Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Nothing to Do? Do Something About It

From the Spring 2011 version of The Chai Journal

By Jewish Home Resident Helen Bragar, 84

You can start perking up the doldrums by attending the exercise class with Shelly, the T'ai Chi class with Greg, or the Chair Yoga class with Rosemary (my favorite). Norm and I have been at the Jewish Home for about four months, and we're enjoying ourselves immensely. After thirty or more years of not knitting, under Arts & Crafts Director Radka Falk's care and supervision, I've already made two baby blankets for two great-grandchildren. We knitters and crocheters have a great time joking, laughing, and/or gossiping any day of the week — except Shabbas, of course. If you don't have plans to make something for your family, fabulous Radka will find something for you to do. Her favorite words, "Keep knitting," are heard at least five times a day. Norman has returned to painting after twenty-three years. Now it's hard to keep him away from his easel. He has completed two paintings and has three others in the works.

The volunteers who work in the Arts & Crafts room are amazing. For knitting on Monday there are Sandy E., Sue Madeline, Bernice, Laura, and Marlene. For the artists on Tuesday, there is Beverly, who teaches, plus Sylvia, Iris, and Lucille. For knitters on Wednesday there is Sandy K., who teaches, plus Minnie Mollie, Shirley, Esther, Joanne, Leigh, and Nan (who brings luscious desserts for the class). For the Thursday Ceramics class there are Charo, Rose, Joan, and Elsie. And on Friday mornings, there is Radka for baking delicious mandel broit that is sold in the dining room.

Activity Director Caryl Geiger heads our Drama Group, our Choir, wonderful memory classes, and is in charge of lunch, movie, theater, and museum outings, as well as obtaining wonderful entertainers for Sunday afternoons. She also arranges get-togethers with school children. It's always refreshing to see and be with smart young people. Different types of fun word, vocabulary, and trivia games are led by our other Activity Director, Jacqui Lewinter. She is in charge of theater and concert outings on Sundays and heads our Chai Journal Committee. Jacqui's in-depth knowledge, coupled with her sense of humor, makes her "Hooray for Hollywood" classes a real crowd pleaser. She also heads the Movie Committee, and most recently added the Library Committee to her schedule.

Then there's the Men's Group, now headed by resident David Glicker, which offers monthly discussion meetings as well as lunch outings and other outside activities such as recently attending a taping of "Wheel of Fortune."

You are missing a wonderful experience if you don't spend Thursday mornings with Joel Lish. Joel, a former music teacher, is an accomplished viola player who has unlimited knowledge about composers, the history of music, and performers. he spends close to an hour playing and then showing either a movie or an opera on the screen. Sometimes he invites other musicians to perform with him and has performed with his orchestra on Sunday afternoons.

Not to be missed are the informative lecture/discussion sessions led by Rabbi Sheldon Pennes and Rabbi Rita Hertzberg. There is a Yiddish Group led by volunteer Murray Kaplan, and, of course, there's Bingo several times a week hosted by residents Ira Durlester and Jeanette Schlesinger, or Ellis Simon, or sponsored by outside organizations.

If none of the above can get you involved, you can always scrounge up players for mah jongg, bridge, Rummikub, gin rummy, Scrabble, or backgammon on your own. There are probably some activities which I am unaware of and left out, or try a new one that you've never tried before. Please get yourself out and do something. Socializing has been proven beneficial to us senior citizens.

Helen & Norman Bragar
The Chai Journal is a quarterly publication written entirely by residents at the Los Angeles Jewish Home.

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