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April 20, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 20, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 20, 2012, PAGE 3A Harry Migdal and Lil Berkowitz By Michelle Schwartz JCC The Roth Jewish Com- munity Center of Greater Orlando's 39ers group (in a nod to Jack Benny's Forever 39 character) has long kept local Jewish seniors busy with everything from Game Day to Sunday Movie to Book Club. but sometimes in the midst of all this activity, a special relationship develops. "I joined the JCC actually looking for a buddy," recalls Burt Lieberman, 86, of AI- tamonte Springs. "I wasn't really looking for more than that when I met Gloria at a therapeutic swim class." Having gotten away from her Jewish roots for many years, Gloria Irwin, 80, also of Altamonte Springs, was intrigued when Burt men- tioned the JCC Seniors. He wasthrilted wJ'~en she showed up a few weeks later and joined right away. "Neither of us was looking for more than a friendship, but we quickly realized how nice it is to spend time with someone. I've gone with her to her granddaugh- ter's birthday, parties and the family gave me a thumbs-up," laughs Burt. Roy Singer, 88, of Maitland had to work a little harder after he took a liking to Claire Rosenberg, 81, of Casselberry. "He asked me out several times, and I kept turning him down." Claire remembers. "Finally one day he brought me flowers when I saw him at the ]CC. I was friendly with his wife when she was alive. I knew he was such a nice man and we enjoy spending time together." Roy adds. "She cooks bet- ter than I do. so it works out great for me!'" For some couples, it seems like fate had them aligned with each other. Billie Goldhar, 87, of Longwood had been wid- owed for several years when she suggested a few friends go to a movie one weekend. "When you are alone, the week can be busy but the weekends can be very lonely." Mutual friends introduced her to Gerry Stein, also of Longwood butwhen he asked if she'd like to go to dinner,. she ~anicked. "I called my daughter and said, 'I have a date! What will I say? What should I do?'" After her daughter calmed her nerves for her first date in 65 years, she completely enjoyed her- self and the couple has been together for six yearsnow. "We realized shortly after that this was all meant to be. His grandson was coinciden- tally living in my daughter's old house in Tusk.awilla and even stranger, our respective spouses had been cared for in the same hospice when they Roy Singer and Claire Rosenberg Gloria Irwin and Burr Lieberr~an were sick, actually in the same room." For some couples like Lil- lian Berkowitz, 84, and Harry Migdal, 91, of Longwood, love came quickly and easily. "It's been two years now," Lillian says, "and we're together all the time. We got together on May 12, 2010 and for the first year, he gave me a gift on the 12th of every month. We don't have any interest in actually getting married. but we consider ourselves married." As president of the 39ers. Lillian, accompanied by Harry, can be found with the JCC Seniors five to six days a week. Some days, it's Trivia Day, some it's Bridge and oth- ers it's the monthly Thursday night"Seniors Nite Club" to a local ethnic restaurant. The group certainJy agrees on one thing. The secret to staying young and vibrant: activity and socializing. When his wife of 55 years died suddenly, A1 Sarnoff, 87, of Oviedo, had a decision to make. "After a while, I Yvette Blum and A1Sarnoff Billie Goldhar and Gerry Stein thought. 'I can sit here and stare at the four walls, or I can get out and get busy.'" He met Yvette Blum. 80, of Orlando, soon after com- ing back to the JCC Seniors, where he had been active with his late wife. The pair often joined a large group going to dinner on Monday nights after their day's activities at the J. It made for an easy transition from "singles" to "Couple" and they've been together for five years now. "When [ met his daughter, she introduced me as 'my future-stepmother, I hope'," laughs Yvette. "We have no plans of getting married. but we do enjoy each other's company. We have a lot in common and it feels nice to have someone to keep you from getting lonely." While individually, they were all blessed with Iong, successful marriages, some of 50-plus years, none of them ever conceived of find- ing someone special later in life after losing a spouse. "I never even thought about it.'" says Burr, "but it's so nice to stay active andhave someone to sp~,ad time with." And for many, the JCC Seniors has provided both. Internationally renowned genealogist Megan Lewis will be speaker of the month at the next meeting of the Jewish Ge- nealogical Society of Greater Orlando. She will present "Resources for Genealogists at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and How to Use Them" via the Internet. The meeting and programwill be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24 at Southwest Orlando Jewish Congregation. Ever .wonder what exactly the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Wash- ington, D.C., has (and what they don't have?) This talk will present an overview of the broad variety of sources available to Jewish genealo- gists at the museum, such as books, archival collections, oral. histories and the Inter- national Tracing Services records and show how they relate to one another. The talk will then demonstrate how to find sources relevant to your own research using Museum databases. Finally, the talk will discuss how United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Megan Lewis to do research either at the museum inWashington, D.C., or remotely. Lewis, MLS, has worked at the USHMM since 1998. Currently a reference librar- ian in the museum's library and archives reading room. she previously spent 12 years working for the museum's Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center. the division of the museum that specialized in researching the fates of specific individuals. Lewis has talked about the Museum and its resources to genealogical conferences, gatherings of Holocaustsurvi- vors and the American Library Association. She currently is working on a private research project about genealogists' use of testimonial sources which she presented at the Future of Holocaust Testimonies II conference in March 2012. A JGSGO Maven's Corner will be available starting at 6:30 p.m. prior to the sched- uled program, by reservation only. Those interested in meet- ing with a maven to discuss a genealogy, problem should bring a c6ncise description of their genealogical question and relevant background data. Please email your question and-background information and to reserve an appointment to For more information: Marlis Humphrey at 321-727- 3832 or jgsgo.programs@ Inspirational seniors Is there an inspirational senior citizen in your life? Someone whose life story influencedyou to accomplish something you never thought you could do. Someone whose encouragement got you over a hurdle that was in your way. Someone you admired and who made you a better person. Heritage Florida Jewish News would like to share those stories in its Savvy Seniors edition May 4. The deadline for the tributes is April 25. Please write Savvy Seniors in the subject field and keep the articles under 600 words. Nominate a mensch for the Heritage Human Service Award Heritage Florida Jewish News is accepting nominations for the 2012 Heritage Human Service Award, which will be presented on Aug. 19 at the annual meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando. ~For more than 25 years, individuals who have made major, voluntary contribu- tions of their talent, time, energy, and effort to the Central Florida community have been honored with the selection and presentation of this award," said Jeff Gaeser, editor and publisher of. the Heritage. According to Gaeser, "Each recipient chose their own path, but made considerable and long lasting contributions to the Jewish community. Nominees for the 2012 award are individuals who do not look for recognition but perform tikkun olam--repairing the world out of internal motivation." Nominations should be e-mailed or typed on 8 1/2x 11-inch paper and sent by mail. Included should be the name and phone number of the nominee, a documented list of his or her accomplishments, and the name and phone number of the nominator(s). Submit the information to Heritage Florida Jewish News Human Service Award, 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL 32730 or email news@orlandoheritage, corn (in subject line add "Human Service Award"). io