My Interview with Tsipora Galed

March 7th, 2012

Danna Galed

Professor Steven Alvarez

English 110

7 March 2012

An Interview with Tsipora Galed

            My mother’s name is Tsipora Galed, she was born in Buchara, Russia and on April 23, 1959. Tsipora is 52 years old and is fluent in Russian. Tsipora was brought up in Buchara for most of her life and did all of her schooling there. Later on in her life she moved to Israel and then eventually made her way to the United States.

Tsipora’s highest level of education that she completed is high school.  After high school she did not go on to college or university although she did take two years’ worth of sewing and tailoring courses. In Tsipora’s family it was not unusual to attend college given the fact that her mother, my grandmother, completed university and got a degree in teaching. My grandmother is also from Buchara and she taught elementary math to grades one to four. Tsipora describes my grandmother’s mind, “my mother’s mind was like a computer” (Galed). Tsipora did not follow in the footsteps of her mother, she did not attend college. Tsipora explains that even though her mother went on to university after high school it wasn’t unusual that she did not because of their financial situation. She said, “No it wasn’t weird that I didn’t get a higher education even though my mom did because at that time when I was in school it was difficult for me and my mother to live well. We were very poor my mother wasn’t making so much money as a teacher and we only had one income because my parents were divorced when I was three.”

As a result of not having enough money Tsipora did not have the opportunity to go to college. It was common in the 70’s for many people to not go to college because of financial instability.  It’s interesting for me to hear this from Tsipora because in today’s society we think going to school will help someone achieve a better economic status and especially if a parent went to school then surly that would be a great influence on the children. However, that was not the case with Tsipora. My grandmother went to school but because of the poverty they both suffered and my grandmother could not afford to pay for college. In fact it would seem that a parent who received a college education would urge and encourage their children to go to college but my grandmother’s attitude was just the opposite. Tsipora explains, “Because my mother had no money to pay for school she never encouraged me to go to school and never pushed me to work harder. This really had an influence on me because I think had my mother pushed me harder I would have been able to find a way to nursing school.” According to my Tsipora, even though she lacked the money for college what she lacked even more was a push of encouragement to fulfill her dreams of a higher education. In many situations, it’s the parents who push their children to go to school to have a better life for the future. However her mother did not agree with this view, her family needed help and if that meant sending her daughter to work then that’s what she had to do. Although my grandmother did not have a positive educational influence on Tsipora, she never stopped dreaming about her dream job of being a nurse.

Tsipora always wanted a chance to go to college and major in nursing. In her words, “I always dreamt of being a nurse but my mother was poor.  If I had the chance to go back I would go to nursing school to become a nurse without hesitating.  I like to talk and be with patients and to save people’s lives and help them in any way. I was not scared of blood and I like medicine and thought it was cool so I know I would have been great as a nurse” (Galed).  Tsipora was very passionate about being a nurse however due to financial instability and her mother’s demands of working she was not able to pursue her goal.

Tsipora’s passion for learning is shown through her schooling, especially in high school. She explains how studious she was as a student; she always did her homework and never got into trouble and always did what she was told. Tsipora never received a special achievement or made any projects in school. I found this very interesting because it’s hard for me to imagine a school with no projects, not even a science fair. Tsipora explained to me that, “the schools today in America are more creative and work very differently with the children than they did in Russia in the 70’s when I was in school.” She says that they were very strict and no one ever dared to cause trouble. Tsipora was dedicated to her studies and she wanted to make sure she did well all the time. I see this quality when she told me about her testing experience in twelfth grade, she states, “when I was taking one of the hardest tests that would determine if I would graduate. It was so hard I really felt I had no choice and felt I needed to cheat but luckily no caught me.” Cheating was very unusual for Tsipora but her grades were so important to her she did whatever she could to receive a high grade.

Though she was comfortable with other subjects she had difficulty with math. Unfortunately, because they were so poor, my grandmother had to work two jobs, as a teacher and a babysitter to make ends meet and as result, she was never home to help my mother with math. Though she didn’t excel in math she states, “My most favorite subjects were literature, I loved to read and rendering, making cut outs for clothing, I guess that’s why I was so good at my job as a tailor.” To make more money and help her mother out my mother worked as tailor in the summer.

Tsipora’s love for her mother was so great that she not only contributed financially, she agreed to move to another country. The major turning point in Tsipora’s life was when she and her mother picked up and moved to Israel. She describes that time in her life, she says, “I was eighteen when I moved to Israel with my mom in 1979, because my brother and sister were living there with my father and because my mother wanted to see her children. Yes it was hard for me to move to Israel because I left all my friends and relatives in Russia and I couldn’t go back because the Russian President, Leonard Brejniv, wasn’t letting people in. The hardest part of moving to Israel was that I knew my dreams of ever going to college were really over. Because my mother didn’t know the language and had no money to live on, so I had to go straight to work to help my mother. Being a tailor didn’t entail knowing the language which was Hebrew so I was able to work and get paid, my mother didn’t know the Hebrew language to be a teacher” (Galed). Moving to Israel was challenging for Tsipora because she had to start all over again from scratch, make new friends, find a new job and learn a new language. However, she did achieve her goal and was able to see her sister and brother who were separated for seven years. After moving to Israel my grandmother couldn’t find a teaching job because she didn’t know the language of the country so Tsipora got her a packing job at the company she was working at. In addition to being a tailor Tsipora also took Hebrew language courses at night known as Ulpan, and from there she learned a lot of Hebrew. She stayed in Israel for seven years and eventually made her way to the United States.


Tsipora's Mother


Tsipora’s first trip to America was for her sister’s wedding. After the wedding she decided to stay in America permanently. Luckily Tsipora had some family in the states and her uncle set her up with a job in the jewelry business where she strung pearls.  After being in America for two years she married my father and they started a jewelry business together. Eventually they closed down the business and after some time Tsipora took a job as a day care teacher, not because her mother was a teacher, but because that was the job that was available. That teaching job left such an impression on her and in the long run jump started her on what she does today. Today she runs a day care in our house and she teaches eight children.

Growing up with Tsipora who spoke Russian and Hebrew, Danna learned them as well. Being multilingual is a good skill to have especially these days where there are so many immigrants in the United States. Russian and Hebrew are still major languages that are spoken at home along with English. As a result of the several years that Tsipora spent in Israel, she built a connection with the country. Danna has this same connection, in fact last year Danna spent a year studying in Israel and built this same connection.

Given that Tsipora did not have a real chance at an education the education of her daughter, Danna is extremely important. Tsipora is very supportive of Danna’s education and pushes her to always do her best. As a result of Tsipora’s support Danna has always done well through out school, from elementary school to high school and now college. Tsipora constantly assures Danna that she will support her all the way through her schooling, in every way because earning a degree and education is so important to her. Although many college students also work full time or part time, Tsipora rather Danna not work so that she can focus on school. Danna wishes to pursue a degree in Neuropsychology which requires several years of schooling in order to earn a Ph.D and Tsipora is ready to fully support Danna, especially financially, all the way through. Tsipora wants only the best for Danna and that means earning a good education and degree.


Works Citied

Galed, Tsipora. Personal Interview. 3 March 2012.

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