Meet Lily Morgenthaler, 98 years young and a holocaust survivor. Lily is just one of 50 homebound elderly persons that JFS Orlando Volunteers delivered hot kosher meals for the Thanksgiving holiday. Lily was born in Poland and married in 1938 just before the war. Her husband, Harry, and her were sent to separate work farms (concentration camps). She shared her memories of when food consisted of watery soup made with rotten vegetables and mostly no meat, a few ounces of bread, a bit of margarine, and tea. Lily said, “I survived by working hard. No work. No eat. So we did what we had to do. That was it.” Reunited after the war, her family immigrated over to the U.S. via Ellis Island, settling in New York and eventually making their way down to Florida to be near her grandchildren. She now has a legacy of 13 great-grand children. “There may be more. I’ll have to think about that,” she says with a laugh.

IMG_0398Linda Ackerman, shown here with Lily, is one of our fabulous volunteers who delivered the meals. Linda has been delivering holiday meals for many years and has developed a special bond with Lily over the years, which includes welcoming her into her home for the high holidays. “She is so sharp. Lily’s mind wonders a bit, but whose wouldn’t at 98? It’s an honor to know her.”


Eric Geboff, JFS Orlando Executive Director shared that, “While this Holiday Meals program may provide hot, nutritious food for older adult shut-ins, it is much more than that. For many of those who received the meals, the volunteers may have been their only visitors in the past week. The delivery and conversation that ensured brought a ray of sunshine to an otherwise lonely life. Yes, we feed the hungry; clothe the naked; and provide hope to the downtrodden. But we also positively impact the lives of thousands in our community. This is our tradition and these are our actions every day of the year.”

Thank you to the Congregation Ohev Shalom Orlando, United Synagogue Youth (USY) Teens and the Congregation of Reform Judaism’s Social Action Committee for putting together Thanksgiving goodie bags!