Judy White is a Potomac resident who has recently published a book about her mother and family entitled "Silverstone Stories & Other Mishagos — A Retrospective of Siblings Times Ten."
What community are you a member of, what brought you to it and how long have you been here?
I live with my husband Len in the Inverness Village town homes on Deborah Drive and Inverness Ridge Road. We are both Washington, D.C. natives and have lived in Potomac for 35 years. We were attracted to this area because of the good schools, park-like atmosphere and proximity to city living in Bethesda and Rockville.
We have three married daughters, sons-in-laws and four grandchildren: Aaron, age 16, Jake and Jonah, both age 9 (cousins), and Hayley age 7.
Where did you get your education and in what areas?
Brightwood Elementary, Paul Jr. High, Coolidge High School, George Washington University (B.A.) all located in Washington, D.C. Then the University of Maryland for my Master's degree and the District and Delaware to earn a Ph.D. matriculating at Gallaudet University and Walden University. Areas of interest: Speech Language Pathology, Sign Language and Deaf Communication.
How would you describe yourself?
Easygoing but focused; social, high-energy with many interests: family, dancing, work, reading, theater and enjoying our Jewish traditions.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievements?
Being smart enough to know at age 16 that the guy I was dating in high school would be my life partner.
Dancing: modern, Israeli partner dancing and social dancing with my husband; theater, travel and family.
Favorite local restaurant or place in the community?
Eating outside at Althenia Plaka on Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda. Also, Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues, a happening place on a nice spring, summer or fall evening. Contra dancing at Glen Echo Park with dinner to follow at the nearby Irish Inn at Glen Echo.
What would you change about your community if you could?
Improve the flow of traffic so that the driving situation would not be so crazy between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Also, have more restaurants serve dinner until midnight. And an authentic, really good New York-style deli in the Cabin John Shopping Center.
What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about?
The Potomac Community Center.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you "grew up?"
I never really gave it much thought, so everything I've experienced and accomplished has happened almost by serendipity. For example, after our first daughter was born we became foster parents to pre-adoptive babies. Falling in love with our first foster baby we applied for adoption and welcomed her into our family. I never planned to earn a Master's degree, much less a Ph.D. And I certainly never thought I might one day travel to Cleveland and Atlanta to partner dancers in wheelchairs. Writing and publishing a book was the furthest thing from my mind.
What are some of your personal goals?
Currently, to spend more time with our grandchildren, travel more to places we've never been, spend more time with our family and friends in Israel, learn to play bridge (again), develop tennis skills (again), learn to read prayer Hebrew and make recorded books for blind readers. And, of course, dance more often.
Favorite movies, books and theatre productions?
Favorite Movies: "Life is Beautiful," "Brokeback Mountain," "The Red Violin," "Pretty Woman," "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Fargo," "Yentel," "Frankie and Johnny" and documentaries "Into Thin Air," "Paper Clips" and "March of the Penguins." I especially like documentaries and do not like comedy or violence.
Favorite Books: "Night" (Elie Wiesel), "Tuesdays With Morie" (Mitch Albom), "Forever Young," the story of John Kennedy, Jr. (by his best friend William Noonan), "Of Human Bondage: (W. Somerset Maugham), "Born On The 4th of July" (Ron Kovic), "The Burning Bed-A True Story of an Abused Wife" (Faith McNulty), and "Nickeled and Dimed" (Barbara Ehrenreich). I did love "Romance Reader" (Pearl Abraham) but I seem to gravitate toward non-fiction. I was haunted by the fictional story "Johnny Got His Gun" (Dalton Trumbo) and the book I extremely disliked and do NOT recommend is the Pulitzer prize winning, current best seller "The Road" (Cormac McCarthy).
Favorite Theatre Productions: The original productions of "West Side Story" (1958 pre-Broadway), "The Fantastics," "A Chorus Line," "Contact" (performed at Lincoln Center), "700 Sundays," "Man of La Mancha," "Miss Saigon," "After the Fall," "Closer Than Ever," "Stop The World, I Want To Get Off" and "Girl Crazy" ( a show in which I was a dancer when I was a student at George Washington. The show is now known as "Crazy for You").
Describe how you would most enjoy spending a single day?
Sleep until noon, have breakfast with Len outside on our deck in the sunshine, spend time reading the paper and tending to our plants, take a long power walk with Len, visit with our grandchildren, go to the theater for a wonderful drama or dance production, followed by dinner at a restaurant with outside dining and dancing. And a midnight stroll through our housing community with Len. Finally, a long, hot bath with light from scented candles and background music playing; quickly view the shows we tivoed for that evening. Bedtime around 3 a.m.
Do you have a favorite quotation?
"Live simply, laugh often, stay healthy, love deeply."
What is your book about?
"Silverstone Stories & Other Mishagos — A Retrospective of Siblings Times Ten" tells the story of the 10 Silverstone siblings, five girls and five boys, growing up in an orthodox Jewish environment during the 1900's in Washington, D.C. Embedded in these stories is information on Jewish culture and traditions. These stories reveal how the Silverstone family embraced one another, developed their own identities and remained connected in the 21st century.
How did you get inspired to write it?
I grew up hearing the story that when my grandfather Rabbi Gedaliah Silverstone died in Jerusalem, Palestine (now Israel) in 1944, a cablegram was sent to the family in Washington informing them that "Dad peacefully passed away. Don't tell Miryam" (my mother). This sounded like a good story illustrating how my grandmother wanted to protect the baby of the family from sad news. But with eight siblings living within walking distance of one another, I wondered how long this information could be kept secret. And I never believed this story. Then, in 1995, when going through some of my mother's old papers, I found the original July 1944 Cablegram which had been sent from Jerusalem. Finding this Cablegram was the motivating force in my desire to document the Silverstone family stories. Embedded in these stories is information on Jewish culture and traditions. Many photographs, news articles and documents authenticate these stories.
What was the most challenging part of writing the book?
Writing the book was a work of love (five years.) Working with a publisher, editing, re-editing, writing and re-writing were the most difficult parts (two years.) I do hope that readers will be encouraged to collect their family stories so that future generations will be able to view the changes in lifestyles, religious traditions and interactions from the past.
Any future book plans?
Published books? No. Currently, I am organizing the poems, personal stories and observations that I've written to give to family and close friends.