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

Getting in the right mood to celebrate the Festival of Lights… what will that look like this year? Most likely a family zoom from the warmth of our individual homes. As I think ahead to what this year will be, my memory takes me back to Chanukah as a 4-year-old child when my family resided in an apartment on the South side of Chicago. I received a tiny red piano that gave me hours of pleasure as I learned to sound out tunes. I spent happy time alone with my piano and dreamed I one day would play classical music, which I did, on an even larger piano I received at the age of 7. Music is a gift at any age. My granddaughter is now happily taking piano lessons on Zoom! What a world!
Chanukah…however you spell it: Hanukkah, Chanukkah or Hanukah… make sure you say it with a Chhhh. Pick your favorite pronunciation and with your best singing voice, be the Shamash, light the night, count your blessings and bring the gift of fire to your colorful candles as you chant the traditional prayers. This year, more than ever, what are you doing to be a light to the nations? We can bring light to others and gladness to ourselves by acts of kindness…. And in return we receive that warm fuzzy feeling we get when we brighten someone’s day. “May you feel love and security wherever you are. May you radiate with light and gratitude throughout your days. May a spirit of amazement reside within you always, and may you find peace.” 

Lighting the Menorah from left to right says nothing about your political affiliation, because you load the candles right to left. (Discuss among yourselves.) On each night of Hanukah, we light an additional candle to indicate the growing miracle of each night. On the first night, we light the Shamash (helper) and use it to light one additional candle. The Shamash has a most important job and in accordance, the Shamash stands as one who brings to light the miracle that is this celebration. On night two, we light the Shamash, plus two candles, and so on until the final night when we have a hanukkiah full of light. It is traditional to place the hanukkiah on or near a window, so it can be seen from the street, proudly exemplifying to the world not only your religious practice, but to share the magnificent glow with everyone. Imagine all of us next week when we light the first candle and chant together the glorious Shehekianu blessing, thanking our Creator for giving us life, sustaining us, and allowing us to reach this day. This blessing is said at momentous occasions, and on the first momentous night, we can look back on this year and sigh…we made it! Whether bitter or sweet, difficult or fun, on Chanukah we will celebrate and feel grateful for making it to today, one long day at a time… and to this table to reflect on our blessings, alone, or with people we care about. 

בָּרוּך אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וקְִיְמָּנוּ והְִגִיּעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Barukh ata adonai elohenu melekh ha’olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu la’z’man ha’zeh

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this day.

Tin foil under your Menorah isn’t as attractive as a linen Star of David place mat but you decide if the cleanup is worth it. I like to dip my candle holders in boiling water the next morning to clean them. The little bits of wax that melt, then harden and rise to the top can be saved and rolled out into a ball of Chanukah colors. You can then press it between sheets of wax paper with a warm iron to create the perfect colorful placemat for your menorah! Get creative and share your Chanukah hacks and tips with us!
Task the kids and adults with creating Chanukah art. Decorate used paper masks, repurposed as miniature canvases to hang… create homemade gifts from bark and log tidbits found near your firepit outside… Or… make an edible Menorah:
Have you tried making latkas in the new Air Fryers that are all the rage? I received one as a gift last week and the first thing I made was sweet potato fries… On Chanukah I may try a variety of potatoes and other vegetables to fry during the holiday. Using less oil is good for for your health! When I do make my latkes the old-fashioned way, I make them in the garage in an electric frying pan, so the house doesn’t reek of oil.
Why not elevate your dip and topping selections by whipping up a batch of crème freche, or Greek yogurt blended with apple sauce? My new passion is baked apples with crisp topping… Treat yourself and your family to a sweet and happy holiday.

Enjoy this memory of Chanukah 2011. May we soon return to celebrations together in safety. Those were the nights!
Chanukah is just around the corner! Shop our adorable selection of stuffed animals and other wonderful gifts at:

Meet your weight loss training buddy: fruit. Not only does fruit have the sweetness you're craving, but unlike processed treats, it boasts plenty of nutrients as well. Watch this video to see which fruit to incorporate into your diet!
This week at the Detroit Jewish Book Fair, JSL CEO, Nancy Heinrich served as moderator and interviewed Rabbi Laura Geller about her book "Getting Good at Getting Older". Here is the link to watch and you can purchase the book too!
Are you a JSL volunteer who wants to reconnect? Please join us Mondays at 11:00 AM where we will discuss the latest JSL news, recipes, creative home exercise, and Netflix suggestions. If you have some topics or ideas for the group to discuss, send them to us. Until we can invite you back to do what you do best at JSL, let’s spend some time together and heal our loneliness. See you on Zoom or call in so we can hear your voice!
New Meeting Info!

Meeting ID: 949 2936 8991
Passcode: 257970

Or call in: 312-626-6799 
Meeting ID: 949 2936 8991
Passcode: 257970

Looking forward to reconnecting!

In friendship, 
Leslie Katz
During this season of giving, Prentis and Teitel Apartments collected 9 bags full of gently used shoes donated by Oak Park residents and staff. The growing piles of shoes will be given to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit agency helping people in our community. Join us! 
Exercise instructor, Michelle Black, has been leading Meer residents in fun exercise routines to stay in shape while they stay safe in their apartments. All of the residents love following along!

To see more photos or stories like this, visit "Keeping Our Community Connected: Stories From Residents, Staff and Volunteers" on our website.
French Toast Casserole

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 ½ pounds sourdough or country bread, cut into thick slices
  • Unsalted butter for the baking dish
  • 2 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar

  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Stir in the pecans and raisins. Add the bread and soak, turning occasionally, until it has absorbed most of the custard, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange the bread in an overlapping pattern in a buttered 3-quart baking dish. Pour over any remaining liquid, nuts, and raisins from the bowl. Sprinkle with the raw sugar.
  4. Bake until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm, with additional maple syrup.

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

The Bookbinder

As a young child, I often ventured out to the synagogue after school hours to do my homework in solitude. Sometimes I encountered an elderly man carrying a tool kit. He moved slowly, then removed his screwdriver, drill, duct tape, string, and a little ink pen. He took the well-used prayer books off the shelves and meticulously rebound them. He carefully granted a new and fresh appearance to each of those sacred books. I could sense it was a labor of love.

Today, forty-five years later, I appreciate his contributions when I visit my childhood synagogue. I am still drawn to those books that were rehabilitated with his labors of love. This individual made the best of his time and talents during his retirement years. His notable acts have lasting impact. He enabled these books of wisdom to continue to shine their light on the world, just as the lights of the upcoming Chanukah Festival of Lights will continue to shine for us all. What will be your legacy?
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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