Weekly News & Updates
Caring for Older Adults Since 1907
By Jo Strausz Rosen
I remember Willie Lister but her image is blurry. She wasn’t that much taller than I. Willie wore a white starched apron over her plaid dress and a sweet smile showing her dimples. I remember she hummed along to music on the radio that sat on the kitchen table while she stood at the ironing board opened from a cupboard on the wall. This memory was unearthed this morning as I watched the snow fall as children holding hands with their mothers slid down the street. I remember the 8 long blocks home from Kindergarten at Cole School on the South Side of Chicago, dressed in many layers, my black wool scarf with tiny gold stars damp from the snow, my nose dripping and my hands cold in my red mittens, my older brother, Richard at my side. 

Willie opened the door of our second-floor walk-up on Phillips Street and I wondered aloud where my mother was. She welcomed us in, helped me get my boots off and hung my jacket on the radiator to dry. She sat with me for a while and then went to the kitchen to make lunch.

Tuna fish on toasted challah with bread and butter pickles and potato chips on the side. She cut my sandwich into quarters on the diagonal just like my mother did, and she finally said I would be fine and that my mother would be home soon. I remember not knowing what to say other than “thank you.”

After my brother returned to school after lunch, I think I may have gone to play in my room with my dolls and spend time drawing a picture after that. Willie was quiet and went about her work. I wasn’t aware then, but she was hired to care for my brother and me when my mother recovered from surgery that winter of 1958.

My family moved from Chicago when I was 7 to a home in West Bloomfield. Each time we drove back to the city to visit, my heart raced, and I always loved our reunions with family and seeing the lights of Chicago glisten and blink, unlike the suburbs of West Bloomfield Township where the only bright light was a single blinker on the corner of Maple and Middlebelt. I appreciated the expanses of fields, dirt roads and a big back yard.

Today, while we continue to believe Black Lives Matter and celebrate Black History Month, my faint memories of Willie Lister return, and I wonder what her life was like and what became of her. My brother remembered her last name, but she was just Willie to me. I still recall her calm and caring manner, the way she made me feel. I hope she had a loving family with people to cherish her. As reflected in the article below of the artist’s interpretation in the story of Queen Esther and Harriet Tubman, I like to think Willie was the Queen in her family and was honored accordingly. Willie was on the front lines for my family when my mother was recovering from surgery. I say Willie’s name aloud, and I remember her with gratitude and hope. Like so many of our JSL staff and caregivers who not only care for our residents, but their own families, life is complicated, but we do the best we can. 
By The Jewish Museum

For the month of February, we invited writer Antwaun Sargent to explore works of art in the Jewish Museum collection that celebrate the intersection of black and Jewish experience. On the occasion of Purim, which begins on February 25, Sargent examines artist Fred Wilson’s Queen Esther/Harriet Tubman.

In 1992, the contemporary African American artist Fred Wilson, known for his interventions that challenge assumptions of history, culture, race, and conventions of display in museums, gifted a work of art to the Jewish Museum collection on the occasion of the Museum’s 1992 Purim Ball. The work, Harriet Tubman/Queen Esther (1992), is an ink print that combines a sixteenth-century engraving of Queen Esther, the biblical queen who saved the Persian Jews during the time of Xerxes, and an iconic photograph of Harriet Tubman, the black woman born enslaved, who escaped to freedom and then returned to the South to free enslaved black people.

Wilson’s print is a double portrait that portrays Tubman over Queen Esther, as if she is wearing a mask. The image suggests the similarities of the two heroines of black and Jewish histories, and the enduring mythology that surrounds the women, who risked their lives to save their persecuted peoples.
Celebrate Purim with JSL! Send Marvin’s Bistro’s Mishloach Manot to your friends, and enjoy for yourself!
$18 Purim Parcel includes:
6 Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 Brownies 
To place your order, contact Leslie Katz by February 22 at 1pm lkatz@jslmi.org or 248-321-1437

Pick-up February 25 from 2-3 pm at Fleischman Residence: 6710 W. Maple Road, WB, 48322

Call Christina Brown at 248-661-1108 who will bring your order to your car

Brownies and Cookies are Parve
All food Certified Kosher 
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
Feb 19-24 - Virtual Purim Pet Parade

Feb 25 & 26 - Virtual Purim Celebrations by Detroit Conservative Shuls

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!
Looking for festive and safe ways to celebrate Purim with your household next week? Get some inspiration for your table decorations at the link below!
BEHIND THE MASK: Meet our Devoted JSL Family
Feiga Bowick and Mendy, the youngest of her 5 children
Feiga Bowick resides in Oak Park with her husband and five children, ages 9-16. She was one of 7 children growing up. For two years, she has worked as Social Worker/Resident Service Coordinator at Teitel Apartments, prior to that she was the program coordinator at Coville Apartments for 3 years.
Feiga says, “I am blessed to work in an agency with a mission that I strongly believe in. JSL provides outstanding residences and compassionate services that enable older adults to live healthy, joyous and purposeful lives.” It’s all about dignity and respect and she appreciates her coworkers who have the same goals and mindset. “JSL staff are kind, compassionate and caring people. My coworkers at Teitel, go above and beyond for each other, and for our residents. It is a unique and outstanding combination. We are a united family and a constant support for one another. Teitel residents are unique and have had many different experiences throughout their lives. It’s an honor when they share what they’ve gone through, a hardship, challenge or a success. I’m blown away and inspired by their resilience and determination. I’m grateful for the connections that I have with my residents, their families, and my coworkers. I can work in an environment where I can constantly give. Whether it’s a friendly smile, counseling, providing resources, or advocating on their behalf, I’m am truly blessed. Seeing people treat one another with genuine kindness, dignity and respect gives me tremendous joy. JSL is a true hidden gem, a community built on dignity, respect, comfort, care, and love, always."

Feiga smiles when she shares the story of the 95-year-old resident who told her that she loves her. “I smiled. My heart smiled. My soul smiled. By saying, “I love you”, my resident was telling me at that very moment, she felt safe, cared for, connected, empowered and happy.”

The first thing she will do after the pandemic is to say, “Thank you Hashem.”

Feiga’s advice on getting through life right now is to focus on one moment at a time. “Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to feel. Know that there are people available to support you in so many ways. Know that you are not alone. We are in this together, one minute at a time. My hope is that people will continue to feel connected to each other. We will see more kindness and compassion in the beautiful world that we live in.”

She stays active doing kickboxing. She enjoys reading, learning, walking in nature, connecting with family and friends, and taking care of her children. When describing her daughters, she says they are all taller and sometimes people think they are all sisters! When not working, she considers herself her children’s personal uber driver!!

She makes traditional meals that her children love. Friday night it’s always a huge pot of chicken soup with matzah balls that her children eat all day long. Here is her recipe: Chicken skinned (3 or more pieces, on or off the bone) Fresh dill, fresh parsley, fresh cloves of garlic, parsnip, turnip, a bunch of onions (because my kids fight over them), leek, small rutabaga, zucchini, carrots, celery, and salt. She makes it early in the morning and lets it simmer all day.

We are blessed to have you at JSL. Thank you Feiga.
This lovely cashmere feel scarf is available in six colors! Give the gift of coziness and warmth to a friend or yourself. Find these and many other wonderful items at:

Salted Caramel Hamantaschen

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon orange juice
  • 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting parchment and dough

Caramel Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt

  1. To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until sugar melts. After several minutes, the sugar will start to color. Stir the mixture so all the sugar browns. When it is a uniform amber color, turn heat to low, remove saucepan from heat and add the cream. The mixture will bubble up. Add the butter and salt and stir. Return to the heat and cook for one minute, or until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool. Chill in the fridge for at least a half hour to thicken the caramel. Store in the fridge for up to five days.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment. You will bake in batches.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, and orange juice. Add the baking powder, pepper and flour and mix until the dough comes together. I like to use my hands for this because it kneads the dough well. Divide the dough in half.
  4. Take another two pieces of parchment and sprinkle flour on one, place one dough half on top, and then sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll on top of the parchment until the dough is about ¼-inch thick. Every few rolls, peel back the top parchment and sprinkle a little more flour on the dough.
  5. Use a glass or round cookie cutter about 2 to 3 inches in diameter to cut the dough into circles. Place a little less than a teaspoon of the filling in the center and then fold in 3 sides to form a triangle, leaving a small opening in the center. Pinch the 3 sides very tightly. Place on the prepared cookie sheets. Repeat with the rest of the dough and re-roll and cut any dough scraps you have. Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for ten minutes; this helps the hamantaschen hold their shape and not open up while baking.
  6. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Slide the parchment onto racks to cool the cookies. If desired, drizzle any remaining caramel over the cookies. Store covered with plastic or in an airtight container at room temperature for five days or freeze for up to three months.

This recipe is from chabad.org
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!
Rabbi Dovid S. Polter, JSL Community Chaplain
Sweet Expressions
A single word can make or break a world. One extra kind word is what your spouse, neighbor or friend may be anxiously waiting to receive. A kind word is best received when given sweetly in soft tones from someone with a happy demeanor.

As a memento, I once distributed honey sticks at a program before Rosh Hashanah. One resident spontaneously remarked, “Rabbi, how does this write?” I thanked her for her hidden insight.

“Mrs. S., this is actually a honey stick, not a writing pen, but your words speak volumes.” How brilliant to compare a pen to a honey stick. Every written word, message or delivery can be inscribed with sweetness.    

Wouldn’t we all appreciate a kind word right now? 
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
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.
Share This Newsletter