“UJA provided funding to a nursery school and we received a great discount on our fees,” Fannie says. “The school made a real difference in my son’s life, and I never forgot that generous discount.”
It’s a familiar story. But what makes Fannie’s story so remarkable is that she’s still telling it today — 60 years after the fact. Fannie is 98 years-old and her mind remains alert, her memory sharp.
Back in the 1960s, to show her appreciation, she started giving to UJA annually.
Fannie has kept that memory — and her donations — active for six decades, placing her in the ranks of UJA’s Heritage Society that includes donors who have been long-time supporters.
As Fannie reflects on her life, she shares some of her experiences and insights that come with her longevity.
Fannie spoke only Yiddish until she was six years old, when she moved with her family from Poland to Brownsville in 1928. She attended college at night and graduated from City College. A homemaker while her children were young, Fannie later became a junior high school English teacher until she retired in 1977.
After her husband died, she moved to Manhattan to take advantage of the city’s museums and concerts.
“I was on a budget but I tried to live a full life,” Fannie says and adds she enjoyed traveling but always made the cheapest accommodations.
“I’ve had my ups and downs, cancer, a fall, but thank God,” she says, “I was able to overcome them.”
In recent years, her son (long graduated from nursery school) has become Fannie’s caregiver and they now live together in her apartment.
What’s Fannie’s guiding principle for a good life?
“Be a mensch.”
Thanks, Fannie, for showing us how it’s done.