these agendas are at play on a very big
Dessel is currently the Louis & Helen
Padnos Distinguished Visiting Professor
in Judaic Studies at U-M. He also is
the Steinfeld Professor of Near Eastern
History and Archaeology at the University
of Tennessee in Knoxville. He specializes
in the history and archaeology of the east-
ern Mediterranean and the ancient Near
The event is free and open to the public.


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