Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Rabbi Karen Bender Joins the Journey for Justice

This summer, more than 100 rabbis will join the NAACP in the Journey for Justice -- a 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C. The theme of this historic march will focus on the racial inequalities we still face today -- "Our lives, our votes, our jobs, our schools matter." 

Today, the Los Angeles Jewish Home's very own Rabbi Karen Bender joined the march.

"50 years ago a Torah accompanied Martin Luther King Jr.'s march for civil rights in Selma, Alabama. When Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched with King he said he felt as if he was praying with his feet. In this march, a Torah accompanies the 40 day ‪#‎JourneyforJustice from Selma, AL to Washington, DC. Today, I am praying with my feet in NC just as I use my words and my heart to pray every day for this country to become whole. We can overcome racial hatred and will someday achieve true equality -- not only in the eyes of the law but in the every day interactions of people. On this journey, I've met remarkable people -- I have learned so much from these phenomenal, passionate, life-long activists. I am honored to have participated in this historic march for racial justice."

Hebrew Union College Students Visit the Home

Each summer, Hebrew Union College (HUC) students studying at the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management visit Jewish institutions, agencies, and non-profit organizations in the Los Angeles area in a required course called "Introduction to Jewish Communal Institutions." These visits, also known as "Wacky Wednesdays," expose students pursuing careers as Jewish professional leaders to the inner workings of the Jewish non-profit world. On Wednesday, July 15th, the HUC students visited the non-profit Jewish Home's Eisenberg Village campus, met with our corporate officers, and toured of our award-winning facilities.

After CEO-president Molly Forrest welcomed the students, the officers — chief financial officer Sherri Cunningham, chief medical officer Dr. Noah Marco, vice president of planning and community-based services Arnold Possick, and Jewish Home Foundation senior vice president Ira Schreck — offered their perspectives about what makes the Home so special. They discussed the behind the scenes work that goes into ensuring seniors receive quality care, working with the government to receive funding, enhancing community awareness of the Home's services, and ongoing fundraising efforts. Forrest explained there is more to the Home than its campuses. "Aside from being an outstanding source of senior housing in Los Angeles, the Home strives to meet the growing need for senior care within the community. We provide quality care to over 5,000 seniors in our Home and in their own homes each year."

The group was then taken on a tour led by fund development staff member Aaron Levinson (an HUC class of '95 alumnus). As Levinson guided the students through the Home's incredible medical, residential, and community buildings, they were able to see how the Home's staff, leaders, donors, and volunteers worked together to make the Home the incredible place that it is.

Levinson commented on the importance of the visit. "These students are the future leaders of Jewish non-profits and it is imperative they understand how this remarkable organization cares for so many of our community's seniors."

Associate director of the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management Mandi Richardson expressed her gratitude for the presentation and the tour. "Thanks to experiences like this, the students are exposed to both the possibilities and realities they might encounter in their professional lives. The students and I are appreciative for the chance to learn from the exceptional staff of the Los Angeles Jewish Home."

MNO Update - Senate Appropriations Committee Passes AB 1319


With a unanimous vote, the Senate’s Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 1319 (Medically Needy Program Extension) to advance to the Senate floor for a full vote.  Once the bill passes there, it will move on to the governor’s office where he will sign the bill into effect! 

So far, supporters of Bill 1319 have overcome many obstacles and have worked together as a team to persevere. The challenge is almost over, but there is still a bit more to do.  Let’s get the word out about AB 1319.  Contact your local Senate representative and share your support for this bill! 

AB 1319 will make a difference in the lives of over 12,000 California citizens today, and many more in the future.  Help us to fight for the rights of our state’s frail and needy senior population.

As always, we thank you for all of your help and support through the process!

With Kindest Regards, the MNO Project Team

Residents Enjoy Films at the Laemmle Theater

Residents Enjoy Films at the Laemmle Theater
Greg Laemmle, Molly Forrest, and the Home's seniors gather
outside of the Encino Laemmle Theater.
Movies and popcorn. A classic pastime. And, for many of us, it's an integral part of life's enjoyments. Thanks to the efforts of Greg Laemmle, residents from the Los Angeles Jewish Home now enjoy films — as well as popcorn and a soft drink — in the Encino Laemmle Theater.
"This is a generation that remembers going to the movies," said Greg Laemmle of the famed Laemmle family. "Going to the theater was a very special experience. It was a weekly occurrence — if not more often — they remember doing for most of their lives." Laemmle has made sure this enriching experience is still very much part of life for seniors at the Jewish Home by opening the doors of the Laemmle Theatre to the Home's seniors at very agreeable rates.
"We try to give back to the community. One way is to make going to the movies accessible for seniors. 
Our overall philosophy is to keep pricing low so more in the community can enjoy going out to see movies in a theater. This keeps the theater experience accessible to our community's seniors," added Laemmle.

According to Jewish Home CEO Molly Forrest, "75% of Jewish Home residents rely upon Medi-Cal. Low income seniors are often on very tight budgets and don't have discretionary funds for going to the movies and other social activities. Through the generosity of Greg Laemmle, many of our residents are enjoying the movies!"
This is particularly important for Jewish Home residents who are considered "Medically Needy Only." Forrest explains, "These seniors, who are on government assistance, only receive $20 per month as a personal allowance. $20 needs to cover a wide range of necessities including over the counter drugs, clothing, personal items such as hearing aid batteries, shampoo, Kleenex and other such items. Obviously $20 cannot cover basic necessities much less pay for telephone service, beauty/barber service or an occasional lunch out or movie going experience."
Getting out into the community for social occasions is beneficial for the well-being of seniors. At all ages, it is important to stay active, socialize and enjoy stimulating activities.  Resident Priscilla Siegel concurs. "This is excellent! What a wonderful idea. Movies are a great escape from everyday life. It is also a way to see different ways of living."
"I've lived in this community for more than 40 years," explained resident Jeanette Crane. "This theater is like home to me! I love film and enjoy being able to still see movies here."
Activities Director Caryl Geiger notes that "the residents always come away from the movie experience with divergent views and lively discussions."
Jewish Home resident Rhoda Newman sums it up best, "I really look forward to going to the theater. It is a great form of entertainment."

The Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center Centenarian Club

We are proud to announce that 19 of our 239 residents living at the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center at LAJH are 100 years of age or older. Six of these centenarians are 100 years of age and include Albert Weber, Vivian Toplinski, Pearl Pondel, Ben Weisel, Helen Jacobs and Rose Pomonik. Five members of the group are 101 years of age: Kate Tobias, Gertie Tennenbaum, Faye Dragon, Annette Halpern, and Dorothy Goldman. Two of the centenarians are 102: Maria Rosenstein and Michael Shiller. The four centenarians who are 103 are Ana Parker, Estelle Curtis, Frederika Frank and Morris Steinberg. Our 104 year old is Marion Stern. 

The final member of the group is our 105 year old, the magnificent Edna Shankman. Edna was visited this past week by a small group of relatives who flew in from the east coast to celebrate her 105th birthday with cupcakes, kisses, flowers, and balloons! Edna was presented with three certificates from the mayor and city councilman’s representatives. She was smiling and joking with everyone, thrilled that her family was all there to celebrate her special day.

Over the years, this group of sage seniors have shared many words of wisdom with us. Here are a few of our favorites: Stay young at heart and try new things like yoga classes and tai chi and other things that improve your balance and make you stronger. Don’t worry so much, just try to live and go with the flow. Eat good food, not too much junk. Sleep and have sex. Move and exercise every day. Make friends. Keep in touch with the outside world so you don’t get lonely. Remember to laugh and don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn how to use the internet! And last but not least, believe, have faith, and pray for the best.

Devorah Small-Teyer, M.S.W., A.C.S.W.
Director of Social Services
Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center