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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


June 15, 2018  RSS feed
Senior Living

Text: T T T

Weinberg Village event offers glimpse into diverse lives of 15 honorees 90+ years old

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press

Get 15 people who are age 90 or older together for a brunch and ask them about their lives and you get some interesting answers – and some reasons to believe they deserve the title of “Greatest Generation.”

Many served during World War II or had husbands who did, and remember their service vividly. One, Isaac Kashinski, was wounded in battle against German forces, spent four years in hospitals and had more than 20 surgeries on his back.

Their occupations included three engineers, a surgeon and a lawyer and folks who did public relations, radio advertising, program director the American Heart Association, construction work, guidance counselor, translator, business owner, educator, stay at home mom and purchasing agent.

Collectively they had 32 children and three step-children, 58 grandchildren and 6 step-grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren.

The honorees at the third annual “Oldest Jewish American Brunch,” hosted on Sunday, June 10, by Weinberg Village, shared not only their military service and occupations, but also other facts about their lives. During the entertainment portion of the event the barbershop quartet group Song Daddy shared some of those facts with the audience.

Those honored were Doris Baer. Donald Epstein, Nina Glazer, Frances Grunberger, Isaac Kaskinski, Mordekhai Kolpakchi, Zenaida Kolpakchi, Arthur Meier, Betty Olinsky, Harold Rosenthal, Thomas Schwartz, Betty Solomon, Herbert Thau, Rita Weissman and Bruce Zimmerman.

Many of the honorees say they still have favorite activities, such as volunteering, taking walks, playing video games, solving Suduko puzzles or writing short stories. Oh, and for Herbert Thau, the answer was “chasing women,” but he added an “lol” so maybe he is just kidding.

When asked about their favorite movies, Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, got the most votes, though Blazing Saddles, Fiddler on the Roof, Modern Times, The Dirty Dozen, Guns of Navarone, Gone With The Wind and King Kong also collected at least one vote. Bruce Zimmerman explained the appeal of Casablanca – which won three Oscars in 1943. He said he lived through the history of that time and he could relate to the story. “It had major elements of love, drama, humor, suspense, etc. It had a great cast of major characters, and was a story well told,” he added. On the other hand, Thomas Schwartz liked King Kong because he loved hearing Fay Wray scream.

“I still cannot believe what incredible lives these honorees had. One of the honorees is still driving around the country to explore various cities. It is amazing to discover people’s passions they continue to participate in today” said one family member. Zimmerman is the one who still drives on long trips to various parts of the country, while Glazer said she “loves to run around all over the place” and also likes to make people laugh.

For Grunberger, one of the things she still does is light Shabbat candles every Friday night and say her prayers in honor of her family members killed in the Holocaust. For others, the activities they like were less somber, such as retired surgeon Mordekhai Kolpakchi, who can easily crack Suduko puzzles, or his wife Zenaida, a retired physician who enjoys the Bouncing Balls video game, despite declining vision. Rosenthal still likes going to casinos. Olinsky and Schwartz enjoy crossword puzzles, Epstein enjoys photography and computer work, Meier enjoys opera and Weissman says she is very proficient on her iPod and also plays mahjongg and Rummy Cube.

At least two are long-time volunteers. Baer is continuing a 23-year stint as a Hospice volunteer and Solomon is continuing a 15-year tradition as a volunteer in the family waiting room at St. Joseph Hospital.

“As one of the recipients of the 90-year-old honorees, I want to thank you for the wonderful program you presented. I have been a Tampa resident since way before you were born and it was indeed an honor to have my life recognized. Too bad I couldn’t share this moment with all my friends. This get-together reminded me of how important it is to have family surrounding you. I was thrilled to be surrounded by family and friends at the table with me. Again, thanks, it was wonderful,” said one of the honorees.

Cantor Deborrah Cannizzaro of Congregation Schaarai Zedek described the brunch as “a wonderful way to honor the people in our community who have been with us the longest and everything they have done for us.”

For more information about Weinberg Village Assisted Living Residence programs and services, call Dan Sultan, executive director, or Ben Gersten, marketing director, at (813) 969-1818 or visit us on the web at

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