What’s on Your Bucket List?
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What’s on Your Bucket List?

The frailty of life spotlighted by COVID-19 inspires Jewish Atlantans to consider aspirations previously on the back burner.

Traveling to Israel is still on the bucket list of Barbara and Dick Planer.
Traveling to Israel is still on the bucket list of Barbara and Dick Planer.

From world travel to writing one’s memoirs, putting off for tomorrow what can be done today became a central theme of the COVID-19 global health crisis.

Otherwise known as a bucket list, tasks that may have been postponed in younger years as a result of work or family commitments often come into clearer view as retirement approaches.

The AJT spoke with a few Jewish retirees in Atlanta who are starting to think about their personal bucket lists, turning wishful thinking into action. Their bucket list items range from adventurous and exotic to investigative and legacy-creating.

High Adventure
Norm Mandel, for instance, said his bucket list would be herding buffalo in Yellowstone National Park during the winter months. Years ago, he saw a documentary about buffalo wandering outside the park’s boundaries during the winter in search of food. Once the buffalo were outside the boundaries, they were likely to be shot and killed by local farmers and ranchers. Groups of volunteers during these months on horseback patrolled the borders, herding them back to safety. He told the AJT, “I would love to be a volunteer and help save one or more of these magnificent animals.”

His wife, Anne, said her dream is to work in construction. “I would love to work alongside a crew who are building a house. I would learn and become skilled in all aspects of this work: framing, sheet rocking, installing hardwood and tile flooring, etc. My work would include all interior and exterior parts from beginning to end. All this while not having to climb a ladder.”

The idea came to her when several years ago she saw someone building a brick wall and thought she’d like to try that someday.

Living Out of a Suitcase
Air travel may have taken a dive during COVID-19, but that doesn’t stop Ray Ann Kremer and her husband George Shapiro from wanting “to take a family trip as an adventure to explore cultures around the world,” selecting a country where their children and grandchildren had not yet visited.

Barbara and Dick Planer hope to return to Israel for one last trip when it is safe to travel again. Meanwhile, visiting Australia and New Zealand is on Barbara and Bruce Ribner’s future bucket list.

Using Zoom, Dr. Herb Alperin and his daughter Moose conduct genealogy research together.

Digging Up Family Roots
Dave Slater’s bucket list doesn’t require travel, but genealogy research, a venture that came to him after waking up from a dream 10 years ago at age 65. This retired Cobb County High School teacher told the AJT he kept thinking of his childhood growing up when he had lived with his grandparents. “I wanted to go back to them, to learn about their lives. It hit me – where were my family roots?” So he decided to research his family’s history. “I needed to do this; I felt compelled.” Now he mentors for the Jewish Genealogy Society of Georgia.

Dr. Herb Alperin, a retired pediatrician, and his daughter Moose, who has a doctorate in education, also are genealogy sleuths, fulfilling a shared bucket list to learn about their family history. As recommended by the Genealogy Society, their detective work is currently focused on discovering facts about Herb’s side of the family, instead of trying to tackle all four family lines at the same time.

While bucket lists tend to be fulfilled by seniors in their twilight, they can be created at any age by anyone with a goal. No time like the present to get my own memoir started.

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