Recognition luncheon honors nonagenarians at Shalom House

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15 residents of Shalom House were treated to a special luncheon Friday, May 23 to celebrate their longevity. 15 residents of Shalom House were treated to a special luncheon Friday, May 23 to celebrate their longevity. VENTNOR – What has been a dream for several Shalom House Council members turned into reality Friday, May 23 as 15 residents celebrated being 90 or older.

Council President Myrna Aiscowitz, Vice President Phyllis Kane and Treasurer Dorothy Adelman have long admired the senior citizen housing complex’s oldest residents, their independence and positive attitudes about life.

“They all live so independently. We’ve been wanting to have this celebration of their lives for so long,” Adelman said. “We are so grateful we were able to finally do it.”

The Shalom House team sent 17 handwritten invitations to the residents, and 15, 13 women and two men, were able to make the luncheon, which included a mock-champagne toast, sandwiches from Downbeach Deli, homemade desserts, flowers for all the guests and an inspirational address from Richard Cohen, 86, who is president of the Shalom House Board of Trustees.

Richard Cohen, president of Shalom House Board of Trustees, chats with Mary Peskoff, 91, during the Shalom House nonagenarian luncheon. Richard Cohen, president of Shalom House Board of Trustees, chats with Mary Peskoff, 91, during the Shalom House nonagenarian luncheon. “This is an idea they had for a few years that finally came to fruition,” Shalom House resident Angela Giordano, 70, said. Giordano has lived at Shalom House for 10 years and her mother Edith Manfree, 91, has her own apartment.

“These guys come down to play bingo and I didn’t even know they were in their 90s,” Giordano said about the nonagenarians in the room.

In his talk, Cohen talked about the gift the residents have been given in their longevity.

Although many of the residents present said they find aging challenging, Cohen said it is a gift to look back and remember 150 years of life.

“You folks have been around for more than 90 years, but if you think in terms of your parents and grandparents, you are at least 150 years old,” he said.

Cohen said he is currently writing his autobiography, which he finds difficult because every time he puts a memory on paper, another one pops up.

“That’s one of the great things about being our age, we have lots of memories,” he said.

He asked what had impacted them most in life, and the unanimous answer was “family.”

Then, Cohen asked the group to think about the sense of touch, saying vision, hearing, smelling and tasting may wane, but the send of touch remains.

“The greatest gift is the sense of touch, which doesn’t go away. You have people around you that can touch your hand and touch your heart,” he said. “That is why this meeting had to happen. It is only with the heart that we can see rightly.”

Sarah Uman was the oldest of the group. She will turn 99 in August.

“I enjoy it here, everyone is nice and I have visitors every week. I like to go out with my nieces and nephews to nice restaurants, and my one niece makes great holiday meals,” Uman said.

Mildred Sacks, 95, stays very active. A secretary in New York City until she was 72, Sacks said her son lives in Egg Harbor Township and wanted her to be closer to the family. She has been living at Shalom House for six years, and keeping active is what keeps her young, she said.

“I made nice friends here. I play mahjong and bingo, and go out for lunch with my son and daughter-in-law. I go to exercise class at least once a week and walk as often as I can,” Sacks said.

Claire Goldberg, 93, said Shalom House is the best thing that could happen for her.

“Where else would old people go? We have all the conveniences here,” she said.

Laura Tabasso, 91, has been living at Shalom House the longest – 27 years.

“I love it here. They really take care of you and you can go to bed at night and not worry about anything,” she said.

She has lots of family members who live in the area, including seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren who she visits often. And she still drives, she said, “locally and to my doctor in Linwood.”

“You should all be grateful to be healthy and able to take care of yourselves,” Cohen said. “Don’t just think of living one more year. You will be here forever. You’re here now, enjoy every moment, and remember, the sense of touch is what life if all about.”


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