At 113 years of age, Mr. Barashi is believed to be one of the oldest patients ever to be treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and one of the oldest Israelis alive today (if not THE oldest). After experiencing a heart attack (which according to his daughter was his first ever) earlier this month, Barashi is recuperating comfortably in the hospital’s Internal Medicine Department. Despite his advanced stage in life, the patient is said to be in excellent health (for his age…) with good eyesight and relatively good hearing requiring the assistance of only one hearing aid. Guests are encouraged to communicate clearly and loudly but Barashi is fully cognizant of his surroundings and speaks with enthusiasm and confidence.
Born in 1900 on the border of Kurdistan and Iraq, Barashi came to Palestine in 1937. For much of his life he worked in the Histadrut (public union) and still lives at home alone after his wife passed away some 40 years ago. Family members prepare him meals but he claims to be able to make omelets without assistance and gets along well on his own. For weekends, he is always hosted with a family member. He has outlived three of his children and four daughters and one son remain alive. His daughter and son in law (a volunteer at Shaare Zedek) say that they long ago lost count of how many offspring their father has but the Barashi dynasty is well into the fifth generation. Just recently the last remaining single grandchild was married. Asked the question he’s undoubtedly heard hundreds of times before regarding what’s his secret to long life, Barashi answers quickly that there’s no secret. Rather he quotes the Torah saying, “Honor your mother and your father, that is the key to long life…” Then he pauses for a moment and says emphatically “B’Yisrael”, In Israel…
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