All his life, Ezekiel Nieto Benzion has been an avid listener--highly prized by the talented storytellers in his family. His favorite memories were the hours spent with his grandparents—all immigrants from Eastern Europe—who told wonderful tales about their adventures in the old country and in the new one while "kibitzing" over endless games of gin rummy or pinochle or while drinking many "glasses" of tea.
As the stories reached their climaxes, narrators often switched to Yiddish, to spare the tender ears of "das Kind"—the child. Everyone would roar with laughter or shake their heads in sympathy at the end of the tale, inspiring young Ezekiel to learn the language to understand their secrets.
Eventually his grandfather gave him his most prized possession—the 200 year old journals written by a distant forebear, Judah Halevi. Throughout the journals, Ezekiel found codes and puzzles leading him on research adventures to uncover the truth of the mysterious doctor's life. What he learned forms the structure of the tales in the series from "The Judah Halevi Journals." In writing the books, Ezekiel proudly follows his family's tradition—telling the stories of the old country to a new generation.
For more information about Ezekiel and the stories he tells, and to join into the conversation, go to TellingOurTales.net.
Other posts by Don Gingold
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