New project creates books out of people’s life stories

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In August, the Jewish Community Center will present those books to each participant.

LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – A new Life Story Project is giving people in the local Jewish community the chance to have their life stories turned into a book

“We have, it’s between three to five meetings. We sit down and we start off with their parents, grandparents, young childhood, when they’re growing up, and we work our way through,” said Liz Lehman, who does the writing and interviewing for the project. 

Over the course of 10 weeks, Lehman interviews participants, asking them questions about their childhood through their adult lives. Then, she transcribes those stories into a book.

In August, the Jewish Community Center will present those books to each participant. 

“It makes them be proud about their life,” said Shay Erez, of the Jewish Federation. “In Israel, it’s very popular.”

Erez started the project and picked up Lehman from AmeriCorps Vista to assist. 

Those who receive their life story book can choose to share it with friends and family, or keep it for themselves. 

This is the first year of the project, and there are 11 participants taking part.

Florence Mirkin is one person who is having her story written. She said she’s very excited to see the outcome. 

“I’m very curious to see what this will turn out to be. I’m very honored that I was asked to participate,” she said.

Mirkin was born on January 19, 1927. She grew up in Youngstown and is a mother of three. She recalled big moments of her life — like the day she met her husband. 

“When Joe came to pick me up, he came in a big Cadillac and a big hat… That was in October, and we got married the following June… We would have been married 53 years,” she said.

“It’s made me realize that it’s really important to talk to my parents and find out about their stories,” Lehman said.

Erez says the plan is to do this every year until they reach as many as 50 books every summer.

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