Weekly News & Updates
Caring for Older Adults Since 1907
By Jo Strausz Rosen
It's Purim! I remember dressing up as a child of 8 at Temple Emanu-El Sunday School. Our teacher asked us to dress up for Purim the week before, so I did, although I didn’t feel confident. I was somewhat of a tomboy and did not enjoy wearing froufrou dresses, choosing instead to dress as Haman with mustache and goatee, (my father used ash from a cigar and a match to color me in). I wore a toga made of a mustard yellow bedsheet my mother sacrificed, cut to fit, and tied with drapery rope at my waist to hold it all in place. I wore pants underneath to further my rebellion.

I walked into the classroom filled with other 8-year-olds and saw that there were only 3 of us dressed in costume. We were all in the same carpool. Other students stared at us but said nothing. After we sat for a class photo, some helpers passed around the traditional prune and poppyseed Hamantaschen. These days, Purim desserts are better than ever and so are my memories. 

My daughter sent me photos of her Hamantaschen baked during a Temple Israel Zoom class on Tuesday night. Hers were filled with cookie butter, Nutella, peanut butter, apple pie filling, apricot and strawberry jam! Daughter-in-law, Shira Heisler, made MOMentaschen Thursday night with daughter Noa. Son, Zak, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah birthday 24 years ago during Purim 1997. We partied hard in full costume and you better believe I was Queen Esther that night. We tied scarves around us as togas and we handed out crowns and feathered masks to wear (over our eyes, not our mouth and noses!) Remembering that special celebration makes me smile. I wish you all a very Happy Purim!
Our fabulous Meer & Fleischman staff & residents celebrating Purim 2021

Recently inspired, I think ahead to our Eight Over Eighty celebration on May 23, as our co-chairs and committee meet by Zoom to craft another amazing Virtual event in celebration of Eight among us. These gems in our community survive what they must with losses, yet they are persistently determined to give back to our country, our community and to each other. I sit in awe of our honorees who are lifelong educators, mentors, inventors, writers, scientists, matchmakers, donors, and doers… all noble citizens whose lives inform and inspire.

They speak out against hatred and antisemitism. They exercise to stay fit in body and mind. They work in business, employing others, they visit the sick, they counsel and heal, they continue to volunteer at JSL and other important agencies. They speak to groups and share their wisdom. They are the matriarchs and patriarchs to loving and devoted families.

I asked questions, then listened and learned, as they reflected on their lives, commenting on the challenging present, but filled with hope for the future. Honoree Saul Saulson feels lucky and reminds us to “look at every set back as a challenge.” The possibilities are endless when you live your life with hope and gratitude.

It is my honor to produce JSL’s yearly Eight Over Eighty Tikkun Olam Awards and I look forward to sharing these community gems with you. This celebratory event supports important Quality of Life services JSL provides to our residents. Now more than ever, as our residents and staff look forward to being together, I pray that we continue to leave the pandemic behind. Thank you for participating, supporting, and donating to our 27th annual fundraiser. 

Rabbi Rachel Cowan’s words speak to me from her book, Wise Aging, Living with Joy, Resilience and Spirit “Some mornings as I sit with my cup of tea, the paradox arises. I know I am chronologically older. Closer to the horizon. But it’s not just the math; it’s the unwelcome changes in my body-especially my upper arms and drooping eyelids and that inability to find the word or the face I need now when I need it so badly. But do I feel older? No. I feel just like me. Surprisingly, I have developed some equanimity about growing older.

Rituals help: every morning I sit up in bed-usually before my alarm clock goes off-and notice early morning light brushing the window shades. I raise my arms as I say the morning prayer- Gratitude fills me in Your Presence, Source of Life-only I whisper it in Hebrew. Thank You-I am here, a new day, alive, awake, in a room I love… And yes, darker thoughts come up too. How many mornings will I do this? What if I don’t wake up - when will somebody notice? My heart sinks for a minute, but then I take a breath or two, recognize them as just unpleasant passing thoughts, and let them fade.

Genuine gratitude fills the void…. I’ve come to understand that though the impermanence of life can be scary and sad, it also gives value to each moment. The present is what matters, as I can’t bring back the past, and the future is basically out of my control. And the present is full of so much that is good. I am really happy.”

Who doesn’t love receiving handwritten letters, love notes and correspondence in the mail? Consider sending one to your favorite person, as today is National Letter to an Elder Day. We don’t need an official holiday to remind us that we can brighten someone’s day with a note letting them know they are appreciated by you. Send your letters to Leslie Katz at Fleischman Residence, 6710 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322.
Are you a JSL volunteer or community member who wants to connect? Please join Leslie Katz on Mondays at 11:00 AM where she will lead a discussion on the latest JSL news, recipes, creative home exercise, and Netflix suggestions!
Meeting ID: 949 2936 8991
Passcode: 257970

Or call in: 312-626-6799 
Meeting ID: 949 2936 8991
Passcode: 257970
May 21 - Older Americans Brunch
Register, donate, and learn more about this virtual event by visiting jslmi.org/oab

May 23 - Eight Over Eighty
Become a sponsor, purchase an ad, and learn more about this virtual event by visiting jslmi.org/eight-over-eighty-event

September - Meer Apartments Celebrates 20 Years!
By Leah Kadosh

I’m definitely in need of a laugh right about now, and what do you know? Purim is here! Purim – an exceedingly joyous, fun, and humorous holiday — celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people by Queen Esther from evil Haman’s plot of genocide.

Even as we stare down the second round of Jewish holidays in isolation, it’s a wonderful excuse to grab a costume, bake some unicorn hamantaschen, and party with your pod.
BEHIND THE MASK: Meet our Devoted JSL Family
Mona Hansen-Hill of Oak Park is a Resident Service Coordinator for Coville Assisted Living and has worked for JSL almost 2 years. Her true love for the geriatric population and desire to make a difference in their lives is the key to her success. She grew up extremely close to her older grandparents, so it was natural for her to choose this vocation. Mona has been working on attaining her MBA, and she is enrolled in her final class, graduating, April 28, 2021.

She considers the residents at Coville Apartments her Coville family. “We spend more time with them than we do our own families. I can find something special about each one of them,” says the devoted RSC.

“One of my most memorable moments at JSL was when Lenore Salomon’s granddaughter got married in Israel. The family live-streamed the beautiful wedding into the Prentis community room which was decorated for the occasion including food and a wedding cake. Lenore was so happy and proud to be part of this amazing event that took place thousands of miles away. I will never forget the look on Lenore’s face. I also love our staff parties and picnics outdoors. It’s a special way for us to get to know each other better and spend fun times together.”

“My advice to staff and residents during the pandemic is to plan an activity daily. Get out and walk, exercise, ride your bike. We all need to move in whatever capacity we can. Clean a closet, read a book, spend time with children or family even if it is on zoom, go for a car ride, try a new hobby, and just remember to laugh. Laughter is the key to happiness. Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Mona walks and works our regularly. She misses going out to dinner and shopping. She and her husband love NETFLIX!

Mona and her husband bought a food truck, and they plan to open for business this April, selling their scrumptious specialty Soul food and BBQ. Every weekend she goes to son, Maverick’s football games. He is a Spartan defensive tackle at MSU. They all are big Spartan fans! Her other son Marshall, together with his boys, Mason and Joey are her heart. She loves to travel to her happy places - the beach and the mountains. Her family, whom she misses so much, lives in Eastern Kentucky and she is counting down the days until she can visit them.

Thank you, Mona, for all you do for JSL.
Frankel Jewish Academy’s Better Together in a Box program (“BTB”) is modeled after the National Better Together program funded by a prominent foundation. The program provides an all-inclusive curricular guide to run a virtual program between tweens/teens and older adults on the campus of JSL during the 2020-21academic year.
Thursday morning, residents from Hechtman and Meer celebrated Purim virtually. Earlier in the week they received a goody bag from their FJA buddies that included a mask to decorate and were urged to wear it or another costume for Purim. They played Purim Hangman with their buddies and enjoyed 30 minutes of togetherness, conversation and fun.
Make a birthday boy or girl smile with this adorable 12 inch stuffed puppy dog that sways and flaps his ears while singing “Birthday” by the Beatles. Find this and many other wonderful items at:

Chair yoga is a wonderful practice for every body, suitable for beginners and seniors. Take a few minutes to better your body and mind with this video.
Savory Flanken Soup

Main ingredients

  •  oil, for sautéing
  •  2 large onions, diced
  •  2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  •  2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
  •  2 strips bone-in flanken
  •  1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  •  1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

Prepare the Soup

  1. In a large pot, sauté onions in oil until beginning to brown.
  2. Add sweet potatoes and mushrooms and sauté an additional 10 minutes. Add flanken and brown on both sides.
  3. Pour in water to generously cover vegetables and add spices; mix to combine.
  4. Bring soup to a boil and lower heat. Simmer for two hours.
  5. Remove flanken from pot and cut into small pieces. Return to soup and serve.

This recipe is from kosher.com
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Rabbi Dovid S. Polter, JSL Community Chaplain

Essentials and Non-Essentials

As we slowly begin to emerge from the COVID-19 virus by means of vaccination, let’s ponder some worthy lessons in essentials and non-essentials.

Oxygen is the most vital essential without which humans can hardly live. It is followed by water, food, clothing and then shelter. Ultimately, it is followed by our most non-essential items namely one’s desires and luxuries.

Ironically, our world today attaches the highest price tags to the least important items. Conversely, oxygen, the most vital, carries no price tag as it is readily available. We would be wise to think twice, recognize and appreciate the true value of an item, not on account of its price tag, but rather based on its significance and contribution toward our survival.

Give me my most basic provisions - a breath of life so that I can live and love life daily!

Enjoy some inspiration - 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
Jo Strausz Rosen, Executive Director, Development
Dianne Azzopardi, Executive Director, Human Resources
Ron Colasanti, Executive Director, Dining Services
People of all faiths and beliefs are welcome.
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