On people’s birthdays, it’s a tradition to wish the celebrants that they should live “till 120,” wishing them a long and happy life.

Over the weekend, I read two stories that in some way refer to this phrase. The first one is of a new website, Till120.com, which provides a hookup for the Jewish community to information about people who have passed away. Yes, it’s like OnlySimchas, but for people who have died. As the site self-describes:

The traditional Jewish phrase, “May you live until 120” is the ultimate blessing; a life of health and happiness. We here at Till120.com are here for you at your moment of need to provide comfort and solace. We are here to guide and support you and your family during your bereavement. We are here to provide you with information about the traditional mourning period, the shiva, that honors the life of your loved one. This site is here to help you cherish the memory by sharing thoughts and stories of those who are no longer with us. Till120.com using state of the art technology is able to allow you to share photographs and text in a special way to honor the memory of your loved one.

Over in an Arab village near Hadera, Mariam Amash claims to be the world’s oldest person, who happens to be…120. A devout Muslim, Amash was discovered when she reported to the Israel Ministry of Interior to receive a new ID card. Born during the Ottoman era, when records weren’t organized neatly in computers or even file cabinets, Amash is potentially younger or even older than the 120 years that she claims.

According to the article, “she rises every morning at 5am, walks unaided, and attributes her longevity to a diet rich in vegetables.” In her case, till 120 takes on a new meaning, since she has 120 grandchildren (250 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great-grandchildren, all from her original 10 children).

How can you get to be 120 like Amash?

The world’s oldest resident has one piece of cautionary advice for younger generations. “They drink too much Arak,” she said, referring to a popular Arabic alcoholic drink that is forbidden to devout Muslims.

So more vegetables, and take it easy on the arak, kids.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.

1 Comment

  • I just wonder why she went for a teudat zeut now? did she do all her hadjes before 47?

    For that matter, i’m a little curious: how does she feel about the whole Israel thing? curious and sweet that no interviewer seems to have asked (or, at least, written) about how the whole zionism thing has treated her. One could argue it’s a proof that Israel hasn’t been SO bad for EVERY Arab: How many Jews made it to 120 in Nazi Germany? not many.