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Chronicles SPRING 2019


Our JCHC communities each offer something different for seniors— independent living, assisted living, memory care, and affordable housing options in various settings. Our seniors enjoy a diverse selection of great programs and events that enrich their lives. But what’s more remarkable is the diversity among the residents who make our communities their home. JCHC communities are a true melting pot. Our residents come from a rich tapestry of backgrounds that, woven together, have created beautifully diverse communities. They come from the NY/NJ metro area and from distant lands; they follow different faiths and traditions, and grew up in different cultures. Many have traveled extensively, others enjoyed interesting careers, while others cultivated eclectic hobbies. Together, they celebrate holidays, mark lifecycle events, attend JCHC University seminars, discover shared or new interests, and gather for conversation at socials or over a meal. Over the years, some of our seniors have applied their skills, knowledge, or interests to creating programs for their fellow residents, from mindfulness & meditation classes to English as a second language (you’ll read about some of those in this issue of JCHC Chronicles). Some are contributing to the community newsletters, leading discussion groups, and putting together card games to enjoy with each other. These are some of the ways in which our diverse group of residents are creating true community for and with each other. Part of the strength of each JCHC community lies in its diversity and how our residents come together to support each other. To quote former president George H.W. Bush when he referred to our nation’s many communities, “. . . a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light spread in a broad and peaceful sky.” Harold Colton-Max Chief Executive Officer

“Revolving Doors” Continues at LESTER SENIOR LIVING In 2017, the memoir writers at Lester Senior Living engaged in “Revolving Doors,” a year-long project in collaboration with animation students at Holon Institute of Technology in Israel. Facilitated by Paul Rabinowitz, executive director of ARTS By The People, the project entailed creating multi-media films of selected memoirs, which were screened in Tel Aviv and then here at the JCC in Whippany. The project was so successful, and such a joy for our resident writers, that another version of Revolving Doors was done in late 2018, with 12 short films created by dance and film students at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York. The films were previewed in mid-January to a packed house in the Lester cinema. The memoir writers involved in the project are: Thelma Brodkin (“On What Would I Splurge”), Elaine Burstein (“Summer”), Hao Feng (“She is a Dancer, She is a Dreamer”), Daniela Gioseffi (“All Our Lives are Green”), Stanley Goldman (“The Saddest Moment”), Frances Goroll (“Photograph”), Helena Krebs (“My Happiest Moment”), Anne E. Lipman (“Flaming Orb”), Mira Platt (“Minute in the Past” and “Who Am I?”), MT Windhorst (“My Grandmother’s Patio”), and Naomi Weintraub Zaslow (“Fours”). You can see all of these beautiful works on the ARTS By The People website at http://bit.ly/2Okfldx.

What’s Inside? Letter from the CEO............................................................................1 “Revolving Doors” Continues at Lester Senior Living..........................1 Village Apartments is in Bloom............................................................2 Putting the Fun in Purim at Lester.......................................................3 Non-Native Speakers Get Help with Their English at B’nai B’rith........4 Welcome Stacey Wilbur, JCHC’s New COO.........................................5 Residents Share “Our Stories” at Jewish Federation Plaza..................5 Getting Some Cuddles at Plaza with Leo the Therapy Dog................6 JCHC Endowment Funds.....................................................................6 Tirbutes ...............................................................................................7

JEWISH COMMUNITY HOUSING CORPORATION OF METROPOLITAN NEW JERSEY 760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


Pictured aboe: The courtyard at Village Apartments in South Orange is a colorful oasis and gathering spot for residents. Pictured in inset: The standup gardens hold herbs and vegetables.

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Instuctor Megan Fainsinger (standing) with floral arts and horticulture enthusiasts at Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation include (left to right): Mildred Guthartz, Estelle Franzonia, Laura Zakian, Gertrude Gunther, Dina Lafond, Lenore Berkman, and Shirley Gordon.

Ever since the back courtyard was completed at Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation, a favorite spring event has been our annual spring planting party; this year’s chance to dig in the dirt will be on May 13. Under the guidance of Megan Fainsinger from ARTS By The People, residents fill the windowsill planters with colorful flowers and plant herbs and vegetables in our standup gardens. Megan also leads the popular floral arts and horticulture classes at our communities. Participants in the floral arts classes at Village Apartments look forward to getting together to plant in the backyard, which is such a beautiful gathering place.

760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


Members of the Lester Congregation, busy putting together mishloach manot for our residents.

Putting the Fun in Purim at LESTER This year’s Purim party at Lester Senior Living was so much fun, with some hilarious costumes, festive masks, great entertainment, and a lot of spirit. As they do every year, the Lester Congregation put together colorful mishloach manot, the gift bags with treats and fruit that were distributed to all residents. For the Fast of Esther, Bennett Muraskin presented “Purim Story & Song” in the afternoon and the evening service, “Megillah in the round,” was led by residents. On Purim, Rabbi Kirsch led the service, followed by Purim crafts during which residents made colorful, creative masks. The Purim celebration included entertainment by Jo-Joe the Clown, who did tricks and made balloon art, and Dave Elgarte played the piano as residents danced and sang along. Much merriment was in the house! You can see more photos on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LesterSeniorLiving.

Janet Thieberger shows off her green feather boa at the Purim party.

Our mashgiach, Ezra Solomon (in braids) with “Jo-Joe” the clown, who provided entertainment.

760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


Non-Native Speakers Get Help with Their English at SOUTH ORANGE B’NAI B’RITH FEDERATION HOUSE Among the diverse residents who live at South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House (SOBBFH) is a group of seniors who emigrated to the U.S. from former Soviet Union bloc countries. These residents, who came here from Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, are now working on improving their English every Thursday afternoon in an English Help class conducted by Lavinia Walker. The class—and so much of what Lavinia does—has been a beautiful example of how our residents create community.

we are using it today.” A lifelong fan of reading and writing, Lavinia has begun reading poems in class to familiarize everyone with English vocabulary, and they’ve read some children’s fables and stories (among them, “The Owl and the Pussy-cat” and “The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat”), which everyone enjoyed. In addition, Lavinia explained the difference between a dictionary and thesaurus and brought in the reference books for a lesson. She said she’d like to read a favorite poem, “To a Thesaurus,” to the class.

Lavinia, who is the president of the SOBBFH tenant association, started the class last November after seeing that her fellow residents were not attending Her students come every week with notebooks or participating in tenant meetings due to the and have embraced their lessons with enthusiasm. language barrier. Lavinia is very She thought she appreciative of could come up the support she’s with a way to received from Site help them and Manager Beth the English Help Rayman. class was started. She is assisted by “Beth is 100% Erena Berezovzky behind this; and her husband she brought in Eugene (originally some books from Russia) who and purchased help translate an easel board for the class and markers so participants, everyone can see most of whom the lessons better,” understand said Lavinia. “And Russian. About Erena, whose Attendees at a recent English Help class with co-instructors Erena Berezovsky (seated eight people English is perfect, 3rd from left, waving) and Lavinia Walker (standing). attend the class on is a wonderful a regular basis. help when it comes to translating.” “Our residents all come with different levels of English proficiency so we started with the alphabet Lavinia plans to keep the class going as long as and worked up from there,” explained Lavinia, who residents want it and she hopes to eventually start a had taken some adult education courses years ago conversation and storytelling circle. Of her initiative on teaching English as a second language. Due to to do this, she said that it’s important for people to the varying degrees of proficiency among the group, remember that “even at an older age, we can still be she has covered vowel sounds, grammatical parts of vital and contribute.” She is a wonderful example of speech (subject and object, adjective, verb, noun), that; in addition to leading our tenant association, simile and metaphor, and homonyms, synonyms Lavinia also writes a column for the community’s and antonyms. She said the class has a lot of fun monthly newsletter. with learning modern idioms. “I give them the background and origin of the idiom and share how 760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


Residents Share “Our Stories” at JEWISH FEDERATION PLAZA For the past ten years, Paul Rabinowitz and his team from ARTS By The People have been conducting a variety of creative arts programs at Jewish Federation Plaza (and our other communities.) Twice a month, Paul is at Jewish Federation Plaza for “Our Stories,” an hour-long workshop in which residents create and share personal stories and reflections based on their responses to topical news or other prompts. For example, a recent session focused on California’s economy and issues with Silicon Valley and the high cost of living in the Bay Area. Participants shared their Paul Rabinowitz with participants in “Our Stories”, left to right: Jacqueline Kaufman, Deborah Ovitz, Esther Schwartz, and Edward Schwartz. own stories about moving from the city to the suburbs and how they felt about those experiences. Some offered stories about dancer performs to the spoken word Paul narrates. their grown children who moved to California, only One such workshop around Chanukah time was in to find it too expensive and then moving elsewhere. response to the question, “What is the best gift you ever received?” While often sparked by current events or societal topics, there are some sessions in which Our Stories is one of the creative arts programs our conversations are specifically about the residents’ residents enjoy every month, which also include stories. Sometimes, Paul incorporates dance into poetry and floral arts. the workshop (called Stories in Motion); in those, residents’ responses are put into poem form and a

Welcome Stacey Wilbur, JCHC’s New COO Stacey Wilbur, who has worked in senior living throughout her entire professional life, came to the JCHC in mid-January after many years at a continuum of care retirement community in Hudson County. Her philosophy has always been to find ways to help older adults age in place with dignity. “Home is where we continue to live well,” she says. Stacey is proud to be a part of the evolving world of senior care and likes that our communities offer our residents choices about the type of lifestyle they want, in part because those choices

reflect the person-centered care that she values so highly. Having choices that cater to our residents’ preferences and interests, and that help them enjoy their lives to their fullest is part of that. She also feels it’s important to take the time to get to know our residents and learn about their earlier lives. “Our elders have lived through so many changes and have so many wonderful stories to share with us,” says Stacey, who was fortunate to have had a close relationship with her grandparents and knew her great-grandparents. “I really enjoy talking to our residents and I’m continually learning from them.”

760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


Getting Some Cuddles at Jewish Federation Plaza with Leo the Therapy Dog Leo, the little Shih Tzu brings big love and lots of hugs wherever he goes. Owner Sandy Stoll brings Leo—a certified therapy dog—once a month to Jewish Federation Plaza, where residents enjoy holding him, petting him, and sharing loving memories of their own pets. Leo was rescued Sandy Stoll and her certified therapy dog, Leo five years ago from a kill shelter in Georgia but in spite of his rough beginning, his sweet temperament shone through and he became a certified therapy dog. Of bringing Leo into her life and to visit our seniors, Sandy says, “This is the best thing I ever did. Any time I can make people smile it feels good.” Plaza resident Joy Glazer certainly seems to be enjoying the visit!

JCHC Endowment Funds These endowment funds were set up by generous individuals and organizations with specific missions that ensure our seniors have the services and programs they need to live life to the fullest in our four communities. For more information, you can read about these funds on our website at http://jchcorp.org/endowment-funds/ The Weinberg Endowment Fund – provides financial assistance for low-income seniors living in our unsubsidized apartment buildings. It was established in 2001 by a $1 million gift from the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation out of Maryland and matched by $2 million raised by the local MetroWest Jewish Community. The Harold Colton-Max Endowment – established in 2015 in honor of CEO Harold Colton-Max’s 10th year with the JCHC. Provides financial assistance for low-income seniors living in our unsubsidized apartment buildings. The Schofel Family Endowment – subsidizes activities and/or food programs for senior residents in need of financial assistance. This was established in 2005 by a $150,000 gift from former JCHC Board President Janice Schofel (z”l).  The Dorothy Lazarus Endowment for the Hearing-Impaired – to purchase audiology equipment, hearing aids and pay for hearing examinations of JCHC residents. Philanthropists Eugene W. and Joan Kalkin established the endowment in 2002 with a $25,000 gift which was subsequently enhanced with an additional $5,000 contribution from the Kalkins. The Pearl and Max Randall Endowment – provides financial support for residents of our buildings to experience movies. This was started with a contribution of $10,000 from the Randalls over 20 years ago. If you wish to contribute to support any of these particular initiatives, please contact Harold Colton-Max, JCHC CEO at (973) 530-3961. You can also make your donation to the Friends of the JCHC and indicate the purpose on the memo line so that we can direct the funds accordingly.

760 Northfield Ave., West Orange, NJ 07052 | 973-731-2020 | www.jchcorp.org


JCHC University Has Been Top of the Class this Semester Thanks to a gift from the Murnick family, we’ve been able to enhance our longstanding JCHC University program. We brought in college-level instructors and published a beautiful course catalog for our residents. The eclectic seminar offerings covered literature, art and music appreciation, politics and government, critical thinking, and the family relationships of our biblical ancestors. All four of our communities are host sites for the seminars.

JCHC University is a non-accredited adult learning program with a mission to promote healthy aging and provide lifelong learning experiences to our residents. We do so by offering unique and interesting lectures that foster personal and educational growth. This semester’s curriculum has certainly lived up to that mission.

“Friends of JCHC” Tributes mazel tov, get well and in memoriam From

Harold Colton-Max Harold Colton-Max Roberta and Walter Zweifler The Solomon Family James Grayer Deborah Nadel Judith Sandler Joni & David Waiser Diana Ayton-Shenker Allison & Michael Diamond Allison & Michael Diamond Seth Leeb Ruth & Benjamin Perlmutter Tina & Bernard Rabbino Nomi & Harold Colton-Max Alma Schneider & Brian Saltzman Judy Shulman Roberta & Walter Zweifler Paula Barber Frann & Eric Francis Matty & Dan Goldberg


Hilary & Howard Rabner Robin & David Leitner The Scher Family Harold Colton-Max Harold Colton-Max Harold Colton-Max Karen Sandler Harold Colton-Max Alma Schneider & Brian Saltzman Judy & Marc Apirian Marci & Lloyd Grossman Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold Pat Sebold

Lifecycle Event

On the engagement of Lauren Rabner to Liam Krausz On the marriage of Zachary Leitner to Jessica Skvirsky In memory of Norman Scher On the occasion of your special birthday On the occasion of your special birthday On the occasion of your special birthday In memory of your mother Helen Heller On the occasion of your special birthday In honor of your friendship Mazel tov on the birth of your grandson Luke Julian Mazel tov on the marriage of Eliot & Alexa In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold In memory of your husband, Burt Sebold

To send a Tribute, contact Emma Reading at 973-530-3977 or email EmmaR@JCHCorp.org

To support JCHC, fill out form below and mail to: The Jewish Community Housing Corp. of Metropolitan NJ 760 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052 or donate online: www.jchcorp.org

Name_______________________________________________________________________________ Address______________________________________________________________________________ City__________________________________________________ ST Zip Code I would like to give a gift of $ to the Friends of JCHC to support the JCHC’s work Payment Options:

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New branding for JCHC You may have noticed our organization’s bright new logo on this issue of Chronicles, or perhaps you’ve seen the new website. These are part of a rebranding initiative we’ve undertaken at the JCHC, giving a fresh face to our marketing materials. Our new tagline, which appears underneath the logo, is “Your home. Your life. Your journey.” It speaks directly to our mission of creating a safe, secure home for our seniors, where they can live life to the fullest, supported by our great programs and staff.

As part of this rebranding, we launched a new website with a contemporary look and navigation that makes it easier for visitors to find the information they need about the housing options we offer. Given our longevity in the area, and the fact that we are well-known to many, we felt it was also time to update our communities’ names to keep up with the times. Lester Senior Housing Community is now Lester Senior Living, Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation is now simply Village Apartments, and South Orange B’nai B’rith Federation House will soon go by B’nai B’rith Residences.

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JCHC Chronicles - Spring 2019  

The official newsletter of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey. www.Jchcorp.org

JCHC Chronicles - Spring 2019  

The official newsletter of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey. www.Jchcorp.org