Providing Joy and Meaning for Florida Seniors

Mark, or Reb Mordechai, as I like to call him, was born in 1923, in Carpatia, Czechoslovakia. He grew up and went to Cheder in the same village. In 1939, Czechoslovakia disintegrated and Carpatia fell under Hungarian rule. At that time, Hungary was actually under Nazi rule. From 1939 until 1940, Mordechai was trying to help support the family either through helping with the family farm or buying and selling on the black market. At that time, his father was in a Hungarian prison on trumped up charges. In 1944, Mordechai was sent to a ghetto in Muncatch for a short time, then to Auschwitz for one month, and then he was sent to a labor camp. In 1945, the Nazi’s, who realized they were losing the war, began marching the prisoners West towards Germany. Mordechai and his brother escaped. They made their way back to Hungary where they were arrested by the Russians and sent to Siberia. Eventually, the Russians released them and they went to a Jewish refugee center. From there, Mordechai and his brother separated and yet they each arrived in Palestine. From there, Mordechai moved to Colombia, then to New York, and then Miami. Afterwards, he moved to Mexico and worked for the Zionist Organization there. In 1969, Mordechai married Rebecca Cohen. Shortly after, he moved to Puerto Rico to join his brother Sam in his jewelry business Later, he opened his own store. Mordechai retired over 10 years ago and moved into Pembroke Plaza about three years ago. As I was teaching my class, he mentioned that his daughter would like my class. After we talked for a while, I realized that his daughter and son in law were friends of mine, and that I had taught two of his grandchildren. As a matter of fact, much of the information for this biography is from a paper written by Joshua Metsch, the grandson of Reb Mordechai Newman! Other parts of this biography were of course from speaking to Mordechai himself and from a book that he wrote, entitled A Test Of Everlasting Survival. This past Shabbos, Mordechai and I together with some other residents drank a Lechaim and inaugurated a New Mishna Shiur that TOP will be giving every Sunday night at the Plaza. It is my greatest honor to be able to learn with such remarkable people!