Category: Kavod Connections

Willy the Yellow Lab Brings Smiles to Ovation Residents

Pet Therapy Enhances Social, Emotional and Physical Health for Seniors

Bob Peterson visits Ovation Communities every Thursday afternoon. While he has no family members living at Ovation, residents and staff eagerly anticipate his weekly visits with Willy, a nine-year-old yellow lab, by his side.

Sometimes pets are more than just furry friends. Willy is a certified therapy dog who has worked with Bob visiting hospitals and senior living communities for most of his life. Research has shown significant social, emotional and overall health benefits for seniors who have regular interaction with animals. Pet therapy can bring numerous benefits to health and wellbeing, improving overall quality of life. Spending time with a pet can also be a powerful way to combat loneliness and isolation, bringing comfort and companionship while reducing stress.

“Willy gets such a positive response when we visit Ovation,” said Peterson. “Many of the residents are waiting for us when we arrive. They seem to really enjoy the chance to spend time with Willy and give him a pet or hug.”

The benefits have been mutual. Willy looks forward to the Thursday afternoon visits and gets excited as soon as he jumps in the car. Peterson too enjoys the opportunity to connect with others and give back.

“It is so rewarding to get the chance to brighten someone’s day,” added Peterson.
“Willy loves making people happy, and I enjoy the time visiting with residents and sharing stories. It has been nice for both of us to make new friends.”


Emotional Benefits

Physical Benefits

Social /Mental Benefits

Spotlight on Staff: Rosie Goines Wins Beyond Caregiving Award

Each year, the Wisconsin Representatives of Activity Professionals (WRAP) holds an awards banquet recognizing extraordinary individuals who exemplify leadership and the exceptional achievements of activity professionals, as well as other healthcare professionals working in senior communities. The Beyond Caregiving Award is presented to a caregiver in a facility who goes above and beyond caring for the whole person, recognizing the importance of meaningful activities and quality of life, and must be nominated by a facility that employs at least one WRAP member.

The Jewish Home Director of Activities, Kimberly Rosenau, serves as a board member for WRAP, and when it came time for nominations, one person stood out to her above the rest — Rosie Goines. Rosie is the Jewish Home Clinical Staffing Coordinator, but Rosie wears many hats at Ovation Communities.

“Rosie immediately came to mind, and after speaking with our Director of Nursing, Laura Bauer, we decided that Rosie exemplified the spirit of the Beyond Caregiving Award,” said Rosenau. “Rosie is someone who always goes above and beyond her job description, providing personalized care to our residents, and always leads by example.”

This past September, Rosie, accompanied by her son Anthony and colleagues, Katie Quintanilla, Jewish Home Administrator, Laura Bauer, Jewish Home Director of Nursing, Kelly Wegmuller, Jewish Home Director of Education, and Mike Silverman, President of Ovation Communities, attended the banquet in the hopes of seeing Rosie win this well-deserved award. They knew Rosie to be a winner in their minds, but would the WRAP nominating committee see it that way? Turns out they did. Rosie was one of the first winners of the evening. As Rosie traversed the stage to accept her award, no one beamed with more pride than Rosie’s son, Anthony.

Rosie gave an amazing acceptance speech, eliciting boisterous cheers from the crowd. In her speech, Rosie expressed that providing care and comfort to the residents she serves, as well as working alongside her dedicated colleagues, provides her with a sense of personal purpose and meaning that drives her to strive for excellence each day, because she believes, our residents deserve nothing but the very best.

“Rosie is someone who always goes above and beyond her job description, providing personalized care to our residents, and always leads by example.”

Kimberly Rosenau, Director of Activities


WRAP is a non-profit organization of Activity Professionals established in 1977 to:

WRAP serves Activity Professionals across Wisconsin in many types of facilities and communities, encouraging the professional growth of ideas, involvement and networking.

Spotlight on Services: Rehabilitation

Unique Approach to Care Offers Variety of Options Tailored to Individual Resident Needs

As part of its full continuum of care approach, Ovation Communities offers comprehensive rehabilitation services. Led by Andriy Bereshnyy, Director of Rehabilitation, Ovation’s premiere program supports patients with customized care plans that help them meet their goals and lead more independent lives.

Ovation’s program is split into two areas — short-term and long-term care — with in-house therapists providing physical, occupational and speech therapy. Unlike other providers, Ovation’s full team approach includes doctors, nursing staff, rehab therapists, social workers and discharge coordinators who work together to ensure patients receive the best clinical outcomes possible.

“In addition to providing outstanding treatment, our care philosophy includes making sure patients feel as comfortable as possible working with us,” says Bereshnyy. “We treat our residents like family, and If they are at ease with us it goes a long way to helping them meet their goals and return to the lives they love.”

Many seek out Ovation’s rehab services when recovering from illness, surgery or serious injury. Other residents simply benefit from a rehab plan focused on improving balance, strength and coordination. Care goes beyond physical health, with a focus on promoting emotional, social, spiritual and mental wellness.

“Education is a critical part of what we do every day at Ovation,” added Bereshnyy. “When we can answer every question and educate patients and their families, that gives them the confidence they need to make the best decisions for their health moving forward.”

Andriy Bereshnyy

From the Desk of Tanya Leora Mazor

There is no doubt that we are currently living through uncertain and challenging times, yet it is exactly at this time that I am reminded of the power and importance of our community. The ability of our people to come together and support and care for one another is a potent anecdote to the unsettling world we face today. The impact your generosity makes on Ovation Communities is a testament to this resilience. What better way to honor our interconnectedness, and the collective wisdom of our elders, than by supporting our counterparts in Israel and donating to our newest project here at home, an on-site movie theater?

The movie theater project is an exciting one! It will allow our residents and program participants to experience the joy and wonder of the movies without leaving our facilities, which is an attractive option for those with mobility or transportation challenges. We’re excited to bring all the amenities of the classic movie theater experience to Ovation: concessions, lounge chairs and surround sound, all in a comfortable and convenient setting.

At the same time, we are continuing to do our part to support our elders living in Israel. Recently, Ovation Communities and the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation received a request from Don Shulman, the Executive Director of the Association of Jewish Aging Services, to donate funds to support and care for our elders living in an area most impacted by war. Our organizations contributed to the cause which will go directly to the Halperin Nursing Home in Askelon and the Beit Shaul-Avot Nursing Home in Ashdod.

These good works would not be possible without you and your support. Your continued commitment helps us provide the highest level of care to each resident and continue to build, improve and enhance our offerings.

We hope you will consider donating. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference. If you have any questions or are ready to make a gift including legacy or endowment contributions, please contact me at 414.721.9260 or [email protected].

With deep gratitude,

Tanya Leora Mazor

From the Desk of Mike Silverman

In 1906, the Jewish Home was conceived when eight individuals came together to start a home for the aged that would benefit the entire Milwaukee Jewish community. The Jewish Home was created to care for those elderly Jews who did not have the family or funds to sustain themselves without public charity.

2024 marks 118 years that the Jewish Home has been in existence. In Judaism, the number 18—and intervals of it—is synonymous with the word “chai” as it consists of the eighth and tenth letters of the Hebrew alphabet Chet (ח) and Yud (’), adding up to the number 18, which is also the word “chai.” The literal translation of the word “chai” is “life.” The Jewish tradition teaches us to revere and celebrate life or “chai,” and here at Ovation Communities, we take our tradition seriously. As we celebrate 118 years in business, let us also celebrate life!

The quality of life of our residents is at the heart of what we do at Ovation Communities. To ensure that we continue to meet the highest standards for quality living, we are at the beginning of a strategic planning process. Strategic planning is the organizational process of using available knowledge to document and define an organization’s intended direction. This effort will help us to more effectively allocate resources, align stakeholders and employees with Ovation’s goals, and ensure those goals are realistically achievable, and ultimately met.

In the next few weeks, Ovation Communities will select a top consulting firm to help us begin this process which will address: strengthening the financial health of the organization, increasing our value to the Milwaukee Jewish community and beyond, defining partnerships to expand upon as well as exploring those that do not yet exist, targeting programs and activities that can be delivered upon more efficiently and economically, as well as defining programming that may be currently lacking, and identifying new grant funding opportunities.

2024 will also see renovations to the campus, the hiring of additional key staff members, and enhancements to safety measures. I look forward to sharing updates with you in upcoming publications, and wish you all a very happy, safe and healthy 2024!

With warm regards,

Mike Silverman

Foundation Fiscal Year End Report

FISCAL YEAR: JULY 1, 2022 – JUNE 30, 2023

The Foundation ended its year with $176,681,844 in net assets, represented by $99 million in unrestricted funds, $53 million in Board Designated funds for resident financial assistance and future capital expenditures, and $23 million in temporarily restricted funds.

The Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation provided over $8.7 million in grants this year to Ovation Communities for operating cash, capital expenditures to upgrade and improve buildings, educational programming, community outreach efforts, and targeted underwriting of residents’ care, services and activities.

Adult Day Services

Ovation Communities Adult Day Services is supported by the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation, Inc. and grants from the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s ELM II Fund.

Intergenerational Programming

The Gene and Ruth Posner and Martin F. Stein Intergenerational Funds of the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation made a variety of intergenerational interactions possible this year:

175 Volunteers

The Foundation leads a large group of volunteers including Board members, Hand in Hand, volunteers who do hands-on activities with residents, the Teen Ovation Board, Next-Gen Ovation, resident volunteers, staff volunteers, and university student volunteers.

“My relationship with Gerald is a friendship. He is a friend much older than me, but our relationship is no different. I chose to do friendly visits because I thought it would be fun to meet someone at Ovation one-on-one. I learned that anyone can be a friend.”
-Alex Magana, youth volunteer and MJDS student

“I feel honored to spend time with Alex and Matan. I enjoy them learning with me, and they enjoy being with me. I hope this relationship continues in the future.”
-Gerald Gersten, Ovation Chai Point resident and intergenerational visit program participant

“I have enjoyed being here and talking, not only with other volunteers, but with residents as well. To hear stories and learn how people are connected is really special and makes it an encouraging place for me to volunteer.”
-Joan Rosenau, friendly visitor, gift shop volunteer and volunteer for various Jewish Home activities

2023 Golden Alliance Dinner

In 1992 the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation established The Golden Alliance to help support its Greatest Needs Fund. On August 8 the Foundation hosted its annual event to recognize and thank the Golden Alliance members whose annual gifts support this important cause.

Event attendees recognized outgoing Board Chair, Rob Irwin and enjoyed two special programs following dinner. Dr. Murad Taani, Ovation Communities Professor in Aging, talked about his recent study on lung health and its effect on lung function and physical activity in older adults. Chef Danny Corsun, Founder and Creator of Culinary Judaics Academy, shared a cooking and life lesson based on “The Giving Tree.” Event attendees made apple date cookies for Ovation residents.

The evening concluded with a number of donors attaching mezuzahs to the new doorposts in Kavod Terrace, commemorating this celebration of giving in a truly meaningful way.

Your support enables us to continue to fulfill our mission. enables us to continue to fulfill our mission. With the help of Golden Alliance members who participate in this annual, unrestricted giving program, we are able to ensure that despite an evermore-challenging healthcare environment, residents consistently receive excellent care as part of a nurturing community.

Board Leadership

Ovation Communities recognizes new and retiring board members; celebrates giving with annual Golden Alliance event

Ovation Communities focuses on balancing wisdom, youth and history through its three boards to ensure continued strength and relevance long into the future. This year, a new Nominating Committee was added to help identify and recruit the best prospects. The organization is grateful to all members for their sage operational oversight, ambassadorship in the community, dedication to fundraising and unwavering commitment to Ovation’s mission.


Jay Frank, Chair
Charles Bley
Yaakov Cohen*
Chelsea Cross*
Eileen Graves
Rachelle Hart
Phil Himmelfarb
Sara Hoffman
Robin Irwin
Jarrett Luckett
Dennis Maiman
William Mayer
Bruce Paler
Arleen Peltz
Beth Peterman
Bob Rudman*
Marsheré Shackelford Ken Stein
Hon. Glenn Yamahiro


Howard Loeb, Chair
Shantel Bacchus*
Alan Borsuk
Todd Brachman
Suzy Ettinger
Emmy Ganos*
Beverly Gruber
Peter Klein
Yulia Koltun
Betsy Reilly
Gary Sobel
Leigh Tabak*
Rotating off:
Jeanette Peckerman


Richard Strait, Chair
Michael Altman
Eugene Bass
Jay Frank
Rachelle Hart
Philip Himmelfarb
Robin J. Irwin
William Komisar*
Howard Loeb
Arleen Peltz
Jaclyn Small
David Weber
Rotating off:
Josh Gimbel
Stephen Richman
*Indicates newly elected members.

New and Retiring Leaders Spotlight

Rob Irwin
Past Chair, Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation
“Rob served as our leader during what was probably the single most challenging time in Ovation’s history. In the midst of a global pandemic, he navigated leading virtually, working hard to keep members motivated and easing weariness with his genuine approach. We’re so grateful to Rob, and his legacy will live on through the many initiatives he supported, volunteers he energized and funding relationships he nurtured.”
-Tanya Mazor, Foundation President

Rick Strait
New Chair as of July 1, 2023
Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation
“ We’re honored to welcome Rick as the new head of the Foundation board. His incredible wealth of financial and investment knowledge, deep sense of partnership and collaboration, and strategic vision will ensure a strong path as we navigate the landscape ahead.”
-Tanya Mazor, Foundation President

Rachelle Hart
Chair, Nominating Committee
“Shelly’s deep connections in the community, knowledge of governance and genuine understanding of the philanthropic side of the organization are invaluable assets. As a longtime board member and partner, we’re thrilled she’s agreed to embark on this new role.”
-Tanya Mazor, Foundation President

Foundation Year in Review

Added Events Look to Deepen Connections & Community Support

Spring saw a slew of teens showcase their talents in the form of “Standing Ovation,” a new annual competition by the Teen Ovation Board. This event featured a variety of performances — music to dance to acrobatics and more — that spread joy among Ovation’s residents who served as judges. This dynamic event brought together all ages to showcase and enjoy the next generation of local talent while building relationships between generations.

The Nothin’ But Net Basketball Tournament, a new event held at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, raised awareness and money to support the health and wellness activities that are an integral part of daily life for Ovation’s residents and program participants.

This event brought together groups of participants to have fun and be active and also included sports giveaways, contests, raffles, food and more. At the end of the day, the winning team also enjoyed the special grand prize of a private chef’s dinner.

These two exciting new events, along with the Annual In-Ovation Fundraiser in November and July 3rd Fireworks Fest, have helped ensure that the Foundation has a full calendar of meaningful fundraising events that support Ovation’s mission, programs and services.

Foundation Team Brings Experience & Energy

This year, the Ovation Communities Board of Directors announced the appointment of Tanya Mazor to the position of President of the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation. In this new role, Mazor is responsible for overseeing Ovation’s philanthropic efforts, volunteerism and marketing, as well as positioning the Foundation for a strong future. She previously served as Vice President of Development and was honored last November with the Scott M. Cutlip Professional Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals of SE Wisconsin.

A staff of three reports to Mazor, including David Bitan, who was recently named Director of Outreach and Engagement. He comes to Ovation from Israel, where he most recently served as the Division Head and History teacher at a high school. Bitan is responsible for broadening community outreach; new fundraising initiatives; volunteer engagement; and leading Teen Ovation and Next-Gen Ovation. The robust Foundation team includes Linda Acosta, Executive Assistant, and Courtney Aune, Marketing and Community Engagement Associate.

Next-Gen Ovation Fosters Community Service Leaders of Tomorrow

The Next-Gen Ovation Leadership Program, an educational series designed to help young professionals develop skills to serve on nonprofit boards and committees in the community, launched its second cohort this year. The sessions explored the role board and committee members play; how to guide an organization through sound ethical and financial governance practices; advancing organizational mission; and meeting important cultural and civic values including diversity. FUEL Milwaukee, a community engagement program of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) for young professionals, is the co-host of this important program.

Living Our Mission

Guided By Faith

Celebrating Jewish traditions at Ovation Communities

Since the Jewish Home’s founding more than a century ago, Ovation Communities remains committed to caring for Wisconsin’s Jewish elders. Keeping Jewish customs and traditions alive is an important part of this mission. Residents, families, staff and supporters gather regularly as a community to stay connected to the ancient and modern customs that help shape Jewish life and identity.

In addition to daily worship, Ovation commemorated many significant holidays and observations this year.

“We say ‘vehigadeta levincha’ at the Passover Seder, the commandment to pass our torch from generation to generation. This is what we do at Ovation, where we link the past, present and future through our traditions. Our language and customs transcend the changes and challenges of our times, creating a mystical bond that unites us. 

Our residents share memories that span centuries, from their grandparents’ stories of the 19th century to their own experiences of the 20th century, to their legacy for the 21st century. And the children who listen to them today will carry their stories forward and keep them alive for generations to come. 

Our observances and celebrations are a resounding, standing ovation for Jewish life, a living testimony of our history and heritage. At Ovation, we are the link between the generations.”

-Rabbi Levi
Emmer Director of Traditions and Jewish Enrichment