Charlene Stern and One Ordinary Near Normal Man

unnamedBen and Charlene Stern

I created Wise Woman Storytime  on KOWS 107.3FM as a platform to showcase older women who through their passions, life experiences, lessons learned, attitudes and actions, make the world just that much better for themselves and for the rest of us.

My goal has been to shine the spotlight on these elderwomen for all to see; to offer their stories as a testimony to what is possible when one has a dream or passion, when one has overcome challenges and when one’s beliefs are so strongly held, that life must be lived accordingly.

I offer these stories to be sources of inspiration and introspection; to open up connections between the generations; and to restore the rightful place of reverence and respect to our elder mothers. Through these stories, I strive to inform, share history  and build a better tomorrow.

The child of Holocaust survivors, Charlene Stern grew up and continues to be a student of her parents’ lives. Throughout her life, she has searched for answers to the often unspoken stories of her mother and father’s earlier years.

Ben Stern, her father, survived the Molgenicia and Warsaw Ghettos, 2 death marches, and 9 concentration camps, In the 1970‘s in his adopted city of Skokie, Illinois, 30 years after his liberation, Ben took a stand against a planned Nazi march in his hometown. When no one would back him up – not the ACLU, nor the city of Skokie or his Jewish community, Ben refused to back down.

Charlene is producing and directing a documentary film called One Ordinary Near Normal Man. Ben Stern, an ordinary, near normal man is the centerpiece. Rather than focus on the horrors and evils of the Holocaust and the betrayal and victimization of those who suffered, Charlene instead is making a film about how courage, compassion kindness, goodness and faith can be forces for creating a more humane and just world.

This is a story about the resiliency of the human spirit. There is a Ben Stern in all of us. What a better world this would be if we could all learn to love, be kind, live with integrity, and to stand up for what we believe in – even when we have to do it alone.

One Ordinary Near Normal Man is a  tribute to her father’s tenacity, chutzpah unimaginable will, and commitment to stand up for what is right and good,  Targeting (but not limited to) an 18 – 24 year old audience, the film  intersects the life of this 93 year old man with the younger generation, offering the lessons of those before to be understood, internalized, and translated into advocacy for peace, harmony and sanity for the future.

One Ordinary, Near Normal Man is a work in progress. If you would like to learn more about this project or make a contribution to ensure its completion, visit the website 1-Man.org.

By Roberta Teller