Selma Arwas celebrated her 100th birthday on 7th May with her family including her granddaughter and her two great grandchildren, Jake, who was born just 12 days before her 100th birthday celebration and Joshua, who is 5. Selma was presented with a card from Her Majesty The Queen by The Mayor of Barnet, Hugh Rayner at Jewish Care’s Ella & Ridley Jacobs home in Hendon, where she has been a resident since September last year. Friends and staff joined the centenarian in her celebration of this landmark achievement.
Born in Cairo on 7 May 1915 to Russian parents who emigrated to Egypt, Selma was married to her husband, Elli, for 64 years who lived to 102 years old before sadly passing away in 2007. Together, Elli and Selma had their son Maurice who was born in the French Hospital in Cairo in 1945. They lived in Cairo until Selma was 41 and the family were forced to leave Egypt by President Nasser’s hostile regime. When Selma arrived in London in 1956 she spoke Arabic, Italian, Greek, French but only Maurice spoke English and the family received support from The Jewish Board of Guardians.
They lived in Holland Park before moving to Stamford Hill and later to Golders Green. Elli was a cinema manager at the Ambassador Cinema on Kingsland Road near Dalston Junction and Selma says, “I enjoyed watching films and going to the theatre, I looked after my family and I liked to cook, make rugs and sew and today I love to see my family.”
Jewish Care Living Well Programme Coordinator, Pawel Moczulewski, said, “It was wonderful to celebrate Selma’s party with her family and the presentation of the birthday card from Her Majesty the Queen by the Mayor of Barnet made the occasion even more of a landmark. She has seen so much across two continents, including two world wars in her lifetime and is a remarkable living history of the past century.”