Goldie Steinberg, who reportedly held the title of the world’s oldest Jewish woman, died on Sunday in Long Beach, NY at the age of 114. According to Chabad.org, Steinberg was the “sixth-oldest person in the world and the oldest Jew, and “remained mentally sharp until her last moments.”
Steinberg was born on October 30, 1900 in Kishinev (or Chișinău), in the Russian Empire, which is now the capital of Moldova. According to Chabad.org, she was one of her parent’s eight children, who were respected members of Kishinev’s “enormous Jewish community.” (The city was destroyed during World War II.) In 1903, Steinberg survived the Kishinev pogrom, an anti-jewish riot. Steinberg was likely the last living survivor of the riots.
Steinberg moved to America in 1923 and settled in the neighborhood of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. She married a jeweler (he died in 1967), had two children, and worked as a seamstress until she was 80 years old. Steinberg then lived completely independently until she was an incredible 104 years old, when she moved into the Grandell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Long Beach where, according to Chabad.org, “she was known for her warmth and consideration for others.”
Rabbi Eli Goodman, co-director of Chabad of the Beaches in Long Beach, told Chabad.org that “[Steinberg] was a tremendously special person.”
“Each year there was a birthday party for her. I attended a number of them, and children from the local Jewish schools would come and sing, and bring her presents. It wasn’t just her old age that made her special; everyone truly looked up to her.”
In 2013, CBS New York reported on Steinberg’s 113th birthday. At the time she was the fourteenth oldest person in the world. She was joined by her 71-year-old daughter and 11-year-old great grandson for the festivities and told CBS she was “Very, very happy.” At the time, CBS also put Steinberg’s age into perspective:
William McKinley was president of the United States when Steinberg was born. When the Wright Brothers flew, Steinberg was 3 years old. She was a teenager during World War I, and was 44 when World War II ended. And when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, Steinberg was already on Social Security.
Here a video from her 112th birthday party:
Reportedly, the current oldest living person is an American woman named Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is over 116 years old.
A 114 year old Japanese woman named Kiyoko Ishiguro has taken Steinberg’s place at number six on the “oldest person living” list. Steinberg replaced Evelyn Kozak, 113, as the oldest Jewish person last year after Kozak passed away.
On her 113th birthday, CBS asked Steinberg what she attributes to her long life. “My children are so happy for me,” she said. “That’s my secret.”
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Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.