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May 4, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 2B Inspirational seniors L Heritage Florida Jewish News asked its readers to submit tributes of inspirational seniors. We were looking for seniors whose life story influenced you to accomplish some- thing you never thought you could do. Seniors whose encouragement got you over a hurdle that was in your way. Seniors you admired and who made you a better person. Here are three tributes. A tribute to my mother: Gloria Newberger By Nancy Ludin "Gloria Newberger is an in- spirational senior. I do not say thatbecause she is a fabulous mother who has sowered unconditional love on her three children and been sup- portive of all our endeavors. I am simply stating the truth," says Nancy Ludin, executive director of the Jewish Pavilion. "When my mother turned 70. I gave a party for her at my home in the Philadelphia suburbs and more than 50 women attended. Atthe door. almost eery woman told me that my mother was her best friend. Being an only child helped Gloria fully appreciate the value of friendship and she has always been an amazing friend. "The followingyear, I moved to Florida with my family and encouraged my mother to move south. Leaving my two older brothers and more than 50 close friends, many of whom she knew from high school, was daunting." In her mid-70s. Gloria made all the moving rrangements herself and within weeks of her arrival in Orlando friends again sur- rounded her. "Wherever I go, everyone knows Gloria." says Ludin. "Today, I had my tire replaced and the repair man raved about my mother. The same happens in almost, every restaurant and store I enter. My mother has been involved with inter-racial and interfaith activities over the years. One time, a group of strangers met for dinner and at the end of the evening, everyone was hugging one another as if they were life4ong friends. This was entirely due to my mother&apos;s warmth and ability to get along with all types of people," says Ludin. Newberger is extremely ac- tive with the Jewish Pavilion. She serves on the Friends Board and visits with seniors in four facilities around town. You can find her every Monday afternoon singing her lungs out at a Happy Hour at Savan- nah Court. "She is beyond incredible." says Ludin. Not only does she help in the of- rice with thank you notes and mailings but her real talent is in the way she relates to the Gloria Newberger residents in long term care. She hugs and kisses them and makes them feel extra special. She asks themwhat they really want and delivers it to them. She has been known to bring chicken livers, magazines, ge- fiite fish, candy, books; all sorts of requests .have been filled. "My mother has been a true inspiration throughout her life. but at close to 84 years of age, it is remarkable and exhausting to see how many wonderful things she accom- plishes on a daily basis." THE J WISH 00,Avi o N HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 4, 2012. Second chances a senior love story By Doris Gilbert Iwas married for 51 years an accomplishment in our time. My husband was buried April 1, 2002. I was a caregiver for 12 of those years. I lost my dearest friend and companion when my marriage ended. I thought how do t go about re-inventing myself? I threw myself into volunteer work became more revolved with my supportive female friends and availed myself of many of Orlando's cultural events. I was struggling, and privately weeping a great deal. I <lismissed any thoughts of dating. I loved once and deeply, and that was enough for me. I hoped that time would heal. Before my husband passed away, I was involved with our community magazine. 'I Was responsible for writing the gardening column. After my husband's death, I decided to buy a computer-to challenge my aging brain cells. I took a computer course, but I was desperate for more help. I called upon the former editor of our magazine for his guid- ance. He was an engineer. knowledgeable with the work- ings of the computer, and in retirement had become quite an accomplished writer. My friend visited me every few weeks to unravel the mysteries of this monster known as the computer. I felt like a toddler having to hold someone's hand as I took my first few steps. We became good friends, and talked endlessly. No subject was taboo. His wife was ill and housebound at the time. He too was a caregiver. I was impressed with his sensitivity and intelligence. My friend's wife died soon afterwards. He, was sad and lonely and reached out to me. We were two needy people who were comfortable with each other. However. Iwas cautious and hesitant at what lay ahead. After awhile our relationship escalated, we saw each other daily, cooked together, called each other often, while, main- taining our separate homes. We learned to laugh again. Life was good. Two years had passed after I had become a widow. Thanks to my friend my grief was diminishing. He was a treasure. He composed ex- quisite poetry to me, which I will always cherish. We were both astonished that at our age we could care so deeply again. Part of what made it special was the lack of bag- gage in these senior years. We hadno financial concerns. no children to raise, and no in-laws to argue about. Our education was complete. We concentrated mainly on the" pleasure of our company. Sadly my dear friend" died tragically and unexpectedly on June 23. 2006 while we were vacationing in Duluth. Minn. I was devastated. Once again I looked to good friends and activities to help restore my spirits. In retrospect. I'm glad that I had this second chance to love again. It was too special to have missed. As F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, "There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice!" A living tribute to my fatn :r By Neal J. Blaher his own money, and engineers There they stand on a top, dusty shelf somewhere. You know what I'm talking about-- you have them too. Those old sports trophies from childhood. standing as memorials to our forgotten triumphs. I was-packing up stuff re- cently in preparation for mov- ing, and came across my own trophies, bowling trophies. Mine are somewhat unique. however. They say, "JCC Bowl- ing League. 1971-72." Yes. there was such a thing, and it took place before our cur- rent facility was even built. My- father started it. and he did it completely on his own. Using his inherent organizational skills asan engineer, he compiled charts, rosters and statistics. Using his methodical approach to things as an engineer, he patiently andcarefully coached each and every kid to help them correct their mistakes, improve their skills, and perhaps most importantly, overcome their frustrations and embarrass- ment. My father did it all because he loved his children and wanted to see them and those around them have an extracurricular activity thatwould involve being with other Jewish kids. and hav- ing fun. so that they would be encouraged to remainwith Jew- ish friends, much like my father did himself at those old 1940s socials back in and around his home town of Flemington, N.J. He also did this with some of don't make much, certainly not commensurate with their train- ing and skills and the contribu- tions their products make to the technological advancement of ourworld.Yes, kidspaid for their games. But then there was the awards banquet. (How else did I get my trophies?) What more fitting a venue than the back room at Ronnie's? I have only the fondest memories of my father taking me to Stewart's trophies on Edgewater Drive in College Park to pick out the current season's trophies. (Therewas more than one season this went on for a few Year) I loved it most when hew6uld ask my opinion on the different sizes for the different levels of achievement. And everyone got one / he made sure of that. Therewas al- ways a category he could create. I could go on and on. but _ 1 think I have conveyed the thought and the images. I am sure those of you who are reading this--with the_ex- ception of you 50-somethings who remember participating in the league yourselves, and there were very few back then who didn't participate had no idea that a JCC bowling league ever existed all those years back. Not surprising. My quiet unassuming father was never recognized for his efforts. And those ofyouwho know him also know he would not have wanted any such recognition. So as we honor all kinds of pioneer philanthropists in our Morris "Bud" Blaher community year after year, I want to honor my father while he is still around to be aware of it (and whether or not he even wants the recognition). The inspiration for doing this came after taking my father out to a concert and watching him struggle, at the age of 84 and only one year into retire- ment (I told you it isn't easy for engineers), to walk to and from the Bob Carr Auditorium. He actually apologized to me for having to have such an old man slow me down. As t said to my father that night, I am just happy to have him around. I am happy to have this man around--and proud to call him my father--who cared and did so much for others in his own quiet, humble and unassum- ing way. Dad, if you are reading this. know that you can look back at your life without regret. You have done more than you prob- ably know. and for that I give you this tribute. And I love you. Our elders in long term care should not be forgoffen! The Jewish Pavilion ensures that they are visited and that they continue to participate in :Jewish life, enjoying Shabbat and Holidays. Your support is needed to care for the Jewish elderly. 407-678-9363 www.jewishpavilion.org "1 With the EITC you cu'd cJet UD to 5'600 extra back [rm the IRe' Single r married' with r witUeCihi[treFILp, 1See how Ffluche. Workod:,,eYU8 2009ma(part federa]qUa'ifYr a,[ of for tax2009ifreturnYOU: Life's' a little easier with earned it;come tax cred,t Make less than $48,000 1.800.8291040 rs.gov/eitc