A Message From The CEO

In this issue of Kavod we have the distinct honor of recognizing an extraordinary leader, friend, and generous contributor to Ovation Communities; Bill Komisar. Bill recently decided to step down as a director of both our Jewish Home and Foundation boards of directors. This follows 25 years of dedication to our residents!

Bill however won’t be leaving us completely; he will remain a member of our investment committee. Please read about his unparalleled impact on the lives of Jewish Home and Chai Point residents.

Bill is just one of more than 60 of our board directors and committee members who all selflessly dedicate their time and expertise to further our mission and to honor our mothers and fathers. We are so grateful to all of our volunteers and our community is forever enriched by their dedication and service.

If you would like to join them in adding life to our residents’ lives, please let me know, and I guarantee we have a place for you!

  • March 8, 2022

After Decades of Service Bill Komisar Retires from Ovation Boards

William (Bill) Komisar recently announced his retirement from the Ovation Jewish Home and the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation Boards of Directors. Throughout his tenure, Bill graciously took critically important leadership positions as Chairman of the Board of Sarah Chudnow Community, Jewish Home, and Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation, as well as spearheading several major projects and fundraising efforts. Michael Sattell, President & CEO, sat down with Bill to talk about his long involvement with Ovation Communities, his plans for the near future, and his passion for volunteering.

Bill reflected that his involvement began in fourth grade visiting his grandfather, Frank Komisar, at the Jewish Convalescent Center on 51st and Silver Spring. “Later, I saw how well they took care of my grandma and my Aunt Bessie as well.” (The Convalescent Center later merged with the Jewish Home).

Around 1986, Nita Corre asked Bill to join the Jewish Home and Care Center Board, where others quickly “found out you’re a CPA and then, you’re Treasurer,” according to Bill.

Throughout his career, Bill recalls several moments he is proud of, with perhaps the rebuilding of the Jewish Home, from 2005 thru 2007, being most impactful. Along with that came the extraordinarily considerate, but complicated decision to purchase the Mequon Care Center so all Jewish Home residents could move there to avoid living through the tumult of the substantial reconstruction of their home. Bill feels that “the rebuild was remarkable and remains beautiful today.”

Bill is grateful for the relationships he’s made with other board members over the years, pointing out his friendships with Rick Rakita and Mike Joseph early on. During his leadership tenure, both Bill’s mother and father resided at the Jewish Home, where Bill continued to witness “the loving care they gave to my parents. Such kind souls.”

Bill, who also happens to be an attorney in his professional life, has recently retired as a partner at CLA, following a more than 40-year Public Accounting career that included leading his family’s firm, Komisar, Brady & CO., and is currently working as the CFO at a spice company. His wonderful wife Becky said, “My husband retired to a 40-hour per week job!” He and Becky enjoy traveling to see their three children and grandchildren — two and counting! — in Washington, D.C. He remains an integral part of our Foundation’s Investment Committee and hopes to continue volunteering. Bill and Becky have also been incredibly generous donors to the Foundation and in support of all residents.

“A ‘Mensch’ is a person of integrity and honor, this describes my friend, Bill Komisar, both on a personal and professional level,” said Arleen Peltz, Ovation Jewish Home and Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation board member. “His years of serving on the boards of the Jewish Home and the Foundation of the Jewish Home was with dedication.

“In the many years we have served together, I learned so much from him, especially when I became the chair of the Jewish Home and Bill was my mentor,” Peltz continued. “The achievements Ovation Communities has made would not have been possible if not for his wise counsel and patient advice. I am proud to call Bill my friend.”

A fund in Bill’s name was established several years ago to support employee enhancements. He encourages others to immerse themselves in volunteering, offering a good way to start is to “show your talents in a specific field by joining a committee. You meet a lot of really good people, which is very rewarding. And those relationships are invaluable.”

  • March 8, 2022

Introducing Dr. Taani, Ovation Communities’ Second Professor in Aging

Ovation Communities is excited to announce its new Professor in Aging, Dr. Murad Taani. This position is supported by the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation. Dr. Taani succeeds Dr. Christine Kovach who retired in 2020.

Question: Tell us a bit about your background.

Dr. Taani: I grew up in Jordan and earned my bachelor’s degree in nursing there in 2007. In 2010, I moved to the United States and subsequently completed my master’s in public health at New Mexico State University in 2014 and doctorate in nursing at UW-Milwaukee in 2017. During my graduate studies I also worked as a nurse in medsurg, oncology and critical care, and worked in research and as a teaching assistant. My current role is assistant professor in UWM’s College of Nursing, where I teach nursing students and conduct research around improving quality of life in older adults.

Q: Why did you decide on the career path you are on today?

DT: I have always been interested in science and research and had a desire to impact lives in positive ways. Nothing is as interesting and rewarding to me as helping older adults. I am also very passionate about conducting research, learning about the aging process, and promoting health in our older adult population.

Q: What research projects are you currently working on?

DT: Through a grant from Bader Philanthropies, we are in the first phase of a study on lung health. We are looking at ways to improve lung health, strengthen respiratory muscles, and increase physical ability in older adults. The team will be recruiting participants for the study in the next month or two, and the project is expected to take about two years to complete.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new role as Ovation’s next
professor in aging?

DT: I want to thank Ovation Communities for this wonderful opportunity. It will allow me to focus on my passion of promoting health in aging adults. I work with many organizations and have never seen one as dedicated as Ovation is to helping people live longer, better, healthier lives. Together, I hope we can increase our research capabilities to continue to improve the health and wellbeing of Ovation’s residents, and older adults nationally and internationally.

Q: What trends in older adult wellness are important to pay attention to?

DT: There are a few areas that are especially important right now: improving physical performance and physical ability to keep people independent longer; addressing social isolation especially during the pandemic; and investigating causes and treatments for cognitive impairment.

Q: What are your initial impressions of Ovation Communities?

DT: I have found Ovation to be a place that truly cares about its residents. Everyone works seamlessly as a team and goes above and beyond to provide the best possible care in every aspect of daily life, not just health. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to work with them. Ovation is really an unbelievable, wonderful residential facility.

  • March 8, 2022

Live Classical Music Returning to Ovation

Ovation Communities is committed to providing high-quality programming for its residents. Thanks to a recent generous endowment gift to the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation, a new Chai Point Classical Music Fund has been established allowing for the return of live classical performances.

“We are beyond grateful for this gift and excited to see all the joy the Chai Point Classical Music Fund will bring to our residents, many of whom are classical music lovers,” said Tanya Mazor-Posner, Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation Vice President of Development. “Many of us haven’t been able to go out and hear live music over the past year, so we wanted to bring the music to Ovation.”

Classical music is often recognized for its calming effects and recent studies have found it can also positively enhance memory. The musical performances will be available to all residents through both in person and remote options

  • March 8, 2022

Partnership with University Trains Next Generation of Health Care Administrators

Originally from Sun Prairie, Wis., and attending University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Ally Thiel knew she wanted to work in the health care industry.

“Originally when I got to Eau Claire, I was a nursing major,” Thiel said. “I was also working as a CNA, and after about a year, I realized that nursing wasn’t for me.

I wanted to work more on the business side of health care.

“I had a friend in the Healthcare Administration Program, and she highly recommended it,” Thiel continued. “I looked into that, and I liked that it was a combination of the medical side of things, but also the business side of things, so I joined the program and changed my major.”

As part of the UW–Eau Claire Healthcare Administration program, students are required to participate in a 50-week administrative residency.

Interviewing at several facilities, including ones in Iowa and Minnesota, Thiel knew Ovation Communities was exactly where she wanted to be. Working directly with Katie Quintanilla, Jewish Home Administrator, Thiel has been able to experience every facet of senior living.

“When I interviewed with Katie, I knew this was my number one choice,” Thiel said. “I have really enjoyed it here and learning from everyone.”

Running from June 2021 through May 2022, Thiel takes her turn working with every department from nursing to admissions, marketing, and dining, learning how each department operates.

While she has, and is spearheading several projects, including a resident snack program, a falls prevention program, a school supply collection drive, and Teen Ovation, the most exciting and important part of the residency for Thiel has been getting to know the residents.

“During my Activities Department rotation, I got the chance to play trivia with the residents, and it was incredible how they knew every answer,” Thiel said. “People don’t give seniors enough credit. They often think that seniors aren’t paying attention. Then you play a game of trivia with them, and you realize they know more than you do.”

Throughout the residency, Thiel has been able to gain valuable experience and leadership skills that will help guide her over the course of her career.

“This program is so important and valuable, not just for the student to gaining real-world experience and opportunities in the day-to-day operations of a facility,” Quintanilla said. “But also, for the facility, having fresh eyes and having another team member being part of quality improvement projects to enhance the daily lives of residents

“One of the best things about Ally is her initiative,” Quintanilla continued. “She’s not afraid to ask the right questions and she’ll follow through on her own. My hope is that Ally continues her career in health care. She is such an empathetic, caring, and intuitive person. That is such a value to health care.”

As she approaches her May graduation, Thiel doesn’t know what the future holds but she would never rule out a return to Ovation Communities.

“Trish Cohn always says, ‘all roads lead back to Ovation.’ So, we’ll see what my future holds.”

  • March 8, 2022

Message From The CEO

Shalom! and hoping this latest issue of KAVOD finds you and your family well!

This past year has presented additional challenges to Ovation Communities as the pandemic lingers on.  But, it has also afforded us an opportunity to continue innovating and planning for our future, while providing outstanding care and services for our residents, today.  First, please know that the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation remains strong and capable of helping our community’s elders.  Please take a moment to review the Foundation’s brief Annual Report found by turning a few more pages.

During this past year we have attracted local students and young professionals though our newly created Teen Ovation and NextGen Ovation initiatives, engaging them to virtually visit our residents and developing future leaders for our communities.

In addition, we have innovated virtually by:

  • expanding outreach through our Adult Day Programs, and by working with area agencies and synagogues. This ensures isolated older adults needs be met
  • coordinating Israeli visits hosted by David Bitan, offering live tours of significant cultural sights accompanied by history lessons
  • continued assurance for residents and families to gather virtually through FaceTime, Skype and other resources.

We are also so grateful for your support of our employees. Monthly luncheons sponsored by Hand-In-Hand are a needed and much appreciated respite for our very hard working and dedicated staff. Your donations to our Employee Appreciation Fund ensure that each employee receives a gift this holiday season.

Thank you for your continued support of our vision to Add Life to Lives, L’dor L’dor, From Generation to Generation.

  • December 22, 2021

Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation Annual Report

Despite the challenges Ovation Communities has faced through this pandemic, it continues to follow its mission of providing a quality Jewish environment for residents with comfort, meaning, independence and dignity. Finding new and creative ways to engage with and help support residents, the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation is an important pillar of the organization.

“This past fiscal year was extraordinary for many reasons, led by the ongoing pandemic and its emotional and financial impact on all of Ovation Communities,” said JHCCF VP of Development, Tanya Mazor-Posner. “Through the kindness of residents, families, volunteers and donors, we have been able to continue make an impact and add life to the lives of residents.”

In fiscal year 2021 the Foundation provided over $4 million in grants to Ovation Communities for operating cash, capital expenditures to upgrade and improve our buildings, and targeted underwriting of resident’s care, services, and activities.

The Foundation ended its year with $195,595,865 in net assets, represented by $140 million in unrestricted funds, $62 million in Board designated funds for resident financial assistance and future capital expenditures, and $24 million in temporarily restricted funds for the following purposes.

Temporarily Restricted Funds:                               ($000 Omitted)

Resident Care, Services and Activities                      $ 13,078
Spiritual Development                                                  $ 976
Facilities Support                                                             $ 13,004
Employee Education                                                       $ 2,468
Employee Appreciation                                                 $ 270
Greatest Needs Funds                                                   $ 3,906

“Adapting our programs amid the pandemic has been an exciting challenge,” Mazor-Posner said. “We have been able to increase our use of technology to continue and enhance the relationships formed pre pandemic. We are proud that we continued to impact their lives in many ways.”

  • Residents at our three facilities: 502
  • Adult Day Program attendees: 600; Total days of service: 3,244
  • Volunteers: 90; Total hours volunteered: 1,000
  • Geriatric Career Development students: 34; Total direct hours with our residents: 340
  • Intergenerational programs: 32; with 266 students from 17 youth organizations and schools, engaging with 921 residents

We continue to remain strong in the face of this ongoing uncertainty because of your support,” Mazor-Posner said. “Thank you for your continued dedication, and for recognizing the significance and beauty of our mission to enhance our residents’ lives and provide the highest level of service and care that they deserve.”

  • December 22, 2021

Helen Bader Center Set for CBRF Renovation

In the coming months, Ovation Communities will be renovating the Jewish Home’s Helen Bader Center, relicensed as a Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) dedicated to serving those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

“This new CBRF allows us to honor and elevate the vision that Helen Daniels Bader had thirty years ago,” said Michael Sattell, Ovation Communities President and CEO. “This renovated space will allow our loved ones to live in a nurturing environment by providing person-centered care focused on sensory stimulation through music and the arts.”

For more information and regular updates, please follow Ovation Communities at facebook.com/Ovation Communities.

  • December 22, 2021

Hand in Hand: Ovation’s Volunteer Arm Serves Critical Role

For 115 years Hand in Hand has supported Ovation Communities by providing companionship and comfort for residents and staff, and funding essential services and equipment. Over the past year and a half, this group of dedicated volunteers has been more important than ever.

“The relationship we have formed with Hand in Hand, has allowed us to continue to provide residents with the best care and services,” said Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation Vice President of Development, Tanya Mazor-Posner.” In addition to residents, Hand in Hand has also shown an appreciation for our dedicated staff.”

With Ovation’s frontline workers going the extra mile to care for residents throughout the pandemic, Hand in Hand initiated and continues to sponsor a monthly staff luncheon. These grab and go events allow employees to enjoy a catered meal during a busy workday and help boost morale and show appreciation during an especially challenging time.

In addition, a grant from Hand in Hand recently funded the purchase of a Sit to Stand Lift for the organization. The new device allows caregivers to help residents change positions safely and securely. Residents can hold onto handlebars and the lift does all the work. The Sit to Stand assists with essential activities like getting out of bed or up from a chair. Over the years Hand in Hand’s grant program, through the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation, has ensured residents have access to new technology that enhances their care.

Hand in Hand volunteers continue to focus on lifting spirits and extending friendship throughout the community. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, contact Tanya Mazor-Posner, tmazor-posner@ovation.org

“Hand in Hand is a very high impact volunteer organization that has been around at the Jewish Home in since its inception in 1906. Over time it has morphed into a group of dedicated people whose purpose is to support Ovation’s staff and residents in a variety of ways.”

 –Phil Himmelfarb, Hand in Hand chair

  • December 22, 2021

Adult Day Services Expands Reach Despite Pandemic

Renowned Programs Now Offered Virtually

 Over the years, many older adults with memory loss have benefited from Ovation Communities’ robust Adult Day Services programming. Adult Day Services offers the independence of home living combined with the connection of being part of a joyful community. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, participants and families who relied on this day-to-day support and assistance increasingly struggled due to isolation, loneliness, and the loss of important routines. Adult Day Services quickly pivoted to roll out its innovative programs virtually and provide critical resources for both caregivers and their loved ones.

“In some way, all families have been touched by the overwhelming stress of the past 18 months, which is only compounded for those dealing with memory loss,” said Ovation Communities Social Worker, Dana Rubin-Winkelman. “We want people to know they’re not alone, and we have the tools and resources to help ease some of their challenges and offer support.”

Ovation is the only organization statewide currently offering this kind of virtual programming. Participants are even joining from cities outside of Milwaukee, including Madison and Green Bay, to connect, gain a new sense of purpose, and stay engaged.

A Gift to the Community

Generously funded by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Adult Day Services is implementing a series of virtual programs and workshops to address social isolation for older adults in the Milwaukee-area Jewish community. The efforts are focused on proactive brain health, stigma reduction, and combatting the negative effects of isolation and loneliness. So far, program partners include Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid, Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Jewish Community Center and Shorewood Senior Resource Center.

“We’re excited to work with our growing list of community partners and highly respected industry professionals to reach out to more people in new and innovative ways,” said Ovation Communities Director of Adult Day Services, Dawn Adler. “These virtual services are open to everyone. We help people connect to important resources and a supportive community network.”

Studies have found that feelings of loneliness may be linked to poor cognitive performance and can increase the risk of dementia. These entertaining, interactive workshops bring people together while working on a variety of topics to improve brain health and overall wellbeing.

Virtual Services & Programs

  •  ReCharge Interactive Brain Health Class

A fun, interactive class that brings people together while working to improve memory.

  • R&R Club: Recharge and Renew Social Club

Connect socially and enjoy a variety of guest entertainers, artists and presenters.

  • SPARK!

This collaborative program with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee combines art and featured exhibits.

  • Caregiver Support Group

Dedicated to those providing care and support for a loved one with memory loss.

  • Supportive Wellness Group

Participants engage in a supportive group focusing on emotional needs and overall wellness.

  • Family Support and Consultation

Services including advice, counseling and community resources provided by a Master Level Social Worker.

  • Touch Points: A Spark of Light with Dana e-Newsletter

Provides meaningful connection and support during the uncertainty of the pandemic.

  • Community Brain Health & Wellness Workshops

A wide array of community workshops including the Brain & Body Boost and Synagogue Art & Light Collaboration.

To learn more about Adult Day Services program offerings and community outreach, contact Dawn Adler 414-277-8838 dadler@ovation.org or Dana Rubin-Winkelman 414-721-9249 DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org. All programs are currently virtual.

 

  • December 22, 2021

Beth Draper Retiring After Years of Working with Volunteers

Beth has always worked in the Jewish community. She began her career teaching kindergarten at the Milwaukee Jewish Day School in 1986 and taught there until 2009. Thereafter, she worked as the Sunday School principal for Congregation Shir Hadash and then found her way Ovation Communities as the first formal Volunteer Coordinator. Beth turned the program established by Hand in Hand into the professional program that it is today.

“Beth has brought our volunteer department from so-so, to a very large and diverse group of people, young and old,” said Mary Anne-Selby, Hand in Hand and Ovation Jewish Home Board Member. “These volunteers have given their time to fill the lives of our residents with happiness, joy and companionship.”

When Beth began her tenure, she was told to remember one important rule: “Volunteers are golden to our organization, so be sure to treat them that way.” Many of our volunteers have been involved with our organization through generations.

Throughout her journey as the volunteer manager, Beth developed community partnerships with local universities. In 2012, Beth received the Community Partner Award from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on behalf of Ovation’s volunteer program. Under Beth’s leadership Ovation Communities has won several awards for its volunteer program.

“If you put in as much effort enjoying your retirement as you have working for Ovation Communities, it is sure to be a success,” said Arleen Peltz, Board Member and Past Board Chair, Ovation Jewish Home and the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation.

  • December 22, 2021

Residents Go On Virtual Tours of Israel

While the pandemic has presented many challenges in providing enriching activities for residents, it also presented some very unique opportunities. This summer, Israeli educator and Ovation collaborator David Bitan led numerous virtual tours of Israel for residents and community members.

David toured locations throughout Israel which showcased Jewish history, Israel’s history, military prowess, culture, and charming slices of Israeli life. These tours were featured and recorded on Zoom and have now been posted to the Foundation’s YouTube channel so that residents and other community members can enjoy them at their leisure.

“To bring Israel to the community in the midst of this pandemic is one of the most fantastic ideas that we came up with in partnership with one another,” Bitan said. “To connect Ovation’s residents to Israel, its landscapes, and historical sites, warms the heart and soul.”

 

Virtual tours

have included:

  • The Old City o f Jerusalem
  • Neveh Zedek neighborhood of Tel-Aviv
  • Tel-Faher in the Golan Heights
  • Caesaria,
  • Um El Umdan (in Modiin)
  • Old Jaffa
  • a kibbutz tour
  • Zichron Yaakov
  • The Kastel and Mini Israel.

This program was made possible through a grant by the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation.

 

  • December 21, 2021