Living long, living well

Living long, living well

Berta Blum Rosenberg, born Sept. 5, 1896, ranks no. 26 on the Gerentology Research Group’s list of validated living supercentenarians. At 112 years old, says her grandson, Robert Hammer of Demarest, she is the 15th oldest person in the United States – and possibly the oldest Jew.

Cliffside Park resident Ruth Hammer, Rosenberg’s 83-year-old daughter, says she can’t explain her mother’s longevity, suggesting that it might be “good genes” or the personalized care her mother receives.

“She eats everything fresh,” said Hammer. “I bring it myself.”

But she also speaks of Rosenberg’s zest for life and “giving, loving nature. She gave to every charity in the world,” said Hammer. “Her accountant couldn’t believe it.”

Rosenberg, now living in Washington Heights, N.Y., left Germany in 1938.

“We were penniless,” says her daughter. “She used to have a maid in Germany and … she had to clean other people’s houses.” Soon, however, Rosenberg developed her own business, buying merchandise on the Lower East Side and selling it, on credit, to customers in the Bronx and Riverdale.

Hammer points out that while her own mother is now bedridden and frail, “she still knows things,” registering emotions when others speak of her late son, who died at age 50. “Her mind is functioning,” she said, pointing out that until her late 80s, her mother continued to visit a local nursing home bringing treats for the residents.

“I take more medicines than she does,” joked Hammer.

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