A Message From The CEO

Welcome to our Fall issue of Kavod.  Inside please read about some of the many ongoing, and new initiatives we champion. All of which are intended to add life to the lives of all the residents at Ovation Communities.

Of particular inspiration, is the spotlight on our Geriatric Career Development program (GCD), and especially on Ashanti Tate, CNA, a member of our first graduating class.  We are so proud that Ashanti has chosen to join our caregiving staff!  We are incredibly proud that her desire to be a caregiver led her to join our initial class three years ago. Her dedication and diligence, along with our support to help her obtain her license and guidance towards successful graduation, has culminated in the beginning of a bright and successful career.

We are proud that we can offer such an outstanding program focused on providing a pathway to graduation for Milwaukee high school students. Ashanti is the first of what we hope are many returning graduates that have been mentored by us to care for our loved ones in a compassionate and professional way.

We are incredibly grateful for your support of this program; it costs approximately $5,000 per year, per student, to make a difference in their own life and our community’s life.  We could not continue this effort without your compassionate generosity:  Right now, we are proud to report that we have 40 students enrolled and our alumni group is growing!

Ashanti said, “Learning and working here has been very rewarding, and at the end of the day, I love my residents.”

We’re kvelling! I hope you are too.  You help make these dreams come true.  All in honor of our elders, and in the interest of bringing life to their lives!

With so much gratitude for your ongoing support,

Michael

 

  • September 9, 2021

Golden Alliance Dinner Honors Annual Donors

In 1992 the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation established The Golden
Alliance to help support its Greatest Needs Fund.

“The Golden Alliance is vital to the ongoing operation of Ovation Communities,” said Tanya Mazor-Posner, JHCC Foundation Vice President of Development. “Through the Golden Alliance, members contribute an annual gift that helps ensure residents
consistently receive excellent care as part of a nurturing community, who otherwise could not afford to live at Ovation Communities.

“All donors are important, but the fact that this group makes an annual contribution to our most important fund is something so critical,
especially at this point in our history during a pandemic.”

Showing great appreciation to the almost 90 Golden Alliance members who give gifts annually, Ovation communities hosts an annual dinner to thank them, and show them the importance of their giving.

For the second year in a row, the Golden Alliance Dinner was held virtually through Zoom. This year members received a catered, home delivered meal through Hannah’s Kitchen.

“In addition to dinner, every year speakers are brought in to present on various topics of interest,” Mazor-Posner said. “This year, to discuss a book they wrote about the life of Helen Daniels Bader are, President and CEO of Bader Philanthropies, David Bader; Deirdre Britt who serves as chair for the Helen Bader Daniels Advisory Committee and board secretary; and freelance writer and former education reporter at the Milwaukee Journal, Priscilla Pardini.

“Bader Philanthropies’ support is synonymous in the entire community, but particularly here at Ovation Communities,” Mazor-Posner continued. “Helen Daniels Bader used to be a social worker here at Ovation Jewish Home. Learning about her life is also a nice tie in because Bader Philanthropies helped to fund our Helen Bader Original Floor.”

Since March of 2020, life at Ovation Communities for residents has been turned upside-down. The support received from volunteers and donors has been more important than ever.

To learn more about the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation and ways you can support our mission, please contact Tanya Mazor-Posner at 414-721-9260 or by email at TMazor-Posner@ovation.org

  • September 9, 2021

Meet Bailey Kissack…Chai Point’s New Student Artist in Residence

Ovation Chai Point welcomes a new resident this fall, 21-year-old Bailey Kissack. Bailey, a senior at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying theater production and film, is Ovation’s eighth student artist in residence.

The Student Artist in Residence program was developed more than 10 years ago in partnership with the UWM Creative Trust, an alliance committed to fostering life-long learning through the arts and transforming aging in the process. The group, led by Professor Anne Basting, is focused on bridging the gap between generations.

“Lifelong learning keeps us all young,” said Tricia Cohn, Executive Director at Ovation Chai Point. “We’re so excited to have Bailey join us this year and to have that youthful energy back on our campus.”

In addition to her studies at UWM, Bailey works several jobs, including as a house manager for the Milwaukee Rep. She loves living in the city and enjoys cycling along the lakefront. Her artistic endeavors include a passion for designing and sewing clothing. She also has developed her own timeless style that merges trends from different decades. At Chai Point, she plans to lead a variety of creative art workshops.

“I’m super excited to be here and can’t wait to get to know everyone,” Bailey said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in this unique experience, and I hope the residents get as much out of it as I do. I believe art is a healing force and am looking forward to sharing the pure joy that comes from creating.”

  • September 9, 2021

Art | Ovation: Continuing The Long Tradition of Art Preservation

Founded in 2016 by Judy Margolis, former Ovation Art Committee Chair, and Randy Crosby, Ovation CAO, Art | Ovation is a program that brings in professional and amateur artists to the halls of Ovation Communities.

The Art | Ovation galleries at both the Jewish Home and Chai Point feature work in a variety of mediums such as sculpture, painting, and photography, and often feature the hidden talents among Ovation’s residents.

“Having the art exhibits on a regular basis creates a positive vibe in the culture of the place. It energizes the place; it also gives people a conversation starter,” Randy says. “We’ve brought in a lot of interesting and really good art exhibits, and we’ve been really fortunate to have people who are interested in exhibiting their work.”

Currently on display in the Chai Point Gallery, is the work of current resident, Vladamir “Dima” Kushnaryov. Dima was a microbiologist who worked at the Medical College of Wisconsin for many years. He picked up the skill of painting toward the end of his career.

“It happened so that my son was reading the newspaper and saw an ad from an art store where they offered classes for beginners,” Dima says, “So, he told me, ‘Dad, why don’t you start painting?’ I had never painted in my life before, so he was very generous and offered to pay for the class.

“My nature as a researcher, I like challenges, so when I started to first paint, nothing good came out of my painting,” Dima continues, “So, then I started to take it more seriously. One day, our instructor said that the most difficult medium is watercolor, and here I was asking, ‘is it the most difficult? Then I will do that!’”

Dima’s work includes a variety of landscapes in different settings. Some are from his trips to Ireland, and some are inspired by the trails he walked when he lived at Sarah Chudnow. His favorite paintings are of the various dogs he has encountered, such as Erica, Mr. Becket, and Clyde.

Among the previous installations Art | Ovation has featured was Chai Point resident Shirley Langer’s collection of international walking canes.

“My husband happened to become ill while we were in Spain,” Shirley says, “He was hospitalized, and they recommended that we go home. When we left the hospital, my husband said ‘No way! Maybe we can find a store that sells canes.’ So that is what we did.

“I thought that I would make this a collection, so now wherever we go, we buy a cane,” Shirley continues, “I was first surprised to be asked to display my collection for Art | Ovation. I said, ‘you know more about displays more than I do, so if you’d like to, you’re very welcome to.’”

Displaying various mediums of art across both Ovation campuses has helped improve not only resident’s wellbeing, but it also benefits the employees and returning volunteers. Everyone gets to experience the balance that art and creativity bring to a well-rounded life.

“The pride that people have had in being able to have this, it’s like a travelling art gallery throughout the whole complex.” Trish Cohn, Chai Point Executive Director says. “For me, the arts are so important. When you think about this community, it is really a culture that knows about art, and really likes to be immersed in art, and immersed in different experiences.”

If you or someone you know want their art displayed at Ovation Communities, please reach out at: rmcrosby55@gmail.com

  • September 9, 2021

Lore and Martin Lewin Chai Point Award Honors Employee Excellence

Whether interacting face-to-face with residents and planning activities daily, or cooking behind the scenes in the kitchen, every employee at Ovation Chai Point plays a role in positively affecting the residents.

Two employees who take their roles very seriously, and continuously offer outstanding care and service to residents are; cook, Desiree Winston, and activities coordinator, Ahava Mann. On June 15, 2021, Desiree and Ahava were recognized for their hard work and dedication. They were awarded the prestigious Lore & Martin Lewin Chai Point Employee Excellence Award.

“These two ladies continue to demonstrate outstanding commitment to our residents by going above and beyond their duties,” Chai Point Executive Director Trish Cohn says. “With an emphasis on resident care and teamwork, you continue to fulfill our mission every day.

“There are two things every resident asks themself when they wake up every morning, ‘what am I going to eat and what am I going to do today?’ Cohn continues. “With Desiree and Ahava, residents don’t worry.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

When Desiree is cooking, residents aren’t concerned about what they will be eating, they know it will be good.

Inspired by her grandmother, Desiree is known facility-wide for her soups and omelets. Residents can always tell when Desiree is in front of the stove cooking with love.

“I have to tell you, if you’re ever here on Friday mornings between 7 and 9 am, you have to come to the second floor breakfast room and eat one of Desi’s omelets,” Chai Point resident Barb Franczyk says. “They are to die for. I have told her many times she should open her own omelets only restaurant.”

Since she began working at Ovation Communities, Desiree has strived to become a better cook for the residents.

“I just want to say thank you and let the residents know that everything I do, I do for them,” Desiree says. “It’s the residents who make this job important to me. I come in everyday and think about what I can do to make their day better, and I appreciate the way they appreciate me.”

HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF ACTIVITY

When residents see Ahava roaming the halls, they know their day is going to be action-packed.

For two years, Ahava has worked hard to connect with residents.

“This is my niche,” Ahava said. “I love just sitting with residents and talking to them. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything extra, like putting in more time or more energy into making anything extra special. I’m just being me.”

Among the more popular actives Ahava organizes and plans for residents are a ceramics class, a share and tell open dialogue discussion, and a pre-COVID baking club.

“I have had many firsts here,” Chai Point resident Flora Abramson said. “Ahava helped me bake my first challah. I had never baked. I had never used dough, and Ahava made it a really fun experience.

“She also got me to do ceramics, which I had never done before. She has given me a lot of firsts. Thank you.”

This award and Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation fund were established in 2015 by Lore and Martin Lewin’s daughter: Sharon Lewin and her husband, Jack Edelstein, to honor Sharon’s parents.

When her parents moved to Chai Point, Sharon and Jack found great peace of mind knowing they were in an outstanding place that provides wonderful care and services.

Both Lore came and Martin were immigrants from Germany. Lore came to Milwaukee just before WWII, and Martin came after. They were both residents of Chai Point and greatly valued the dedicated employees who made their lives a blessing.

“My mom worked at Kohls and she knew how important customer service was,” Sharon Lewin said. “The frontline people are the most important people in any business. I don’t care if it’s somebody in Trish’s position or the maintenance department, the activities department, the cleaning department or the cooks and servers; they are the ones making sure the customers are happy and their needs are being met.

“I think the people that work so hard, should be rewarded,” Sharon continued. “That’s why this award is so important to us.”

  • September 9, 2021

Ovation Celebrates First Class of GCD Graduates

In May, Ovation Communities graduated its first class from the Geriatric Career Development (GCD) program. GCD is a first-of-its kind initiative aimed at addressing the long-term care workforce crisis while helping at-risk youth secure higher education and job opportunities. The program first launched at The New Jewish Home in New York and was piloted in Wisconsin at Ovation starting in 2018.

“The GCD program is designed to help guide underserved youth academically and professionally,” said Briana Thompson, GCD Coordinator at Ovation Communities. “Helping high school students get into the work force by providing them the opportunities and tools they need to succeed.”

Ovation currently partners with four Milwaukee high schools: James Madison Academic Campus, Milwaukee Academy of Science, North Division High School and Washington High School. Students spend eight to 10 hours a week learning in the program. This year participants faced the extra challenge of conducting much of their training virtually, taking many classes over Zoom.

Through the GCD program students receive an introduction to the healthcare industry, professional development and life skills counseling, a resident elder mentor, and internship and job placement support. In addition, they have the opportunity to complete their CNA (certified nursing assistant) certification. Ovation also recently added CBRF (community-based residential facility) certification training as an alternative option for those who want to become resident assistants.

Over the past three years the program has grown exponentially. Five seniors graduated in 2021, and 10 juniors and 18 sophomores are in the pipeline. Of the graduating class, three are heading to college, one is pursuing work as a resident assistant, and one has been hired at Ovation as a CNA.

“We’re so proud of our graduates and can’t wait to see what’s next for them,” Thompson said.

Ovation hires first GCD program graduate

Ovation hired its first GCD program graduate, Ashanti Tate, in May. Tate now works as a CNA at Ovation Jewish Home. She is also a recent graduate of James Madison Academic Campus.

Tate was part of the first class to complete Ovation’s GCD program. Through GCD Tate learned she enjoys the healthcare field as well as the bonding experiences with fellow students, coworkers and residents. Her passion for helping others started at a young age when she began caring for her autistic brother. Tate takes a great sense of pride in her accomplishment and is looking forward to continuing her work at Ovation.

“I’m very happy to be able to start my career at Ovation,” said Tate. “Learning and working here has been very rewarding, and at the end of the day, I love my residents.”

Tate feels fortunate for the growth and learning opportunities the GCD program has allowed her. Because of the experience, she’s found her path in healthcare and is considering college at some point in the future to continue growing in her career.

Originally established in Partnership with LeadingAge and LeadingAge Wisconsin, the GCD Program is currently funded through private donations that have been solicited through the Jewish Home and  Care Center Foundation and a generous grant by the Harri Hoffman Family Foundation, as well The Herbert and Ruth L. Giller Family Endowment.

  • September 9, 2021

Ovation Partners with Local Artist to Celebrate Life Stories

Ovation Communities, with gratitude to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation for their support of this program, recently partnered with local Milwaukee artist Angela Shelstad, creator of Project Hue, to celebrate life stories through art.

Over the past three years Shelstad captured the stories of 11 Ovation residents and program participants, turning their memories into paintings and videos. As part of her process, Shelstad sat down with each person to talk about their life, dreams and adventures as the inspiration for her artwork.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” Shelstad said. “Project Hue helps people celebrate who they are and some of the most wonderful moments in their lives. At the same time, their memories are preserved as a permanent keepsake for that person, their family and their friends.”

Shelstad’s work has had a positive impact on many of Ovation’s residents and Adult Day Services participants with memory loss. The initiative provides a way for older adults to maintain their identity and individuality. Creative art programs like Project Hue have been shown to improve self-confidence, stimulate brain health, reinforce a strong sense of identity and reduce isolation.

“We’re so thrilled to partner with Angela to bring Project Hue to life,” said Dawn Adler, Ovation’s Director of Adult Day Services. “We all crave connection and meaningful activities, and this partnership is a great example of some of the unique things we do at Ovation. It’s about bringing a wide range of rich and interactive programs that bring joy to the heart and create long lasting relationships.”

  • September 9, 2021

Ovation Employees Recognized for Excellence in Resident Care and Customer Service

The Maurice S. Surlow Recognition Award for Employee Excellence was established in 2000 and made possible by a bequest to the Jewish Home & Care Center Foundation from the estate of Mr. Surlow to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Mr. Surlow immigrated to Milwaukee from Hungary in the early part of the 20th Century and became a successful retail owner. He was also passionate about our Jewish community. Working closely with family members, Bob, Burt, Jim and Debbie Zucker who conceived the award for excellence, a team of staff at the Jewish Home developed an innovative program that would recognize staff members who made special efforts to care for residents with the best customer service.

The 2021 Maurice S. Surlow Recognition Award for Employee Excellence winners are:

OVATION JEWISH HOME
Left to Right: Michael Sattell, President/CEO,
Vicky Mack– LPN,
Gedaliah Lieberman– Mashgiach,
Joycel Tayone –Oasis Server,
Katie Quintanilla, Jewish Home Administrator

OVATION CHAI POINT
Left to Right: Michael Sattell, President/CEO,
Carolyn Schuman– Social Worker,
Trish Cohn, Chai Point Executive Director

In honor of Maurice S. Surlow and this year’s award winners, all Ovation employees were treated to lunch.

 

 

  • June 21, 2021

New Technology Keeps The Music Playing, Improves Emotional Wellbeing for Jewish Home Residents

Early this year the activities department at Ovation Jewish Home started using a new app to engage residents through personalized music. SOLO, developed by a technology startup company in Israel, uses facial recognition to match a user’s playlist to their mood.

Research suggests that music provides emotional and behavioral benefits for older adults, especially those with dementia and cognitive issues. Songs and melodies can evoke serenity, energy and movement, as well as nostalgia, memory and a renewed experience of past emotions.

The Ovation activities team helps residents set up tailored SOLO profiles with tags for language, music genre and other preferences. When a resident uses the app, a facial scan recognizes seven emotions from 42 muscles, and plays music adapted to their current emotional state. For instance, calming music might be used to relieve anxiety and upbeat songs to ease sadness.

“Music allows people to become more engaged in their reality,” said Kevin Farinelli, Music Therapist at Ovation Jewish Home. “It’s really wonderful to see someone’s face light up when they’re listening to the languages, sounds, and songs they love.”

During the pandemic, the new technology has also allowed caregivers to engage residents one-on-one simultaneously at a time when many larger group activities are on hold. It allows the listener to feel part of a broader group and community, through the commonality of song.

While long-term care providers and hospitals in other countries including Israel, Russia, and Japan are already using SOLO, Ovation Communities is the first senior living provider in the U.S. to pilot the program. The app subscription is funded by a grant from the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation.

 

  • June 21, 2021

Board of Directors Spotlight: Get to Know Jay Frank

Jay Frank is a wealth manager whose training helps people use their financial resources to achieve their objectives through appropriate investments, cash flow management, tax strategies, estate planning and family communication. He is passionate about serving his clients and feels fulfilled to have a profession where his contributions matter. As of July 1, 2020, Jay Frank has been leading Ovation Jewish Home as the Chairman of the Board. Frank served on the Jewish Home and Chai Point boards, as well as Ovation’s Joint Executive Committee, before being named Jewish Home chairman, and he remains committed fulfilling all strategic pillars of the organization.


Question: How did you first get involved with Ovation Communities?

Jay Frank: I had some experience with the Milwaukee Jewish Home and Care Center when my father was a resident in 2004. But I became really involved with Ovation when my mother made a move to Chai Point several years ago. My mother had originally moved from out of town and spent a few years living alone in our neighborhood after her retirement as a professor. Chai Point was a fabulous destination where she met many friends and found a real community where she could continue to be independent. As the years progressed, her memory issues resulted in a relocation to the Helen Bader Center which was more appropriate for her new status.

Q: What is it that you enjoy most about serving Ovation Communities?

JF: In my time with Ovation, I have grown in admiration for the responsibilities of our dedicated staff. When asked to dedicate some of my time and expertise, I was eager to assist and try to fulfill some of responsibility to support our community. We have a world class resource and we have a responsibility to cherish and protect its future. I have been so impressed by the quality of many of our lay leaders. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated group.

Q: As chairman of the Jewish Home board, what is the first thing you’re going to address?

JF: Before Covid, I was privileged to be part of Ovation’s Strategic Planning Task Force designed to establish a set of priorities for Ovation to respond to the challenges facing our community. After carefully considering the broad range of needs, the task force identified major pillars to provide direction for the next five years. As Chairperson, I am committed to all of the pillars, but I am particularly committed to four areas:

1. To focus on Governance to increase the involvement of community stakeholders in Ovation and to streamline the governance functions.

2. To focus on making certain that Ovation has the licensing and programming to provide a continuum of care so that there are many living options available to our residents to meet their needs.

3. To focus on making certain that Ovation is a multigenerational gathering place of members of our community both as residents and non-residents through programs, services, and events. 4. To maintain our leadership in research and education in the areas of aging and to continue to collaborate with the University communities to provide a framework for best practices.

Q: What are your hobbies and how do you spend your free time?

JF: My wife and I invest much of our free time in our children and grandchildren. After decades as a clinical dietitian in long-term care, she is now a professional Bubbe and community volunteer. She is one of the directors of The Torah Academy of Milwaukee’s annual musical. I am active on several Boards of Directors. I also have a commitment to regularly learning Torah throughout the day. I enjoy singing and genuinely enjoy participating in prayer services with others. I enjoy home repair and remodeling projects. My grandchildren think Zaidy can fix anything. I enjoy the opportunity to purchase “new tools” to help me.

  • June 21, 2021

Story of Survival: One Man’s Journey Helps Israel Thrive

On Sunday May 2, 2021, former Israel Air Force Commander and the former CEO of EL AL Airlines, Major General Elyezer Shkedy shared the story of his father’s survival of the Holocaust in Hungary, and his own experiences from his military career, including his role in a ceremonial Israel Air Forces (IAF) fly-over of Auschwitz.

Jews living in Hungary during WWII were no strangers to anti-Semitism. After aligning with Nazi Germany, Anti-Semitic legislation was passed and more than 100,000 Jewish men living in Hungary were mobilized for forced work.

“When Hungary joined the war against the Allies, nearly 20,000 Jews from Kanenetz-Podolsk who held Polish or Soviet citizenship were turned over to the Germans and murdered,” said Holocaust educator David Bitan, who also joined the virtual discussion. “In May 1944 the deportations to Auschwitz began. In Just eight weeks, some 424,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In all, some 565,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered.”

One Hungarian Jew who took control of his fate was Moshe Shkedy. Already crammed into a train and headed to Auschwitz, Moshe decided he was not going to let the Nazis decide what came of his life. In a life or death moment, Moshe chose life and jumped from the moving train.

Moshe survived the jump and spent the rest of the war living in Budapest helping other Jews survive by obtaining fake Swiss documents. According to his son, Elyezer, “after the war he came back to his village (in Hungary). He was there for about two years hoping that someone from his family would come back. Unfortunately, they never came back. All of his family was murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz.”

After two years Moshe relocated to Israel and made Aliyah. In Israel, Moshe lived his life and had a family. His son Elyezer made a career in the IAF. As he climbed through the ranks of the IAF, Elyezer took part in some high-end military operations, including a ceremonial flyover of Auschwitz in 2003.

Throughout his life Moshe continued to wonder why he survived WWII and his family didn’t. In 2015, toward the end of his life, Elyezer believes his father finally got the answer he was looking for.

“In 2007 the IAF attacked a nuclear reactor in Syria,” Elyezer said. “After the attack I received a letter from the Prime Minister in those days,

Ehud Olmert, with appreciation for what we did and how we did it. Also, about the meaning of this attack for the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish Nation.

“At the end of the letter, in his own handwriting, he wrote, ‘best regards to your father.’ He knew the story of my father?!”

Participating in a top-secret mission, Elyezer could not speak of the mission or the letter he received with anyone.

Eight years later, with Moshe on his deathbed, Elyezer decided it was time to share the letter with his father.

“I took the letter to him. He didn’t talk a lot, or at all,” Elyezer said. “But I saw in his eyes that he understood everything. I read the letter for him and I saw something unbelievable. After I read the letter, he began to cry, and I saw that he had big relief in his body language.

“I think, and I don’t know if I’m right or wrong,” Elyezer continued. “I felt that this was the first time in his whole life that he got the answer to the question ‘why he survived?’ So, he thought, (his survival) was for the air force, it was for the mission, and for the survival of the State of Israel and the Jewish nation. A couple of weeks later he passed away.

“On behalf of my father in the sky. On behalf of myself, and on behalf of all of us. May G-d who makes peace…bring peace to all mankind and for Israel. Amen.”

  • June 21, 2021

Ovation Intergenerational Program Connects Residents and Volunteers Digitally

When the pandemic changed daily life at Ovation Communities, school groups and volunteers were no longer able to visit in person, Julie​ Shlensky sprung into action. Shlensky, Posner Chair for Intergenerational Programming, had to pivot quickly and find new and creative ways to bring generations together in meaningful and mutually beneficial ways.

One initiative that really took off was Ovation’s Intergenerational Connections Program, which pairs young community volunteers with Ovation residents as pen pals, or in this case, phone pals. Through the reintroduction of this program, Chai Point resident Allen Koren first met youth volunteer Joey Arnstein in May of last year. They’ve been talking weekly via phone or video chat ever since.

Joey and Allen have found they have a lot in common; they both love sports and have an interest in current world events. They’ve had no shortage of things to talk about.

“We really enjoy each other’s company and conversation,” Allen said. “The program has filled a void during the pandemic and kept me busy. It’s been so interesting to learn and appreciate the perspective of an entirely different generation.”

The pair built such a strong bond that Joey and his family invited Allen to participate in his recent Zoom bar mitzvah, where they both spoke with admiration about each other.

“He’s become a really important part of my life.Joey said. “I was so excited that he could participate in my big day. We have a lot of similarities, and building this connection, especially during quarantine, has been amazing.”

As part of his bar mitzvah project Joey asked friends and family for donations that allowed Ovation to purchase iPad stands so residents can stay in touch with their loved ones. Joey and Allen plan to continue their weekly calls, even beyond the pandemic, and hope to meet in person sometime soon.

“It has been extremely rewarding for me to play matchmaker over the past year when many people were faced with increasing loneliness and social isolation,” Shlensky said. “Continuing to bring generations together in new ways has had countless positive benefits on the physical and mental health of not only our residents, but young people in the community as well.”

Eliana Karan Organizes Purim Baskets for Residents

Eliana Karan’s great-grandfather is a resident at Ovation Jewish Home. As part of her bat mitzvah project, Eliana rallied her family and friends to raise more than $2,000 on behalf of Ovation Communities.

With the funds raised Eliana and her friends put together more than 90 Purim baskets to spread joy to residents during the holiday. The colorful baskets included hamantashen pastries, groggers, Purim masks, fuzzy slippers and lottery tickets.

Inspired by her great-grandfather and her own love of the arts, Eliana also organized a virtual talent show. This video compilation of her friends singing, dancing, playing ukulele, and juggling fire, among a variety of other talents, will be streamed for Ovation residents.

“It made me really happy to be able to help our elders and share that happiness during Purim,” Eliana said. “I gained some wonderful new connections, and a few of my friends were even inspired to start their own service projects.”

As a result of Joey and Eliana’s Bnai Mitzvah projects, The Foundation’s Posner Intergen Program has launched a Bnai Mitzvah program to encourage and engage other community youth to celebrate their special milestone with Ovation residents in meaningful and creative ways.

 

For more information on the Bnai Mitzvah program, contact Julie Shlensky, Intergenerational Program Coordinator, 414.721.9253 or email JShlensky@ovation.org.

  • June 21, 2021
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