In first person…Electricity was hazardous in early years of Tel Aviv

It is difficult for modern Americans to realize what growing up in Israel 50 years ago was like. In August of 1942, when I was just 5, I visited my mother in the Tel Aviv hospital shortly after she gave birth to twin girls. Suddenly the air raid sirens blasted. My mother grabbed the newborns, one in each arm, and ran to the basement. I stared in awe as nurses loaded three or four babies onto each arm and ran down the stairs. I couldn't believe how many babies they could carry at once.

We considered ourselves middle-class because we had the status symbols of the time: a car and an electric refrigerator. Electricity was both a comfort and a danger. At 220 volts, it was very hazardous.

When I was 6, I heard a scream from a neighboring apartment. I ran with my father to see what happened. A barefoot woman had been washing her floor when she came in contact with an outlet. As the electricity surged through her body, she could not free herself from it. Another woman came to free her and she, too, became trapped. My father ran to the fuse box and began pulling all the fuses out. When the right fuse was finally pulled, the two women fell suddenly to the floor. An ambulance took them to the hospital, and they were saved.

My pride in my father and the recognition of electricity's dangers are memories that have never left my mind.