Weekly News & Updates
Caring for Older Adults Since 1907
By Jo Strausz Rosen
On the first Sunday after Labor Day, we celebrate National Grandparents Day. This year the date falls on September 13. Like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we dedicate this day to honor our grandparents. If we are fortunate enough to know our grandparents, we value the special connection within our families.

Grandparents Day is an opportunity to treasure our matriarchs and patriarchs and spend some quality time together… this year outside and socially distant or on facetime, zoom or telephone.

Give grandparents the opportunity to express their love for their grandchildren, and help children recognize the strength, guidance, and wealth of information that older adults can offer. Grandparents have unique life experience to draw upon for their advice, which is often received better than similar advice coming from a child’s parent.

41 years ago, activist, Marian McQuade was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Jimmy Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. She was helping her community organize a celebration for its citizens over 80 years of age when she was made aware of many nursing home residents who seemed to have been forgotten by their families. McQuade wanted to educate youth about the importance of seniors and their contributions throughout history. She urged youth to “adopt” a grandparent and learn more about their lives, challenges, and desires for the future. McQuade served on the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board. For many years, she helped with the “Past 80 Party”, which was held annually in Richwood, WV.

In September 1978, the White House called Marian to inform her that President Jimmy Carter had signed a bill designating the Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day beginning in 1979. In 1989, the United States Postal Service issued a tenth anniversary commemorative envelope bearing the likeness of Marian McQuade in honor of National Grandparents Day.

McQuade lived in Oak Hill, West Virginia with her husband, Joe McQuade (1915–2001), who preceded her in death, and remained in Oak Hill until her own death on September 26, 2008 at the age of 91. She was survived by her 15 children, 43 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

I am one of those fortunate grandparents with children and grandchildren nearby. I share my love of art exploration, music, dance, humor, reading, decorating and cooking with my beloved offspring. A recent favorite memory during the pandemic was when my 2 grandchildren, Brody and Lainey, zoomed me through a challah baking session. My 3-year-old granddaughter, Noa, Facetimes with me early mornings during breakfast. When we have finished eating, I walk “with her” around the house and outside sharing places she has not seen inside our home since early March…. We eagerly await the birth of her sibling next week!
Sisters, Molly and Ella Rosender, decorated Rosh Hashanah bags for our Meer residents to enjoy as a Bat Mitzvah project. Thank you ladies for sharing your artistic talents with us!

Read more stories like this by visiting "Keeping Our Community Connected: Stories From Residents, Staff and Volunteers" on our website.
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By Talya Jankovits

In normal times, preparing for the High Holidays is a long and stretched-out network of preparation that I begin in the thick heat of summer. By mid-August, I typically finalize my guests for the holidays, from Rosh Hashanah through Sukkot.

Then I tackle the menus, which revolve around the many symbolic foods, such as carrots and black-eyed peas for a year of good merits; pomegranates, representing the Torah’s many mitzvot; dates to ward off our enemies; and round, golden challahs to symbolize the continuity of life and the full circle of a completed year. By the time the kids are back in school, I am already bringing tall pots of chicken soup to a long, slow simmer and freezing matzah balls by the dozen.

Now, however, September is here and our guest list is bare. The holiday menu file on my computer hasn’t been opened once, and when I took a survey sent by our synagogue last month, I put down that we likely would not attend any in-person services or events this fall.

We are six months into Covid-19 and our prayers have yet to be answered. Like the strange and lonely Passover at the height of the pandemic, it’s now clear that Rosh Hashanah, too, will be rung in without our usual fanfare. I feel an ache in my chest when I think about this strange and foreign approach to celebrating one of the most paramount of Jewish holidays; it’s a longing similar to the homesickness I occasionally felt when I was away from home as a young girl.
By Sarah DiGiulio and Elizabeth Millard

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we live, from our work to our learning to our social lives. Our new reality poses a unique set of challenges for all of us.

Now more than ever, practicing self-care is essential when it comes to taking care of our emotional health and well-being, says Christine Carter, PhD, a sociologist and senior fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California in Berkeley.

"Self-care is not selfish," says Dr. Carter. "This is a time of incredible anxiety and stress. Focusing on what makes us feel nourished, on what gives us meaning, is part of easing those feelings and giving us a more solid foundation."

With film and TV production starting to resume, we’re still a long way off from the fire hydrant of content we’ve become used to in the years of “peak TV.” But a combination of quarantine productions, foreign imports and unscripted and animated series, along with the streamers’ and cable networks’ long production pipeline, means that there’s plenty in the hopper to hold you over as the days get shorter and the weather cools off.

Here are the 15 TV shows we’ll be watching this fall — and that you should be watching too.
By Barbara Kean

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that causes brain cells to degenerate and waste away, resulting in problems with memory, thinking, language, and behavior. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050 the number is expected to rise to 14 million.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and its devastating effects. But incorporating a complementary approach, such as yoga, into Alzheimer's care, may help with some of the symptoms and challenges of the disease.

“Research around yoga and its impact on Alzheimer’s disease is somewhat limited and far from conclusive,” says Ruth Drew, MS, LPC, a director of information and support services for the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. “But there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that yoga has potential benefits that could help in reducing stress, calming agitation, and improving overall mood,” she adds. Yoga can provide a safe, social physical activity that may help alleviate the isolation that Alzheimer's patients can often feel.
If your grandparents are like most, the celebration doesn’t have to be big. Most grandparents would be happy just to spend some special time with their grandchildren. The activity can be anything your grandparents enjoy, or something they enjoy doing specifically with their grandchildren. Maybe your grandfather really enjoys playing checkers with you, and your grandmother loves to get together in the kitchen and bake. Buy a new checkers game or matching aprons to mark the occasion.

The most cherished gifts are those that come from the heart, so consider making something special for your grandparents this year instead of purchasing a gift from the store. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Call on mom and dad for help in gathering pictures and mementos of your grandparents’ lives and put together a “this is your life” presentation or personalized photo gift.
  2. Compile a video of all the family members sharing their favorite memory involving the grandparents.
  3. Make a list of all the qualities you admire about your grandparents, what makes them special to you, and specific things you’ve learned from them.
  4. Write a poem for your grandparents and frame it.
  5. Make a batch of their favorite treats and wrap them in a decorative tin.
  6. Put together a “Tell Me" notebook for your grandparents, and write open-ended questions on each page such as, “Tell me what a typical day was like for you in high school”.
  7. Send a special puzzle to work on with your grandparents or a new board game or card game.
  8. If you don’t live near your grandparents, you can still honor them with a special letter or greeting card, a phone call, a floral delivery, or a video call.
  9. Why not adopt a JSL Resident? Let us help you forge a new friendship, and make memorable moments during these difficult times we are living through.

Seniors living with dementia in Metro Detroit can still celebrate Yom Kippur this year with a 45-minute service on Zoom especially designed for them. The service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.

In addition, families that sign up for the program by Sept. 14 will get a free special gift bag for the holidays that includes an apple and honey, honey cake, round challah, grape juice and prayer book, and which will be delivered to their homes by volunteers.

For the past three years, the Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program in Southfield and West Bloomfield has run an award-winning special dementia-friendly Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur Service. Staff recognized the challenges that a regular synagogue service presented to families whose loved ones have dementia – too long and too crowded. This year, although many Reform and Conservative synagogues are offering Zoom services during the pandemic, they are still not targeted to those living with dementia.

“The need for connection is greater than ever for families caring for their loved ones. We knew that a regular synagogue service on Zoom would likely be too long and not engage our community in the same way that we could: with a shorter and special service full of familiar melodies and briefer periods of talking,” explained Debra Yamstein, a spokesperson for the Brown Program, which is run by JVS Human Services and Jewish Senior Life.

She added that through her work with people living with dementia she knows that music, prayer, and liturgy are experiences that the dementia brain responds to beyond the time other interests and activities have been lost.

To register for the program, being led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer, go to bit.ly/BCservice2020 or call (248) 592-5031. Registration is preferred by Sept. 14, 2020 so that attendees can receive the holiday gift bags which are being sponsored by a friend of the Brown Program.
Last Chance To Wish Residents A Happy New Year!
Enhance the upcoming High Holidays for our residents and consider creating and sending greeting cards to mark the occasion with meaning – a delightful project for your entire family. Once completed, label it "Attn: Activities" and drop off (or mail to) Hechtman Apartments, 6690 W. Maple Rd, West Bloomfield, 48322.

Help Residents With Their Groceries
While out grocery shopping for yourself, please consider this mitzvah opportunity and assist our isolated residents in Oak Park by shopping for them. Volunteers will be given a resident’s shopping list and will be reimbursed for these purchases. Once completed, drop the bags off at the front desk and our onsite staff will deliver them to the resident. Contact Leslie Katz at 248-321-1437.
By Rottem Lieberson

Acclaimed Israeli cookbook author Rottem Lieberson remembers eyeing her grandmother Hanom in her kitchen, carefully watching her moves as she added turmeric, saffron, and numerous other spices to a large pot on the stove. Guests would come over for a meal and remark on how good the food was. They would ask, Rottem recalls: “What did you put inside it?” Her grandmother would reply: “Nothing. Just a little bit of salt.”  

Rottem never helped out in her grandmother’s kitchen and neither did anyone else, including Hanom’s three daughters. Like many of the best Persian home cooks, says Rottem, Hanom kept her recipes secret, even from family. In Persian culture, “This is the power of the mothers,” she explains.

When Rottem was just one, her parents moved from Kibbutz Naan in the center of the country to Tel Aviv, very close to Hanom’s home. “Most likely because my father wanted to be close to his mother's kitchen,” Rottem told us as we cooked with her earlier this year. She spent nearly every afternoon after school with her grandmother. Aunts and uncles always visited throughout the week too. Hanom would call the family to announce the daily menu and her children and their spouses would stop by for their favorite dishes, sometimes with bunches of fresh herbs in tow. 

Hanom’s 10 children were born in Iran and after her husband passed away, she moved with nine of her children from Tehran to Shaar Haaliya, a settlement camp for immigrants to Israel, in 1955. Her eldest son stayed in Iran and later passed away, Rottem explains. Tragically, another of her sons passed away after the move. 

Hanom held tightly to her eight children in Israel. “They would come to eat all the time. This was the most important relationship,” Rottem adds, and it centered around the table. “Any sign of emotion was expressed through food and cooking.”

On holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Hanom hosted up to 100 guests in her Tel Aviv apartment. The gatherings were “chaotic, but with a lot of love,” Rottem recalls fondly. The 30 or so grandchildren would escape to Hanom’s room and have pillow fights as the adults talked and lingered. 

Her menu for each holiday remained the same, unchanging from one year to the next. “It doesn’t change at all and I love it,” Rottem says. On Rosh Hashanah, she served khoresh sib, a stewed meat dish made with fruit, gondi, anshe anar or meatballs with pomegranate soup, rice with barberries, a cold apple drink called faloodeh, and more. And following Persian tradition, she used expensive ingredients as a wish for a prosperous year. 

It is in this repetition of dishes and traditions that a legacy was built, Rottem says. “This is the legacy, this is the power. I believe you give it to your children. They move it to their children. It’s in your body, in the blood.” Rottem continues to serve several of Hanom’s dishes at her Rosh Hashanah table, along with others she’s created. 

Today, much of Rottem’s work as a blogger and cookbook author focuses on Persian cooking. “I feel the power of those recipes,” she explains. Some are generations old and others are her interpretation, but “but still, the taste, the base is there… Food that is going generation to generation has so much responsibility.”

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Rabbi Dovid S. Polter, JSL Community Chaplain


One of the older adults I visit intrigued me by the musing posted on his front door that read, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” This message resonated with me. A phrase such as this one carries the potential to inspire us daily. It beckons us to live our lives more meaningfully.

Many of us fear to face the unknown and to begin something new. One may wonder, “I don't want to commit myself to a new venture” or “what is the value of doing something once if I don't repeat the act?” This doorway musing begs us to go beyond our initial fear and consider a new endeavor or way of thinking.

When we decide that we will view life through a fresh lens and have the courage to initiate, this first time act may surpass our expectations and will hopefully yield positive results for years to come.

Begin something new. Pride yourself in unlocking your hidden potential.

And if you’ve done it once and no more, you have done it!

Shabbat Shalom & High Holiday Phone Line
Enjoy some inspiration and a recorded holiday service

Dial Toll free: 605-313-4107 Access code: 270368#
(Reference number not needed)
Dial # to hear the most recent recorded message.

Rosh Hashanah: Saturday, September 19th and September 20th
Yom Kippur: September 27th
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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