By Sabina Mollot
Ahuva Ellner, a Stuyvesant Town resident and hospice nurse, has, for the past several months, actively worked to spread the magic of Mah Jongg.
Though the ancient board-and-tile game has, for decades, enjoyed tremendous popularity among seniors and Jewish women (like Ellner), she’s recently noticed heightened interest from younger players. Now, she’s trying to recruit more players of all ages, at least locally.
Around Valentine’s Day, Ellner organized a game for neighbors at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center and since then has continued to organize Mah Jongg luncheons for the growing group at various locations.
For Ellner, who’s now semi-retired, the game has been part of her life since childhood, when her mother would host friends for games while vacationing in the bungalows of upstate Monticello.
“I would watch my mom and I would hear the tiles clattering. I would hear that distinctive noise of the tiles and the women calling ‘3 dot, 4 crak.’ I was mesmerized.”