Yisrael Kristal: Light Onto the Nations

Today is one of those rare days when the limelight shines on someone who is neither a politician, a movie star, an outstanding athlete  or a billionaire (tech or otherwise). Today a retired Haifa candy maker named Yisrael Kristal is enjoying or more likely ignoring his Warholian 15 minutes of fame. His achievement is the simple fact of his existence.

Born in 1903 in the town of Zarnov Poland, Kristal was today declared  the oldest human on the planet. For that he received a certificate from the Guinness Book of World Records where his name will be gawked at by the books preadolescent readership.

But that isn’t what is remarkable. What is truly noteworthy is Mr. Kristal himself and the way he conducts his life.In an era when outsized egotism is prized, Yisrael Kristal is a shining example of humility. He doesnt congratulate himself for his extreme longevity, Rather he insists that it is  a form of Divine grace that has been bestowed upon him.

“It’s just his reality, it wasn’t in his hands. That’s what he believes,” his daughter Shula Kuperstock told reporters.

And it wasn’t as if  his 113 years were a  joyride. First he lost his mother at age seven, and at age  ten his father was drafted into the Czarist army to fight in the first World War. At age eleven he left school to go to work. He eventually established a successful candy factory in the town of Lodz, Poland.

In 1943 , Kristal, his wife and two children were deported to Auschwitz. Only he survived.  In 1950 he moved to Israel reestablishing his candy factory in Haifa, marrying and starting a new family.

Despite his losses Kristal bears no rancor.
“He believes he was saved because that’s what God wanted. He believes everything has a reason in the world,” said his daughter Shula Kuperstock.
“My father is someone who is always happy. He is optimistic, wise, and he values what he has,” Kristal’s daughter continued.

And now the whole word will know his story.

Yisrael Kristal   has no website, not Facebook friends, no WhatsApp group. He has never tweeted and he’s not on linkedin  but now the whole world knows about this amazing man who wears a conspicuous  black yarmulke over his bald pate.

Yisrael Kristal didn’t “do anything,” that is he didnt write bestselling books or make movies or invent vaccines or bombs. He simply lived the way everyone should  with humility, honesty, gratitude and simple faith and in doing so he’s become an example for us all to emulate.END

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author, writing teacher and food blogger. She has several sons who study in yeshivot. Her husband is an IDF veteran who served in Gaza during the first intifada..