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These Bubbes and Zaydes Can Tell You How To Live Great Lives

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When it comes to living long, happy lives, nobody knows more about it than our grandparents. But do we listen to them enough? Jewish filmmaker Sky Bergman wants to make sure we do. 

Lives Well Lived is an adorable new documentary coming out today, April 20th. The movie, inspired by her Italian-American grandmother who recently passed away at 103, features life advice and stories from 40 people who have lived long, full lives. 

Much of the advice in this documentary is what you’d expect —  follow your passions, don’t be fearful, stay active, and so on — I  learned so much from hearing the how these amazing elders faced way adversity.

Some of the things most of the subjects of the movie have in common: a propensity for hard work, for seeing a glass half full, and a consensus that it is never too late to follow your dreams.

One of the more moving stories is that of Jewish couple Paul and Marion Wolff, who were both born in pre-World War II Germany. Paul’s father, a World War I veteran, felt more German than Jewish and didn’t worry about Hitler’s rise. That changed on Kristallnacht, when Paul’s father was incarcerated along with other German Jews during that awful night. That was when he made arrangements to get his family out of Germany; they eventually made it to San Francisco when Paul was 9.

As for Marion, who was born in Berlin, she was on the Kindertransport from Vienna in 1939, which helped rescue Jewish kids from Nazi-occupied countries. She traveled to England by herself as a 9-year-old girl.

Both Paul and Marion have made it a mission to tell their stories of survival. As Marion says, “We’re not going to be here for that much longer, and who is going to tell our story when we’re gone?”

Yet, despite their trials and tribulations, Paul and Marion have an amazing vitality and sense of humor. “The accomplishment I’m most proud of: surviving 54 years of marriage,” Marion tells the camera.

Watch the trailer for this delightful movie, and find out about future screenings here:

Lives Well Lived trailer from Sky Bergman on Vimeo.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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