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Finding Hope and Happiness: Meet a Shining Star Elaine Kussack-Greenberg

By Jessica Deng

Today we are delighted to share with you the remarkable story of Mrs. Elaine Kussack-Greenberg, a notable woman who possesses endless talents, including those of never giving up and persevering through hardships.Elaine was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and is a true New York native. She is the youngest of three. As a child, Elaine enjoyed listening to her father telling her stories about his childhood in Ukraine. She also enjoyed singing and always had a vision of herself becoming an actress. Her parents didn’t support that vision, however, encouraging her to become a teacher, a far more stable profession.

Elaine did just that – after receiving a bachelor’s degree from CUNY, Hunter College, she obtained a master’s degree in English from Columbia University. Elaine then taught English at Midwood High School in Brooklyn, and it was a gym teacher there who introduced her to her husband, Larry Greenberg, whom she met on a blind date. Greenberg, an officer in the US Air Force, was transferred several times, so Elaine and her growing family lived in several places (Chicago, Buffalo, Cherry Hill, New Jersey). When Lawrence retired from the military, they settled in New Rochelle, New York.

Elaine recalls fondly how Larry was her biggest inspiration, supporter, and the love of her life. He was kind, smart, wonderful, and funny. One day, after expressing dissatisfaction with her teaching career, her husband asked her, “What would you like?” and she responded, “Well, I want to be on Broadway” and he asked, “What’s stopping you?” With Larry’s support, she pursued an acting career, appearing in regional productions in Buffalo and Cherry Hill, such as Regina, Three Penny Opera, and Kiss Me Kate. Larry always supported her, even taking care of the kids when she had to leave on tour for 12 weeks. Elaine remained courageous and constantly reminded herself while being an actress that she was going to make it no matter what and just had to push through. Later, Elaine would travel to Manhattan and slide her head shot under casting agents’ doors, and it paid off (no doubt, at least in part, to her attractive looks). She got auditions, callbacks and actually did make it to Broadway, in Fiddler on the Roof, where she understudied the roles of Golde and Yente. (And the story of Fiddler closely paralleled her own father’s stories of immigrating from Ukraine).

Eventually, Elaine was cast in countless television and movie productions, including “Sex and the City,” “The Good Wife,” and “Law and Order: SVU”. Over the course of Elaine’s life, and through the death of her husband 30 years ago, she has never given up and has enjoyed having relationships with people and has always been an influence on the younger generation. Throughout Elaine’s life she found great joy in making other people happy and her happiest moments are when she could do something that puts a smile on someone and brings people together. Now 93 years old, Elaine feels her dreams have all come true.

Elaine is very proud of her family. Elaine’s daughter, Carin Greenberg, is an award-winning writer and producer of children’s entertainment. Elaine’s son, Chuck Greenberg, owns his own successful insurance agency. Elaine also has three grown grandchildren, Lauren, who works in TV and film production, and David and Lara, who both work at Standards & Poors. David recently earned his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Our Upper West Side Client Relations Manager – Jonathan Lustig with Mrs. Elaine Kussack-Greenberg and caregiver – Elene B.

Today, Elaine resides in the Upper West Side of New York City and is cared for by one of our best and compassionate caregivers Elene. Elene takes great care of Elaine and as Elaine shared with us, “Elene is on the same wavelength as me and it’s like I have another granddaughter.”

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