America’s Oldest Living Person Is a Hadassah Member
Two Jewish women’s organizations—Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women—got an unlikely plug this month with news that a 113-year-old Jewish woman in Worcester, Massachusetts, is now the oldest person in the United States.
Goldie Michelson, a Hadassah Life Member since 1964, attained the distinction after Susannah Mushatt-Jones of Brooklyn, the previous title-holder at 116 years old, died on May 12, according to news reports. Michelson, a member of the Greater Worcester Chapter of Hadassah, is also reportedly the world’s oldest living Jew.
Michelson attributes her longevity to lots of walking—sometimes four to five miles a day in her younger years—never smoking or drinking and lots of chocolate, according to a CLARK Magazine article from Fall 2012, when she was interviewed for her 110th birthday.
Michelson, born Goldie Corash in Russia in 1902, immigrated to Worcester along with her father, mother and two brothers when she was 2 years old. Her father, a former medical student, opened a dry goods store. Michelson attended the Women’s College of Brown University, later Pembroke University, graduating with a degree in sociology in 1924, followed by a master’s degree from Clark University.
Her thesis focused on why Jewish immigrants in the area weren’t pursuing American citizenship, inspired, according to a Worcester Telegram article, by her involvement with Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women.
“I found that they were scared to death of the language, and never believed they would be able to learn it,” she told CLARK Magazine.
She met her husband, David Michelson, through one of her brothers, according to the CLARK article. Their daughter, Renee, was born in 1931. Michelson and her family shared a lifelong passion for theater, from teaching neighborhood children to performing to having a local theater named after her. She also set up the David and Goldie Michelson Drama Fund at Clark University.