Ilene Gelbaum

Ilene Gelbaum explains how she managed to celebrate Chanukka while living in a Sri Lankan village. Living there as a member of the PeaceCorps, she and her husband employed the village carpenter to construct a chanukkia (menorah) out of local woods.


Ilene Gelbaum, like many of our visitors at the Yiddish Book Center, has an incredible story to tell. After retiring from her career in midwifery where she helped birth over 5,000 babies, Gelbaum and her husband came to the Pioneer Valley area for a Peace Corps reunion.  Yiddish being an essential part of their family background, the Gelbaums were thrilled to finally visit the Yiddish Book Center.  When one of our staff members was introduced to Ilene during her visit, she was bursting at the seams with stories of her Yiddish memories and other amazing experiences.  In this interview, Ilene shares stories from her three-year stay in a Sri Lankan village while working in the Peace Corps.


Ilene Gelbaum discusses her reasons for joining the PeaceCorps and remembers her work in a jungle village in Sri Lanka.


Ilene Gelbaum delivered over 5,000 babies during her career. In this clip, she describes her first delivery and the special impact it had on her life.


Ilene Gelbaum describes the Dutch synagogue she visited in Southern India. She and her husband would save up money to travel there for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur during their years in the PeaceCorps in Sri Lanka.