Age has no limits for longtime supporters of Shaare Zedek

Ninety-year-old Goldie Abers has been supporting Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center since the early 1950s.

So has 97-year-old Wally Rothschild.

And Teresa Carnoy, now in her 80s, a longtime supporter, ran women's bridge games to benefit the nursing school there.

Though they are quick to say they don't deserve it, the Jerusalem hospital's Century Partners are being honored Tuesday at an annual 1998 Jerusalem Award Dinner at San Francisco's Westin St. Francis Hotel.

The fund-raiser, honoring supporters as they near a century of life, is sponsored by the Northwest region of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

"I feel it's unnecessary," said Abers. "I don't deserve anything like that. I feel very humbled."

The Jerusalem Partnership Award will be presented to eight people in their 80s and 90s as well as to one supporter posthumously at the annual event.

Dr. Nora Goldschlager, a cardiologist and professor at UCSF, will receive the Maimonides Award for her contributions to medicine. John Loftus, author of "The Secret War Against the Jews," is the guest speaker.

Abers, a San Francisco resident, has been a board member, volunteer and major donor.

"You cannot go through life thinking only of yourself," she said. "Besides, it gives you something to do."

Abers visited the hospital on a trip to Israel in 1959.

"I believe both in the need for Israel and for that kind of hospital. It's a very important component of the city of Jerusalem."

A teaching hospital affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Shaare Zedek was established in 1902. It serves patients regardless of their ability to pay and accommodates observant Jews. The local chapter of the hospital's American committee was formed in 1980, though individuals have been raising money informally for years.

Rothschild is one of the oldest members of the group being honored. She has supported the hospital since the early `50s, when she moved from Chicago to San Francisco, where she still lives. A visit to Shaare Zedek's nursery in 1970 reaffirmed her commitment.

"They are well taken care of there," she said.

Carnoy, who has aided the hospital for about 25 years, echoed Abers' modesty about being named a Century Partner.

"I'm happy that they honor me, but I'm nobody important," she said.

Nonetheless, by organizing bridge games in homes and restaurants for about a decade, Carnoy estimates that she helped raise $80 a month for the nursing school.

"We had lunch first. Somebody made salmon or tuna salad, cakes or fruit," Carnoy recalled. "It was very nice and very wonderful. It was social, and good for Shaare Zedek."

Rothschild, too, recalls the bridge parties as a combination of shmoozing and tzedakah.

"You meet people and you talk to people and you know you do something good," she said.

Carnoy, a San Francisco resident who attends Congregation Sherith Israel, stopped running the games last year because many of the bridge players had difficulty traveling. But her commitment to tzedakah is lifelong.

Raised in an observant home in Warsaw, she says she got her values from her family.

"My father never said no," she said. "They always helped people. If you are told at home that you have to help people, when you grow up you know this."

Also being honored are San Francisco residents Golda Kaufman, Harry Blumenthal, Sidi Ermann, Sabina Lambert, Betty Leland and the late Eric Livingston, who died at 100. His widow, Greta, will accept on his behalf.