Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Chai Journal: Life at the Home…in the Residents’ Words

Everyone knows the Jewish Home celebrated its Centennial last year. But did you know the Home’s resident newsletter – the Chai Journal – also celebrated a milestone? That’s right…2012 was the 10th anniversary of the Chai Journal, a quarterly newsletter written by residents of the Home’s Eisenberg Village (EV) campus. The Chai Journal also features original art by artist-in-residence, Suzanne May, whose talent often graces the cover.

You’re probably wondering how the newsletter came to be…One day, residents Ellis Simon and Jules Berlinsky (of blessed memory) were enjoying a meal in the EV dining room. Ellis wondered aloud why the Home didn’t have a newsletter to let residents know what was going on. He was surprised when Jules responded that, indeed, there had been one in the past, which had unfortunately fallen by the wayside. The two gentlemen decided to try their luck at getting the newsletter started again. Each wrote a few articles, made 50 copies, and circulated them among the residents. The response was so positive, they took the idea to the Home’s administration. It was decided a committee of interested residents would be formed, and a staff person would participate. The residents would write the articles and the Home would print and distribute. The publication would be called the Chai Journal…and, more than 10 years later, it’s still bringing all the latest news from around the EV campus and the Home straight to the residents’ doors. Covering special events, holidays, and other activities, the Chai Journal also includes profiles of residents and Jewish Home staff, plus there’s a little bit of “did you know” in the Around the Village column.

Facilitated by RCFE activity director Jacqui Lewinter, the Chai Journal currently has 7 writers: Helen Bragar, Nettie Freeman, Alice Kulick, Rhoda Levinson, Jeanette Schlesinger, Ellis Simon and Joy Snyder. According to Jacqui, the Chai Journal is a great activity because it provides residents with a responsibility – and a creative outlet - while at the same time being fun. “Basically acting as reporters, our writers do research, which is mentally stimulating, and get to know people they are interviewing at a deeper, more thoughtful level, which is emotionally stimulating,” she explains.

At a recent meeting of the Chai Journal editorial staff, the group talked about their experiences. Here are just a few of their comments:
  • “I enjoy doing interviews…sometimes people tell me more than I ask them for!” ~ Helen Bragar
  • “It’s been a great joy working with Jacqui and the group." ~ Nettie Freeman
  • “I find it very inspirational to be a part of the Chai Journal." ~ Alice Kulick
  • “Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly….I gotta write! Doing interviews gives me an opportunity to ask questions I would never ask in polite society!" ~ Rhoda Levinson
  • “It’s a challenge, and it’s good to be challenged as we grow older.” ~ Jeanette Schlesinger
  • “I love the Home so much that I want everybody to know what a great place this is.” ~ Ellis Simon
  • “Basically it’s a fun thing, and I’m all for fun at this stage of the game!” ~ Joy Snyder
Each issue of the Chai Journal includes articles that run the gamut from heart-warming and touching to entertaining and just plain funny. Many are reprinted on the Jewish Home’s blog or posted on our Facebook page – They’re just too good to keep to ourselves!

For more information about the Chai Journal, please contact Jacqui Lewinter, RCFE activity aide, at (818) 774-3236 or Jacqui.Lewinter@jha.org.

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