Tag Archives: Guinness World Records

Jew of the Week: Israel Kristal

Israel Kristal, World's Oldest Living Man (Credit: Guinness World Records)

Israel Kristal, World’s Oldest Living Man (Credit: Guinness World Records)

Izrael Icek Krysztal (b. 1903) was born near Zarnow, Poland to an Orthodox Jewish family. At the young age of three he started his studies at a religious school, and by six was already well-versed in Biblical and Talmudic knowledge. He survived the First World War as a teenager, despite the fact that his father had been drafted into the army, and his mother had passed away. After the war, he and his father reunited, and settled in Lodz where they opened up a candy shop. Kristal married and had two children. It wasn’t long before another World War broke out, and Kristal’s family was sooned moved to the Lodz ghetto, where both of his children died. Some time later, he and his wife were sent to Auschwitz, then transferred to several other labour camps. When the camps were liberated, Kristal weighed just 37 kilograms. Tragically, his wife didn’t make it, and neither did anyone else in his extended family. Starting anew once more, Kristal remarried, and made aliyah to Israel in 1950, where he has lived ever since. He continued working in his profession as a confectioner, first at a candy factory, and then from his own home. Last week, Guinness World Records confirmed Kristal as the world’s oldest living man (in addition to his previous recognition of being the oldest living Holocaust survivor). He is now nearing his 113th birthday. Still devoutly observant, Kristal says he hasn’t missed a day of laying tefillin for over 70 years, since the end of the Holocaust. He has nine grandchildren, and many more great-grandchildren. When asked what one should eat for a long life, he said: “There wasn’t always food in the camps. I ate what I was given. I eat to live, and I don’t live to eat. I don’t need too much. Anything that’s too much is no good.”

UPDATE: Sadly, Israel Kristal passed away in August of 2017.

Words of the Week

I don’t know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why…
– Israel Kristal

Jew of the Week: R.L. Stine

Giving You Goosebumps Since 1986

R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine

Robert Lawrence Stine (b. 1943) began writing when he was nine years old, having discovered a typewriter in the attic of his Ohio home. His writing career took off with a series of humourous children’s books by “Jovial Bob Stine”. At the same time, he created the popular humour magazine Bananas, which ran for 72 issues between 1975 and 1984. But it was in another genre that Stine really lit up the literary world. In 1986 he began writing horror novels and soon after launched the most famous series of horror books of all time: Goosebumps. Between 1992 and 1997, R.L. Stine published an incredible 62 Goosebumps novels (with over 100 additional spin-off volumes in subsequent years), selling over 400 million copies and making him among the wealthiest authors in the world. He was named America’s number one best-selling author by USA Today. Among many other awards, Guinness gave him the world record for best-selling children’s book series of all time. Goosebumps was translated into 32 languages, and became a hit TV show that ran for four seasons. It also spawned three video games. Along with his humour and horror books, R.L. Stine has written adult fiction and science fiction. An equally famous series of books are R.L. Stine’s Fear Street, with over 100 titles published. A prolific writer, few know exactly how many books Stine has written, with estimates ranging from 300 to 500 books, or even more – perhaps another reason why Stine was on People‘s list of the world’s “Most Intriguing People”.

Words of the Week

Nothing is life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
– Marie Curie