Crossing the River

Posted by Linda Cantor
The Jewish Genealogical Society (NY) will hold a meeting on Sunday, May 17 at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY (between 5th and 6th Avenues).
The Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at CJH will be open 12:30 to 1:45 PM for networking with other researchers and access to research materials and computers.
The book, Crossing the River, is both a personal memoir and a valuable historical resource. Against the backdrop of Lithuania's occupation - first by the Red Army, next by the Germans, and then again by the Russians - it is a story reflected through the prism of a sharp-eyed young child, Shalom Eilati
His story starts in the occupied Kovno Ghetto and ends with his flight across the Soviet border, through Poland and Germany and finally, his arrival in Palestine. The adult survivor, while recalling the terrorized child that he was and how he then perceived the adult world, also takes stock of his present life. Throughout the memoir, Eilati attempts to reconcile his present life as a husband, father, scientist, and writer, with the images, feelings, and thoughts from the past that have left an indelible mark on his life and that continue to haunt him.
Shalom Eilati, born in 1933 in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, was the son of Israel Kaplan, a teacher, historian and author, and mother Leah (nee Greenstein), a nurse and poet. In 1941, he and his family were imprisoned in a ghetto created by the occupying Germans. In 1944, at his mother's initiative, he escaped from the ghetto alone. He survived the ghetto (as did his father) and reached Palestine in 1946.  
He was a member of Kibbutz Tel-Yosef, earned a Ph.D. in the cultivation of citrus fruits, and became a lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University in Rehovot.  Later he was among the founders of Israel's Environmental Protection Service, and coordinating editor of Cathedra, a quarterly on the history and settlement of Israel.  He is married with three children and five grandchildren, and lives in Jerusalem.
Mr. Eilati will be available for book-signing in the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Bookstore and Gift Shop following the meeting.

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