Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Sending Love and Supplies to Children in Need

On a recent August afternoon, the Zuckerman Board Room at Eisenberg Village (EV) was bustling with busy hands and happy hearts.  About thirty-five EV residents volunteered their time to be part of an international mitzvah to benefit poor Ethiopian Jewish school children in Haifa, Israel. 

An initiative of the Association of Jewish Aging Services (AJAS), Project Avodah, or serving God, is a global effort, partnering AJAS member communities, such as the Los Angeles Jewish Home, with an organization in Haifa.  AJAS secured funding to purchase 360 backpacks for the children.  The Home stepped up to guarantee 100 of the backpacks would be filled with everything needed to start the school year, including a Jewish calendar, notebook dividers, glue, erasers, scissors, markers, crayons, pencils and pens, zippered pencil cases, pencil sharpeners, small calculators, book covers and name tags.

And the residents?  They rolled up their sleeves and got to work.  “We have a mitzvah assembly line going,” exclaimed Rabbi Karen Bender, the Home’s director of spiritual life.  And so it was, with each person adding their particular item, such a box of colorful markers, to the backpack and passing it on to the next person to add their item.  At the end of the line, each backpack was filled with school supplies… and lots of love.

“This is a beautiful thing to do,” said resident Muriel Drucker, “and I’m so happy to be a part of this project.”  Myrtle Feenberg expressed her joy in “reaching out across the generations to help young kids.”  Rhoda Newman and Joyce Horowitz talked about how they “love volunteering and are happy to do this.” 

Their sentiments were echoed by Rabbi Bender, who spoke of the tradition of tzedakah, or charity.  “From a Jewish point of view, even someone who is a recipient of tzedakah should give tzedakah.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our residents to bring cheer to others, and it gives them a sense of purpose and connection.  It’s good for the spiritual health of our residents.”

Thank you to the residents of the Jewish Home for reaching out to the children of Israel with love and compassion.

Generation to Generation Society: Making Waves in the Valley

Delving into cutting edge topics like "How Memory Works in the Brain and How To Make It Work Better, Longer" with internationally recognized speakers, like Dr. Marc Milstein, the Jewish Home's Generation to Generation (G2G) Society offers stimulating gatherings for its members in gratitude for their significant philanthropic investment in the Jewish Home.

On Sunday evening, September 20, Dr. Milstein will be speaking on this topic to our members and guests who might have an interest in learning more about the Generation to Generation Society and perhaps becoming a member.  The event will take place in a private home in Encino.
"We're building a community of Valley donors for now and into the future.  We enjoy each other's company and like to think we are making a difference in the lives of our Jewish Home's seniors and in the community we serve", says Arthur A. Greenberg, G2G Chair.
Earlier in the summer the group became tourists in their own city by enjoying a docent-led architectural tour of downtown Los Angeles, a tasting of sumptuous Italian wines and a delicious dinner at Drago Centro.  The event entitled "An Evening of Good Food & Gratitude", will be an annual complimentary event for members, each year with its own unique twist.
Founded earlier this year, the Generation to Generation Society is the premiere philanthropic venue for Valley based donors who contribute $5,000 or more annually to the Jewish Home through The Executives support group.  The Generation to Generation Society honors these individuals, who are committed to helping fulfill the promise to care for our community's precious seniors, in body, mind and spirit.
With 38 founding member households and growing, it is just beginning and welcomes your involvement and participation. For more information on membership or to join us on September 20, contact Lesley Plachta at Lesley.Plachta@jha.org or (818) 774-3282.

The Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center Welcomes Jerry Wahagheghe

We are proud to announce Jerry Wahagheghe, R.N. has joined the world-renowned staff at the Los Angeles Jewish Home as the director of nursing for the Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer Medical Center (JEKMC). In his new position, Jerry manages and directs the JEKMC's nursing department and will explore new and more efficient ways to serve our senior community.

Jerry was born and raised in Indonesia, and at the age of 19 decided to relocate to Southern California where he would make a living helping those in need. Through hard work and dedication, Jerry has found much success in nursing. After beginning his career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and then a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), Jerry has worked in a variety of capacities within the nursing field, including serving as a charge nurse, nursing supervisor, assistant director of nursing, director of nursing services, and director of clinical services. Along with his distinguished work history at several senior healthcare systems, Jerry's educational background includes an Associate of Science in Nursing and training in licensed vocational nursing from Glendale City College as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Phoenix.
Jerry explains how his past experience has benefitted him in his current position as the director of nursing. "I worked my way up the rungs of the career ladder and, in many ways, my previous professions taught me to respect the duties of each nursing position. Now I am able to better understand the work my team performs on a daily basis and act as a more efficient manager."
JEKMC's CEO-Administrator Ilana Grossman agrees. "Jerry's strong body of knowledge and his unique work experience have positioned him to become a wonderful leader and role model for the staff.  In the short period of time he's been here, he has made great effort to get to know everyone. We are extremely happy to have Jerry on our team."
From the moment he came on board as the director of nursing, Jerry set his sights on ambitious goals for the future. He plans to help maintain and even improve the high quality of care the Home provides to its seniors. While Jerry settles in to his new position, he is taking the time to appreciate being part of the Jewish Home team.
"I've only been at the Home for a little over a month, but my first impression is it is a wonderful organization. Everything we do as a staff is patient driven. The Home is incredibly different than anywhere I've ever worked before — I can see a huge difference in the way we serve the community with such warmth. We all truly care for the seniors." 

The Meaning of the High Holy Days

The High Holy Days begin this year on Sunday, September 13th, with the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Rosh Hashanah comes on Day 1 of the month of Tishre. On Day 10 of the very same month comes Yom Kippur. The eve of Yom Kippur is thus on Tuesday, September 22nd.

But what are these holidays really all about?
We know that in the simplest terms, Rosh Hashanah is the New Year, based upon the birthday of the creation of the world, and Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. Yet there is so much more to the holidays than that.
The Rabbis linked the 10 day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and entitled them "The Days of Awe" or "Yamim Hanora'im." For the Jewish People, this has become a period of transformation. In other words, if you went to every service, ate apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah and fasted on Yom Kippur, but you came out of the 10 day period unchanged, then you missed the entire point of the holiday season.
This is best captured in one particular prayer of the High Holy Days. Do you remember the one that says, "On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who shall live and who shall die?" That image of a Book of Life is haunting, ridiculous or profound, depending upon how you look at it.
With seniors at the Jewish Home, we talk about how this is not to be taken literally. However, everyone can find great meaning in looking at their past—things that have happened to them and things they have done. Indisputable is the idea that our words and actions are imprinted in history and time. We know what we do and say matters, just as we understand what has been said to us and done to and for us matters. Life is therefore meaningful and we are each impactful, no matter where we live or how often we interact with others.
The Unetaneh Tokef, which is the name of the above prayer, crescendos with some brilliant advice: REPENTANCE, PRAYER and TZEDAKAH can remove the severity of the decree. What does this mean? Regardless of your past, regardless of the wounds you may be living with, regardless of the injuries you may have inflicted on others, hopefully unintentionally, but even intentionally, regardless of your mistakes, your biggest regrets, you can change your future via sincere apology, prayer, introspection and giving of yourself through charity or deeds of loving kindness.
Judaism is so optimistic! Judaism is so healing if we allow its blueprint to guide us toward growth and betterment. The power of the High Holy Days is that we are all in it together. Each of us has our own story, our own pain and our own triumphs. But we trek through this invitation of renewal as a community.
Please consider joining the Jewish Home seniors and staff in celebrating the High Holy Days. Services and holidays meals are open to the community on our Eisenberg Village campus in Reseda. Please contact Allison Tepper at (818) 774-3386 or EVRSVP@jha.org for more information. Tickets are required.
You can also reach out to loved ones with our beautiful holiday card, featuring The Twelve Tribes stained glass created more than a century ago. Please contact Denise Horowitz at (818) 774-3324 or Denise.Horowitz@jha.org to purchase.
From everyone at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, we wish you L'Shanah Tovah!

Save the Date! Celebration of Life: Reflections 2015

On Sunday, November 8, 2015, the Los Angeles Jewish Home will host its annual gala, Celebration of Life:  Reflections 2015 honoring its CEO-President, Molly Forrest.  Save the date for what promises to be one of the most exciting events of the year!  Join in our celebration of Molly's twenty years of outstanding service and the future of the Home under her continued visionary leadership.

Celebration of Life:  Reflections 2015 will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  The evening will begin with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. 
Co-chairs for the gala are Cecilia and Jeffrey Glassman, Lenore and Fred Kayne, and Pam and Mark Rubin.  Internationally acclaimed American/Israeli actor and entertainer Mike Burstyn will serve as Emcee with music provided by the Skye Michaels Orchestra.
As always, Celebration of Life:  Reflections 2015 brings the community together to celebrate the spirit of philanthropy that makes the Home's life-enhancing programs possible.  A highlight of the evening is sure to be the premiere of this year's Jewish Home video, which will feature a retrospective of the accomplishments and expansion of the Home's programs and services over the past twenty years under Molly's guidance, as well as plans to serve even more seniors in need in the future.
For more information about Celebration of Life: Reflections 2015, please contact Corey Slavin atCorey.Slavin@jha.org or (818) 774-3031.