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June 05, 2007

The Invisible Wall

The Invisible Wall

Harry Bernstein was born in 1910, on a narrow street in a small English mill town. He was just a child when World War I broke out, but he remembers it vividly. Many young men left to fight and never returned. When their families got word, they poured into the street to grieve and be consoled by their neighbors.

It was one of the few times Harry can remember that the Jews and Christians on his street came together. The rest of the time, they lived in strict separation - the Jews on one side of the street, Christians on the other. Harry came to see the self-imposed divide between them as an invisible wall.

Now 97, Harry Bernstein has written a book about his childhood memories of that street. He describes being bullied by Christian kids coming home from school, spitting on the ground when he passed by churches, and doing his best to protect his sister Lily when she fell in love with a Christian boy.

Harry joins Dick from his home in Brick, N.J. to share some of those stories. He also talks about the love of his life, Ruby. When he lost her a few years ago after 67 years of marriage, Harry found that writing, which had always been a struggle, suddenly came easier and helped him get through his sadness.

Ahmed's Diary

It has been a long time since we heard from Ahmed Abdullah. He has been under a lot of stress. His family is under a lot of stress. He is trying to work, and that means being on the street. But as we hear from Ahmed, being on the street these days may be no more dangerous than staying close to home.

What should I write about? The death, the fear, or the lack of hope. Maybe I should write about waiting for my turn to die. And thinking all the time of the way I am going to die. Will it be ugly? Or just a normal death. Am I going to be tortured? Or burned?


Your Story - I Hear You

Ruth Miller was first diagnosed with severe hearing loss before she was two years old - and it got worse. She got her first hearing aid at age six, but her hearing continued to deteriorate until she became completely deaf. Still, Ruth was never part of the "deaf community"- her parents brought her up to function in the "mainstream world" and she never learned sign language. 

In 2003, Ruth had a cochlear implant. She joins Dick to talk about what it was like to hear for the first time.

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