Age is No Barrier for Change in the Life of an Ex-Legalist

Created: 2012-08-26 01:45 EST

Category: Life
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For 40 years, Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel worked as a lawyer, specializing in labor law, human rights and women’s status issues. At the age of 74, she decided to switch her career and make a change in her life.

[Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel, Legalist, Dancer and Painter]:
“The thought of being a lawyer for another 25 or 30 years startled me, so I decided to make a career change. Every 5 years I will switch to another occupation.”

As a leading researcher in the field of law and a winner of the Israel Prize for legal research, she couldn’t think how she could possibly fit in a computer graphics course.

[Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel, Legalist, Dancer and Painter]:
“I knew I was going to make a career change, and start from scratch, I was even going to start from below scratch. On the first day admitting to the computer graphics course, I entered the class, and there were 17 computers and 16 students of the age of my grandson, so I was really terrified… because, when learning something new you have to communicate with your colleagues… Ask someone if you don’t understand something, if you miss class, but how could I communicate with those youngsters? But we communicated with each other very quickly”.

Choosing biblical paintings as a theme came to her naturally.

The inspiration for the paintings came from biblical stories which are an integral part of her life as an Israeli and a Jewish woman.

At that point, Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel discovered her abilities in dancing and modern theatre.

[Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel, Legalist, Dancer and Painter]:
“There was a choreographer who worked on her Master’s degree in dance, and as part of her thesis she had to stage a play. She decided to stage a play about old age. So people told her she should consult with me because I had just published a book named ‘Who’s Afraid of Old Age?’”

Following the choreographer’s approaching her, Prof. Ben-Israel decided to participate in a play named “Yegila”, which she performed on 50 tours.

We asked her, how does she feel following all the changes she has made in her life?

[Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel, Legalist, Dancer and Painter]:
“I feel great, because every time I do something new and create I am not bored, I am not ‘Dead wood’, I am curious and I learn, I experience and enjoy every minute of it.”

In her opinion, people can learn new things in every age, and most important to her is variety.

[Prof. Ruth Ben-Israel, Legalist, Dancer and Painter]:
“Life begins at eighty.”

Reporter: Janet Zrian    Photographer:David Bershadsky
NTD News, Israel