2014 Meet our Residents: Morris Erger

2014 Meet our Residents: Morris Erger

The new 102

Morris Erger, the new 101Seated comfortably in his Ring House apartment dressed in jeans and a puffer vest, Morris Erger, age 102, explains how he remains robust and trim. Three times a week, he goes to the Jewish Community Center across the street – on foot – to work out on the treadmill and weights; on alternate days, he practices Tai Chi. Beyond this, he walks everywhere – without a walker or cane – even for groceries at the nearby Trader Joe’s.

As he prepares a lunch of buttered toast, herring, cookies, and coffee, centenarian Erger shares other details of his day. He reads newspapers avidly and check sites on his iPad to follow American politics and world affairs. Each week he walks to B’nai Israel Congregation to attend Shabbat services and lectures that interest him. His major focus and deep concern is the future of Jews and the state of Israel. “I know what it is not to have a homeland,” he states firmly as the conversation shifts to his wartime experience.

Born in 1912 in Czechoslovakia, the fifth of eight children, Erger was 29 when he was abruptly ordered mid-day to drop his job at a wholesale import-export store in the Hungarian town of Rachov, and report to a labor camp in Uzhorod, behind the Ukrainian front. In labor camps from 1941 to 1945, he was subjected to punishing work, extreme deprivation, and beatings. Erger notes with bitterness, “It’s unbelievable. I myself don’t believe these things happened. But it’s all true.”

Undeterred after the war by constant setbacks to restore normalcy to his life, Erger eventually made his way to Brooklyn in 1958 with his wife and two daughters. Working 70-hour weeks, he progressed from a job at a knitting mill to become the owner of a delicatessen on Long Island, which he operated successfully until retirement.

Nine years ago Erger, who speaks seven languages, moved to Ring House to be near his younger daughter and her family. He appreciates the amenities and safety
features offered at this independent-living residence on our campus, but what ihe seeks most is a to live within a strong Jewish community, with Jewish learning opportunities, and cultural enrichment. At Ring House, he thinks he made the right choice.   




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