Seniors Story: Otto

December 5, 2013 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

Otto, a Holocaust survivor, still young at heart

“I was born in Hungary” Otto sometimes jokes, “but not by choice.” Indeed, for a Jew in the 1930’s and 40’s there were few worse places to be living. And like so many others, Otto ended up in a concentration camp—Buchenwald—and ultimately lost 85% of his entire family.

He eventually immigrated to Canada, and from there to Detroit, where he married and had a son. Throughout his life, it has been essential for him to maintain his identity as a practicing Orthodox Jew. Now, living at the Jewish Senior Life Fleischman Residence, Otto has the freedom to practice his religion without worrying about the challenges that come with being a single individual in his eighties. “We have a minyan here, we have a synagogue,” he says. “We have a full-time mashgiach, so I don’t have to look for the ‘K.’ I know that what I eat is strictly kosher.”

There are numerous benefits to living at the Jewish Senior Life residence, and significant freedoms gained by the residents there. “It’s much different here” Otto says. “Before, I had to buy canned soup and heat it for myself and here I am taken care of completely.” Otto also takes full advantage of the extensive programming at the residence which emphasizes wellness, spiritual, educational and social fulfillment. He participates in regular excursions to local shopping centers and other off-site trips.

Perhaps best of all, Otto is an active member of the community at Fleischman and has the opportunity to spend his days with friends. In fact, the community there has become Otto’s extended family. In addition to the over 80 residents at Fleischman, there are hundreds more living at JSL’s six residencies located on the JCC campuses in West Bloomfield and Oak Park. Like Otto, residents now enjoy a freedom that comes with independence, access to services and— most of all—inclusion in a warm and supportive community.

Photos:

ottodownload-icon

Otto at the Jewish Senior Life

8657245045_e79947e39c_odownload-icon

Otto in the Witness Theater Production

Otto

Otto with a Community Birthright Participant
print

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events
Oct
25

NEXTGen Detroit Presents: Shake. Stir. Shmooze.

October 25, 2017 | 7:30 PM Detroit City Distillery 2462 Riopelle Historic Eastern Market Detroit, MI 48207 $25 in advance when you register online before October 23rd at NOON $36 at the door Take happy hour into your own hands, and learn how to make some of your favorite classic adult beverages (you know, Moscow […]

Sign Up
Nov
5

NEXTGen Detroit Volunteer at Fall Fix Up

Join NEXTGen Detroit Volunteers, Repair the World: Detroit and Hillel Metro Detroit at one of the area’s oldest Jewish cemeteries for Jewish Family Services’s 21st Annual Fall Fix Up! We will be cleaning the historic B’nai David Memorial Park Cemetery in Detroit. Sunday, November 5, 2017 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm B’nai David Cemetery […]

Sign Up
Nov
9

Bake Sales are My B*tch

Win the Food Allergy Wars with 60+ Recipes to Keep Kids Safe and Parents Sane! April Peveteaux Thursday, November 9 | 7 p.m. Remember when you could just serve kids a peanut butter sandwich and call it a day? Today, that’s known as a recipe for disaster. Peanut allergies. Dairy allergies. Soy allergies. Wheat allergies. […]

Sign Up
Nov
15

Breaking Bad (News) How to Have the Conversation

Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s Maimonides Society invite you to join us for an important evening Breaking Bad (News): How to Have the Conversation Featuring Rachelle Bernacki, M.D. of Harvard Medical School. Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:00 PM – Dinner 7:00 PM – Introduction & Lecture by Dr. Bernacki […]

Sign Up