Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

MNO Update - AB 1319 Moves on to Appropriations Committee

On July 9th, AB 1319 (Medically Needy Program Extension) was passed unanimously by the Senate Health Committee. The bill will be presented at the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on August 17th. Visit the California Legislative site and enter "1319" in the quick search box on the upper right hand corner for the latest updates on this bill.

Associates-IMC to Bestow Honors at Tree of Life Luncheon

With summer already here, Associates-IMC, the premier women's support group of the Jewish Home, has been busily planning for its 85th Tree of Life Luncheon to be held on Tuesday, August 18, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Two exceptional individuals, whose commitment to the Home and Jewish community is unparalleled, will be honored: Diane Miller will receive the Zelda White "Woman of the Year" Achievement Award, and Rick Bender will be recognized with this year's Humanitarian Award.

As a prelude to the August fundraiser, a beautiful afternoon reception was recently held at the home of Earl Greinetz, one of the organization's fundraising vice presidents. Board members and friends had an opportunity to congratulate each of the honorees. After Florence Gorlin, luncheon chair, welcomed everyone and thanked the honorees for their dedication, she shared the many reasons why Diane and Rick are so deserving of their honors.
At the Jewish Home, Diane has served as president of The Associates and founded Operation Friendship, the group's foremost resident-involved program. She currently serves as Parliamentarian of the board of directors of Associates-IMC. Diane also chairs the organization's Author's Day program and the annual Installation Luncheon.
Rick has served on the board of directors of the Home since 1978 and currently serves as vice-chair of the Home's budget & finance committee. He has also served as president of The Guardians, another long-standing support group of the Jewish Home. In addition, Rick was instrumental in the formation of the Home's Marilyn & Monty Hall Statesman's Society.
The Tree of Life Luncheon will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a multi-vendor boutique and Opportunity Drawing. At noon, the doors of the Beverly Hills Ballroom will open, and guests will be invited to take their seats in the stunningly decorated venue. Following a welcome by president Madeleine Rosenberg and a Jewish Home update from CEO-President Molly Forrest, lunch will be served. Entertainment will be performed by pianist and vocalist Larry Lederman.
Honorary chairs of the event include Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Marion Goldenfeld, Sandy and Bill Goodglick, Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer & Mel Keefer, Evy Lutin, Malkah Schulweis, Edna Weiss, Drs. Hannah and Robert Wexler, and Rabbi David Wolpe.
Event chairs for the luncheon are Terri Bloomgarden, Joy Brook, Roberta Delevie, Earl Greinetz, Claire Kunin, Linda Matloff, Nancy Salka, Melinda Seltzer, Sandra Stackler, and Gloria Stoddard.
By attending the Tree of Life Luncheon and/or purchasing a tribute journal ad or sponsorship opportunity, you will be sustaining the thousands of seniors the Home serves each year through its extraordinary continuum of care.
Associates-IMC extends its gratitude to Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer and Mel Keefer for underwriting this year's luncheon.
We welcome your support and hope you will contact the Associates-IMC office at 818-774-3375 orDebbie.Fishel@jha.org for additional information.

Telling Your Story: A Way to Cope and Share Memories

Over the years, healthcare professionals, especially those who work in end-of-life care, have tried a variety of therapies to help people cope with the reality of their death. Dr. Harvey Chochinov, a psychiatrist at the University of Manitoba, did extensive studies to determine what troubled people most about dying. The answer he found: the idea that they would cease to exist after their death. To address this fear, Dr. Chochinov created Dignity Therapy, an opportunity for the dying to assert themselves by telling the story of their life.

Dr. Chochinov compiled a list of questions designed to help the person focus on the story they wanted to tell, such as:
  • What parts of your life do you remember most or think are most important?
  • When did you feel most alive?
  • What are the most important roles you have played in your life?
  • Are there particular things you feel need to be said to your loved ones?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for your loved ones?
After the interview, a document would be presented to the family; in some cases, an audio transcription would be recorded. Their loved one's words would live on forever.
At the Jewish Home's Skirball Hospice, a similar program began in 2014. Led by volunteer coordinator Lee Rothman, M. Ed., M.A., Skirball Hospice offers their patients the opportunity to create a life review video. Using Dr. Chochinov's questions as a guide, the patient is filmed talking about their life experience and sharing their most precious thoughts. "We find the questions are helpful for most people," explains Lee. "For others, they have a particular story they want to tell."
Family members are encouraged to share photos that can be incorporated into the video. The final version is copied to a DVD and/or thumb drive and given to the family.
On her 93rd birthday, Anne Stern (of blessed memory) shared her life story on video. In preparation for filming, her daughter, Joan, went through a lifetime of photos with Anne. "We looked though the photos and talked about the people in them and the events taking place" says Joan. "My husband and I watched the video at my mother's bedside during her last days. Though she wasn't awake, I feel as if she may have been listening." Since then, Joan has shared the video with family and close friends. "The video is a priceless gift of memories to cherish always, and also gave me more insight into my mother's experiences and how they shaped her. I am so grateful to Skirball Hospice for making this opportunity possible."
"With each family we are learning more about what is meaningful at the end of life and how the process can help families grow closer and potentially heal old wounds before their loved one dies," says Lee. "Each video is unique to the person telling their story."
According to Dr. Ira Byock, a pioneer in the field of palliative medicine and hospice care in the United States, we can view the time at the end of life as a developmental stage, such as adolescence or mid-life. According to Dr. Byock, "This developmental crisis, this notion that life is coming to an end, has lots of capacity for suffering, but there is obviously a capacity to grow from this experience, too." Lee would like to think "the life review video project gives the patient and their family a chance to grow and heal until the end of life."
The life review video team is made up of a staff member (spiritual counselor, social worker or volunteer) who is close to the patient, a volunteer videographer and volunteer film editor. "We greatly appreciate our volunteers for playing such a big part in making this special memory possible," says Lee.
For more information about volunteering with Skirball Hospice or the life review video program, please contact Lee Rothman, volunteer coordinator, at Lee.Rothman@jha.org or (818) 774-3040.

MNO Update - Bill 1319 Passes Through the Health Committee!

Assembly Bill 1319 (Medically Needy Program Extension) passed another hurdle and was approved by the Senate’s Health Committee! With the approval of just one more committee, our bill will be in the hands of Governor Jerry Brown. Thank you for all of your support – we are so close to our goal of significantly improving the lives of California’s Medically Needy seniors.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Red Hat Society 2015 Barbecue

On Tuesday, June 2nd, over 100 members of Eisenberg Village's Shayna Punim chapter of the Red Hat Society assembled in Bagno Park for a barbecue. The annual event, sponsored by Gerrie Wormser and John N. Levi, Jr., was the largest gathering of the Home's Red Hat Society chapter on record.

Decorations in red and purple — the society's colors — adorned tables and chairs. Gorgeous edible centerpieces of sweet seasonal berries, grapes, and plums ornamented each table. Jewish rock group YA'ALEH took the stage and performed original Hebrew songs inspired by liturgical texts as well as classic favorites like Let it Be and Hey Jude. Society members enjoyed the backyard barbeque staples of pink lemonade, iced tea, potato chips, beef ribs, hot dogs, and hamburgers, along with all the traditional condiments and toppings.

After lunch, attendees enjoyed a beautiful dance recital performed by three members of the City Ballet of Los Angeles while indulging in delectable miniature cakes. On their way out, guests took turns posing for pictures with fun props in a photo booth.

Eisenberg Village resident Esther Berlin is quite a fan of the Red Hat Society events. "When they do something right, they sure do it right," says Esther. "I've been at the Jewish Home for the past 12 years and I've always attended Red Hat events. Every party has been better than the last. Gerrie and John always arrange for us to have the best entertainment and the best food at the best venues. It's wonderful!"

For Gerrie, sponsoring Red Hat events is an incredibly rewarding experience. "I started getting involved with the Red Hat Society over a decade ago. Each year, we all look forward to getting together and enjoying each other's company. Organizing these events for the residents brings me so much joy. I feel great when I see them having such a good time."
Please click here to view photos from the 2015 Red Hat Society Barbecue.
Special thanks to Gerrie Wormser, John N. Levi, Jr., YA'ALEH, the City Ballet of Los Angeles, the Jewish Home's dietary and housekeeping departments, and our community volunteers for making this event such an incredible success.