Hand in Hand Productions

Excerpts from

A Traditional Jewish Woman's Odyssey,
Mrs. Elsie Weisman’s Oral History

Part I -

My name is Elsie Weisman. My name was Weisman before I got married, so that’s my middle name. Elsie Weisman Weisman. They are pronounced differently, but spelled the same. I was Wisssman [phonetic] before, and I became Wiseman [phonetic] after I got married. My husband and I are related to each other.

I am Elsie Weisman Weisman.

My legal name is Elsie. My mother gave me a Jewish name of Hessel. I choose Esther as my Hebrew name. I wanted a Hebrew name. And Hessel is a boy’s name, and Elsie is not a Hebrew name it’s American or English, whatever you choose to call it.

In my parent’s family, I'm the only one that ever retained any kind of Jewishness or religiosity. I belong to Beth El; I've been a member there for about fifty years.

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Saint Paul, Minnesota

Elsie with daughter
Judi Marshall

I don't feel special. I don't. I feel like I'm an ordinary person, I'm me, I'm Elsie Weisman. After my husband died, I said: I'm no longer Mrs. Maurice Weisman, I'm Mrs. Elsie Weisman. That's what I am, okay. I'm Reina's, Judi's, Irwin’s Mother, but I'm still Elsie. That's what I am.

I was born April 30, 1911.

I came from a very humble beginning.

I got married because I wanted to have a home,
I wanted to have children.

I raised my children myself. So, I made a lot of mistakes. Parenting it’s not easy. I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes, but the love and caring and respect that I get from my children it’s wonderful.

I’m a homemaker; I have been one since I was 24 years old.

Most of my compliments as a homemaker come for my skills in the kitchen.

I like to bake, it’s one of the things I am good at, but I am not just about cooking and baking.

When I get stressed I yell, that’s how I let out stress.

I'm always reading.

I’m a classical music buff.

I do love to travel. I spread my wings and flew.

I consider myself a traditional Jewish woman.

I’m a bridge player, not a card player.

I’m Jewish, and I’m very Zionistically inclined.

I feel I am very much a part of Israel.

I'm just a middle class lady.

I take care of myself financially, it isn’t a lot, but I do it.

I am very definitely pro-choice

I leaned toward the Democratic Party

I pride myself that I have good friends who were college graduates and I only went to high school. And we are mutually compatible

I don’t care if it’s the best man in the world; I am not interested in getting married again. You know I’m glad I can take care of myself.

I am, a tough old bird.

Only my body feels ninety years old. My mind doesn't feel that old. I keep asking myself where did the years go? Where did they go?

I'm just grateful that I get up every morning.

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