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South Orange Resident Honored as an Essex County Legend

Caryn Starr-Gates

Sunday, June 1, 2014 • 7:50am

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Older Americans Month is observed in Essex County, N.J. with a special ceremony to honor local seniors who have contributed to and improved their communities in various ways. Jeannie Ginsberg, a resident of Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation in South Orange, was among the honorees this year at the 8th Annual Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration. Awards were given out by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo at the event on May 14 in Newark, which was co-sponsored by the Essex County Division of Senior Services.

Ginsberg and her fellow honorees were chosen because they are positive role models for the younger generation, have worked tirelessly to assist fellow seniors and made tremendous contributions to improve the quality of life. She was nominated by Frances Bucien, coordinator of the JCC Essex County Kosher Nutrition lunch program at Village Apartments. Village Apartments is one of four senior living communities owned and managed by the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) in Essex and Morris counties.

A native of Newark, Ginsberg started her career in early childhood education as director of the Playhouse cooperative preschool in 1951, which was located in South Orange. She developed an inclusive environment through her personal ABCs: acceptance, brotherhood and compassion. Children were encouraged to engage in hands-on play, learn from nature and to respect each other. Parents were encouraged to participate as well which created enduring friendships among the Playhouse families through the years.

Growth in enrollment led to a move to a larger facility in West Orange where it still stands, and where it was able to cater to a larger population of children from throughout Essex County. In recognition of Essex County’s diverse community, Ginsberg spearheaded what were considered innovations at the time—offering registration materials in Spanish and charged tuition on a sliding scale—along with fostering respect for different cultures and backgrounds among the youngsters, many who later sent their own children there. Playhouse continues Ginsberg’s tradition of open play, exploration, and learning to get along with others.

“I have spent my entire life doing what I love and helping little ones to do the same,” Ginsberg said of her fifty-year career. “When people ask me how to make the world a better place, I tell them to start with young people.”

Today, Ginsberg, age 94, leads a quiet life at Village Apartments, an independent living senior residence located at 110 Vose Avenue in the heart of South Orange. For more information about Village Apartments, visit www.jchcorp.org or contact Site Manager Cheryl Kasye at (973) 763-0999.

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