Meet Gloria Newberger
Updated: Oct 3
The one thing that sticks out with Gloria Newberger is her smile.
It lifts the people around her as she recounts the stories of her life.
And what a life she’s lived. From being the quintessential PTA mom of every school for her children in Philadelphia to running a non-profit camp for girls to teaching Sunday school. She was the president of her class in high school, Chief Justice of the Student Court too.
In 2004, she made the trek many of our seniors now in Florida follow. She moved to Central Florida to be near her daughter, Nancy Ludin, the CEO of The Jewish Pavilion.
“My mother inspires me with her life of service and how she quickly works to help people in their time of need,” Nancy says. “I’m thankful every day I am allowed to help our elders not be forgotten and I think it is because of Gloria’s passion for volunteering.”
As is her nature, Gloria immediately went to work as a volunteer for the organization.
“Most of the people in these communities are often without relatives or any connection at all to the local Jewish community,” Gloria says. “Without being a member of a local synagogue, it was very difficult to say connected to our traditions at that time.”
One of the first people she met was a woman who had lived a life centered around her synagogue. She was a leader in the Jewish faith for all of her life. But, after moving into a senior community, she lost her connection to the synagogue and had not seen a Rabbi in years.
“She said to me, ‘Gloria until you walked in the door, I thought I was forgotten,’” Gloria recalls, sharing stories of people she had met through volunteering.
There were the women who never missed an ice cream social Gloria helped put on.
One time, Gloria visited a low-income memory care bringing ice cream and songs for the residents. Music is well known to help people suffering from memory loss.
“When we were starting, they would ask our names,” Gloria says. “We would ask them their names and they couldn’t remember. Then we served them ice cream and they started looking up at us. Then we started singing songs and they could remember the words to the songs.
“They were singing along with every single song,” she adds. “It was remarkable.”
Today, at 94 years old, Gloria lives at Oakmonte Village’s Valencia community, which she has called home for six years. She looks forward to the services provided by The Jewish Pavilion.
“Those services are very important to my friends and me,” she says. “We look forward to those services every time they are held.”