Niece Of Golda Meir Left A Legacy Of History

Countian Immigrated With Her To Israel

March 12, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

When Jacob Bauman's wife, Judy, died last December, she left her husband and daughters a rich legacy of Israeli history.

The niece of Golda Meir, former Israeli prime minister, Judy immigrated to Palestine in 1921 on a ship known as Israel's Mayflower.

"Judy was not a name-dropper," says Jacob Bauman, sitting in the living room of his Severna Park home, surrounded by pictures of his wife and Meir. He says she and Meir were very close, and being relatedto Israel's prime minister brought the Baumans in contact with celebrities like former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In 1971, Meir threw a party for the survivors of the SS Pocahontas, the ship on which she and Judy Bauman arrived in Palestine. About 20 people and their families came to the party to reminisce about the early days of Israel's history.

"When Judy got there in 1921, Tel Aviv was nothing but sand dunes," recalls Bauman. "The city was just 11 years old, and living was very primitive. Screens on windows were unheard of, for example."

Meir lived with Judy and her family in Colorado during 1913 and 1914, after running away from her home in Milwaukee because her parents wouldn't let her attend high school.

"They had old-world ideas about a woman's place being in the home," says Bauman."But Goldie had other ideas."

She took the train to Denver and lived with her sister Shayna Kornwald, brother-in-law Samuel and niece Judy while attending two years of high school.

Meir later creditedher time in Denver for the formation of her political views. The home's kitchen was a gathering spot for neighborhood intellectuals, whose talk often centered on hopes for a Jewish homeland.

"Those talk-filled nights in Denver played a considerable role" in her social awakening, Meir wrote years later. She changed her mind about a teachingcareer, formulating goals which led her to Palestine and the position of founding mother of her country.

The house in Denver recently was renovated and placed in a historic park by the Auraria Foundation, affiliated with the University of Colorado. Bauman and his wife attended the ceremonies as guests of honor.

Judy Bauman was by her aunt's bedside when she died of cancer in 1978.

"Judy admired her strength the most," says Bauman. "How Golda held up all those years. She had lymphoma for 15 years and nobody knew about it; she would go tothe hospital for treatment after midnight."

That strength was also an integral part of his late wife's character, says Bauman. A graduate of the British Government Hospital school of nursing in Palestine, Judy Bauman returned to the United States in 1937 for post-graduatestudy and became a surgical nurse.

"She did not want people to respect her because she had connections," says Bauman. "She wanted themto value her for who she was, herself."

The couple married in 1942 and would have observed their 50th anniversary this month.

Bauman was a civilian engineer employed at the Naval Ship Research and Development Laboratory in Annapolis before he retired in 1969. He then taught school in Anne Arundel County.

The Baumans moved to Israel in 1974, ostensibly to retire, but leisure didn't last long; Bauman worked for a seawater de-salinization company. Judy volunteered with the Red Shield of David, similar to the Red Cross.

They returned to Severna Park in 1982, where she was active in the Hospice of the AnneArundel Medical Center.

The Baumans have two daughters, Carol V. Forgione, of Millersville, a nurse in the intensive-care unit at North Arundel Hospital. A second daughter, Alice Golembo, lives in New Jersey. An actress, she performed several roles in the Broadway play "Golda," starring Anne Bancroft.

Bauman and his wife traveled frequently, and were planning a trip to Hawaii the evening she suffered a stroke at age 81.

"She was kind and generous and wanted to help people," says Bauman. "She had a sign over the stove: 'Age does not matter unless you're a cheese or a wine.' She lived life to the full every day."

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