Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dark Side

I first learned about the suicides on the Israeli side of the Zinshtein family after my first visit there in 1967. They were all cousins and aunts and uncles of the same family, a family I had spent time with at the age of 14 while attending high school in Israel.

Later I heard it said that there was a relatively high suicide rate in Israel, and took it as a truism until I sat down to write this post and decided to verify that. It turns out that Israel's suicide rate is actually among the lowest in the world and half that of the U.S.

The Israel Zinstein I mentioned previously (the one with 7 wives) had a son named Max Siegel who came to American in 1900. He became estranged from his wife and daughters and eventually committed suicide.

I had never heard that, but when I mentioned it to my mother, she remembered that she had heard about it from my father.

The Zinshtein descendents in Israel who died by their own hands included one of my own generation. There were at least two--with two additional family members whose accidental deaths appear to have been suicides as well.

Fortunately, I know of nobody else in my extended family who took their own life, nor do I know of any friend or acquaintance who did.

I never knew any of those Israeli cousins well enough to know what possibly motivated them nor has that information ever been shared with me.

My next quest is to identify who is the real "black sheep" in our family, and you can be sure when I do it will appear here (though, perhaps, with the name changed to protect the innocent!).

Until next time...


No comments: