Weekly News & Updates
Caring for Older Adults Since 1907
By Jo Strausz Rosen

Merry Christmas is the greeting of the day. Let’s all be merry. For 3 weeks now, I have been reading and rereading Rabbi Laura Geller’s “Getting Good at Getting Older.” It’s so easy to pick up and read a quick paragraph or two. I am focused on tools and resources to “Change Your Life for the Good.” There are so many links to enhance everyday holiness, mindfulness, and spiritual direction. If you like writing, you can take on journaling and use it to explore your heart and Jewish tradition. Unplug on Shabbat and restore the Sacred Rhythm of Rest.” So many wonderful projects to examine in self-awareness and self-care.

Let’s work together to focus on enhancing the new 2021 version of ourselves. Geller says, “We aren’t young anymore, but we are still revolutionary. We are confronting and challenging assumptions about aging, by living longer, being more active than our parents and grandparents, and simply doing things differently. And in the process, we are changing the way the world sees older people.”

Embrace the opportunity to speak with your doctors and get vaccinated. Welcome new beginnings and put away the anger and frustrations of the difficult year we are soon ending. How can we be our best selves? How can we support each other in what will sure to be an exciting and exhilarating tomorrow! Be prepared and choose to make some changes for the better that will help us to age with confidence providing abundant gifts we can share in the best possible way. Take good care of yourselves. Stay fit and get ready for whatever comes your way. Wishing you good health and safety as we close this final chapter of 2020.
By Marcia Mittelman

As the sun sets every Friday evening, JSL staff return home, remove their masks and name badges and welcome in the Sabbath. Their mobile phones start lighting up with greetings, sweet messages, and photos of flickering Shabbos candles.

The Friday Night Shabbat Club started back in March with a casual text between Nancy Kaufman, Meer Assistant Administrator, and Allan Wilson, Receptionist. Nancy texted a Shabbos greeting with a photo of her Shabbos candles shining. This prompted Allan to start lighting candles in his home. One by one, staff started joining the group and texting one another. The group has grown to 10 JSL staff. When asked what the Friday Night Shabbat Club meant to them, their responses were passionate:

Jackie Rosender, Independent Senior Living Consultant
“I personally look forward to it every Shabbos. No matter how bad a day or week we may have had, there is something ‘magical’ that happens on Friday evenings. The difficulties seem to magically go away, or at least make things a little more tolerable. There is a real sense of comfort, and we are all there for one another. I feel that our Friday Night Shabbat Club symbolizes that more than ever.”

Karen Hull, Receptionist
“I love the Friday night Shabbat Club. It has re-engaged me with one small aspect of Shabbat. I love sending Good Shabbos to everyone and receiving their Shabbat Shalom wishes. I also love seeing everyone’s candlesticks!”

Leslie Richardson, Resident Service Coordinator
The Friday night group bonds us together as a family. Although I am not Jewish, I feel included and connected to my Meer family.”
By Nicole Taylor

For many Black Americans, the holiday is a time for bonding, joy and repose. The Times visited five households to see how people cook and gather, engage and reflect.

Kwanzaa is more than an end-of-year display of deep orange and burnt burgundy Dutch wax-print fabrics, and righteous images of fruit bowls sitting near wooden cups. It’s an edifying lifestyle choice.

“More people are starting to focus on who they are, and what they want their families to experience — empowering cultural stories that get our brains from up under the foot of oppression,” said Janine Bell, the president and artistic director of Elegba Folklore Society in Richmond, Va.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — you know, the one where we’re completely inundated by Christmas songs and carols at every turn? While some of us may cringe at just how dominant this Christian holiday seems to be each and every December — and that’s true whether or not there’s a pandemic going on — it is hard to deny how catchy and joyful some Christmas music can be.

Here’s something you may not realize about these ear worms: Many of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time were written by Jewish composers.

Wait — but, why? Well, there are a few theories about why Jews threw their weight behind Christmas songs. As singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, known as the “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” told Religion News Service, Jews flocked to the music industry early in the 20th century — when most of the American Christmas classics were written — because it was one of the rare industries in which Jews didn’t face rampant antisemitism.
Karen Gales, our fabulous Resident Service Coordinator at Meer Apartments was on WXYZ (ch. 7 & ch. 20) this week to talk about all the wonderful things JSL is doing during this difficult time. Take a moment to watch above!
By Maya Mirsky

What’s a Jew to do? The Jewish Christmas tradition of going out for Chinese food and a movie is off the table this year. But Jews are nothing if not resilient, and in the Bay Area they’re figuring out how to spend the red-and-green holiday the best way they can, from watching comedy to taking family walks to serving free meals.

“While Santa is going to all the Christian girls’ and boys’ houses, helped by Hanukkah Harry, of course, I am going to be waiting by the pager, sleeping with the pager, waiting for any calls that come in,” said hospital chaplain Rabbi Jeremy Sher, who will be spending the night of the 24th and morning of the 25th on call at a San Francisco hospital.

Sher often takes the Christmas shift to let his fellow chaplains celebrate the holiday; they do the same for him for Jewish holidays, he said. That means that if you’re asking for spiritual counseling on Christmas, he said, “You might be getting a Jewish chaplain, or a Buddhist chaplain or a Muslim chaplain.”
Meer residents were treated to lovely Chanukah gift bags from the Blanck-Komisar family, whose loved one, Sadie Komisar, lives at Meer. Thank you for thinking of our residents this holiday season!

See more photos and stories like this by visiting "Keeping Our Community Connected: Stories From Residents, Staff and Volunteers" on our website.
Stay warm and support JSL at the same time by purchasing one of our winter jackets or vests! Find these and many other wonderful items at:

It’s officially winter, which means it’s also officially hot cocoa season. There’s just nothing like a big mug of rich hot chocolate to beat the winter blues.
Although marshmallows are one of our favorite add-ins, they’re far from the only treat that accompanies hot cocoa so well. Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies, Cinnamon Roll Cookies, and Chocolate Marshmallow Clouds were made for dunking!
Enjoy this spectacular electro-pop holiday performance by NUCLASSICA!
Follow JSL on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for the most up to date and inspiring JSL content. Leave a like while you're there too!
By Rabbi Dovid S. Polter

The Mail Carrier
The holiday season is a most appropriate time to gift our mail carriers with tokens of appreciation. They bring much anticipated letters, parcels and gifts to our doorsteps. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor the darkness of the night will deter these postal carriers from executing their mission — to deliver their mail with loyalty and devotion. If the deliverer should decide to delay or cancel his delivery route, this could cause great distress and financial loss.

Just as the mail deliverer does his/her best to deliver our letters and parcels in a timely fashion, so are we to be eager to deliver a comforting and reassuring message to another. The one to whom we are delivering may be waiting for our words of encouragement as we await the arrival of our mail carriers.

Additionally, just as we hope that our letters bear messages of uplifting news, let us also endeavor to see the positivity in life and be the bearer of good news to others. As we salute our mail carriers, let us hope to always receive good news.
Be inspired. Call Shabbat Shalom by Phone
Dial Toll free: 605-313-4107
Access code: 270368# (Reference number not needed)
Dial # to hear the most recent recorded message

Rabbi Dovid S. Polter Jewish Community Chaplaincy Program
Jewish Senior Life 
248-592-5039 • dpolter@jslmi.org
This newsletter was created by Jo Rosen and Amanda Martlock

We’re human, prone to mistakes, so if we erred in our newsletter, please forgive us!
Shabbat Shalom
Nancy Heinrich, Chief Executive Officer
Jennie Klepinger, Chief Financial Officer
Barbra Giles, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives
Dianne Azzopardi, Executive Director, Human Resources
Ron Colasanti, Executive Director, Dining Services
Gregg Leshman, Executive Director, Residential Operations
Jo Strausz Rosen, Executive Director, Development
People of all faiths and beliefs are welcome.
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