This investigation into the lives of a group of elderly Jews living in Venice, California, establishes correlations between their ethnic heritage and rituals and their acceptance of physical hardship and approaching death
When noted anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff received a grant to explore the process of aging, she decided to study some elderly Jews from Venice, California, rather than to report on a more exotic people. The story of the rituals and lives of these remarkable old people is, as Bel Kaufman said, "one of those rare books that leave the reader somehow changed." Here Dr. Myerhoff records the stories of a culture that seems to give people the strength to face enormous daily problems -- poverty, neglect, loneliness, poor health, inadequate housing and physical danger. The tale is a poignant one, funny and often wise, with implications for all of us about the importance of ritual, the agonies of aging, and the indomitable human spirit.