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October 04, 2012 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-10-04

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Millie and


Aaron Berg

that helps workers in Israel. They have
also generously donated a great deal
of their time and money to supporting
Jewish federations, both here and in
Florida. Aaron says he has been chari-
tably assisting the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit longer than any
other living individual.
It's not just Jewish organizations that
the Bergs have gladly supported.
"One time I went to a doctor after
being in an awful car accident, and I
couldn't understand why he wasn't going
to charge me:' said Millie. "The doc-
tor recognized our last name and knew
that Aaron had been donating money to
his mother's church for many years. For
that reason he did not charge me. Aaron
could never turn anyone away. Many
times priests would stop by the furniture
store and ask for donations, and Aaron
would happily contribute to their cause."

Time For Fun

72 Years Together

A marriage based on love and respect.

Sue Pearl I Special to the Jewish News


When Aaron was 23, his mother
encouraged him to leave his homeland
of Lithuania, travel to America and
come live with his older sister in Detroit.
His father (a rabbi), his mother and
four other siblings decided to stay in
Lithuania and were all tragically killed by
Prior to arriving in America, Aaron
had already earned his degree in account-
ing. Once he was settled in Detroit, he
got involved in the furniture business.
He eventually became the manager of a
furniture store and then, not long after,
opened up his own store called Senate
Millie was born and raised in Detroit
with three other siblings. She attended
Central High School. After graduating,
she went to work for her family's mille-
nary business.

Beginning Of A Long Romance

When they first met, Millie was 17
and Aaron was 27. "Aaron and I met at
Michigan and Junction in the midst of a
widening project on Michigan Avenue,"
said Millie. "In those days, the beginning
of a big construction project was treated


October 4 • 2012

as a huge social event. It was one big
party atmosphere filled with music and
people watching. Aaron happened to be
there with a friend who was dating my
sister. Aaron looked over and saw me and
the next day he sent me flowers."
Their first date was at Eastwood
Gardens on East Jefferson, Millie remem-
bers. "There were a lot of big band musi-
cians playing, including Benny Goodman.
Aaron and I had a ball, dancing up a
storm. Three months later we were
engaged, and a year later we were mar-
The Bergs rented an upper flat in
Detroit but were forced to move abruptly
after becoming victims of anti-Semitism.
They found a note on their windshield
that read, "You aren't welcome here." The
Bergs left, moving to a third floor walk-
up. After a year or so, they purchased
their first house on Ohio Street, still
remaining in Detroit.
The Bergs moved to Huntington Woods
in 1950 where they raised their four chil-
dren: a daughter and three sons.
"Our house was where all the kids hung
out," said Millie. "We had all the school
parties, the barbeques, and the Boy Scout
and Girl Scout functions. All our kids'
friends loved coming to our home. In

fact, till this day, they still call us to see
how we are doing."

Giving Back

As much as the Bergs have always
enjoyed having fun, they are very serious
when it comes to charity work and volun-
"I worked very hard in the furniture
business, but I was also lucky," said Aaron.
"I always believed in giving back. People
should be kind, not selfish."
Early in their marriage, Aaron took
every Friday off work and sold American
Savings Bonds and stamps.
"The Army wouldn't take me because I
had an ulcer," he said, "so this became a
way for me to do something for my coun-
try. For many years Millie also volun-
teered, working for Red Cross and March
of Dimes, walking door to door, soliciting
Their support also went toward Israel.
"Years ago, we also gave money to Israel's
underground:' Aaron said. "They came to
us once at 2 a.m. asking for money. I just
couldn't say no."
The Bergs have been charter members
at the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Washington, D.C., and have
supported Histadrut, an organization

The Bergs have always been a very socia-
ble couple. They had a group of friends
who affectionately called themselves
"The 1940 Group" because they were
all married that same year. There were
20 couples in the group, and once a year
— every year since 1989 — they would
all get together and have one huge party
celebrating all the couple's anniversaries.
"Sadly, there are only three couples left
now," said Millie.
The Bergs continue to lead a busy
life. After his son's urging, Aaron finally
gave up driving at the age of 99, handing
the job over to his wife. The Bergs live
in their own home in Bloomfield Hills,
and for six months out of the year they
live in Florida. They eat breakfast out
almost every morning and also go out
to dinner several nights a week, usually
at the Knollwood Country Club in West
Bloomfield where they are longtime
Millie plays bridge a couple days a
week. Aaron still plays gin. Aaron also
loved playing golf and has only just
recently given up the game. At 86, he was
the oldest man ever to get a hole-in-one
at Knollwood.
"Our good fortune in getting old is that
we have lived to see a lot of nachas from
our children, our 11 grandchildren and
now our four great-grandchildren," said
Millie, who speaks with many of her chil-
dren on a daily basis including several of
them living out of state. "We are so very
proud of our family. We are truly blessed.
Every single morning we thank God that
we are still alive."
Aaron sums up his life with a Hebrew
saying that he firmly believes in:
"Fortunate is the person who is happy
with his lot."
And as simple as it sounds, it sure
seems to be working for Aaron and Millie

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