Friday, September 26, 2014
Hawaiian Culture Comes to Jewish Home
Each summer, Grancell and Eisenberg Village campus residents are treated to a festive luau-themed party. Participants are given the opportunity to enjoy a celebration with island inspired decorations, relaxing Hawaiian harmonies, and tasty tropical treats. This year, there were a few extra surprises in store for those in attendance.
At Grancell Village, residents enjoyed the musical stylings of the Van Bloem Singers. The merry band of troubadours performed the songs of the islands with a little help from musical director Elaine Paonessa and piano accompanist Bob Brandzel. Residents enjoyed spirited renditions of ballads from "South Pacific" and "The King and I" as well as favorites "Blue Hawaii" and "Tiny Bubbles."
A few miles east, Eisenberg Village residents took in some beautiful Polynesian dancing courtesy of the Granada Hills Aloha Hula Dance Studio. Hula dancers Maeva, Sandy, Danya and Luisa entertained their audience with impressive hulas from Hawaii and Tahiti. Residents were also given a crash course on Hawaiian dancing, language, and culture. They learned the meaning of the words 'aloha,' 'mahalo,' 'wahine,' and 'keiki.' At the end of the event, residents participated in some brain stimulating trivia to measure the extent of their retention.
After an eventful day, attendees were asked to reflect on the party and surprise performances. New Eisenberg Village residents David and Rhoda Newman particularly enjoyed the event. "This was my first time at a luau — I loved it. My husband David did too. He usually falls asleep at events, but he didn't shut his eyes for a second here!" In response, David said, "How could I ever! Those hula girls were incredible. I'm very impressed with their captivating performance."
Much like the average family vacation, these luaus are designed to give participants a break from their daily lives. Activities team leader Amanda Powell states, "We host a Hawaiian luau every summer. Because our residents don't have the means to go on vacation, we bring the vacation to them. We want them to enjoy a relaxing tropical atmosphere without leaving the comfort and safety of the Home. We hope the residents enjoy the event as much as we enjoy hosting it."