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Life-long New Jerseyan was First Employee to Use Electric Typewriter at Bell System’s Western Electric

FREEHOLD, N.J. (Dec. 5, 2022) — While all centenarians like Freehold resident Dorothy Sourifman have lived through countless technological advances, not many have a story like hers to tell. Sourifman, a resident of The Jewish Home for Rehabilitation & Nursing, was the first employee at Western Electric, a Bell System company, to use an electric typewriter.

The life-long New Jerseyan celebrated her 100th birthday this month, with family and staff of the Freehold skilled nursing facility. Committee Member Lester Preston (pictured, left) presented Sourifman with a Freehold Township proclamation.

“What fun to celebrate with Dorothy and her family!” said Randi Rae Treibitz, the facility’s director of life enrichment. “We are so glad Dorothy is with us here at The Jewish Home. She is a special part of our community.”

Sourifman worked as a secretary for 15 years at Western Electric, and during that time, she went to night school, learning shorthand and typing. The centenarian, known for her smarts and work ethic, was a quick study from her earliest days, graduating high school at age 16 and speaking numerous languages. After high school, she first worked as a cookie baker for Burry Biscuit in North Elizabeth.

Born in 1922 in Linden, at home with the help of a midwife to parents who emigrated from Russia, Sourifman is one of six brothers and sisters within their close-knit family. She married William Sourifman, nicknamed “Babe” after Babe Ruth due to his love of playing baseball. The couple raised their three children – Steven, Howard and Marcy – in Roselle and Linden, and Sourifman is now a loving grandmother to two granddaughters, Skylar and Ashley.

Sourifman’s passion for life, learning – and fun! – is evident in all she has accomplished. She was famous among family and friends for baking desserts, particularly her delicious lemon meringue pie, having perfected its often-tricky peaks. A music lover, Sourifman learned to play the piano and also took ballroom dance lessons, coercing her husband to come along; the pair mastered the cha cha, rumba and tango, among others.

The Jewish Home, located at 1151 W. Main St., provides post-hospital care, short-term rehab and long-term residential care. The 150-bed skilled nursing facility also includes a synagogue on premises, provides focused Jewish programming and offers OU certified Glatt Kosher cuisine.

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About The Jewish Home for Rehabilitation & Nursing 

1151 W. Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728

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Media Contact: 
Sandy Crisafulli / Emma Ackel
Caryl Communications
201-796-7788