Join us for our fifth annual In-Ovation Fundraiser on April 10, 2024. Read here for more information.

Category: Kavod Connections

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.

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

Ovation Communities – Year in Review

There have been a number of exciting improvements and updates to the Ovation Communities campus and operations this year. These initiatives ensure that Ovation remains the first choice for the best quality care and programming, as well as top-notch esthetics and amenities.

Elevated Dining Experiences Roll Out Across Campus

With a focus on wellness and food quality, several projects to enhance the dining experience at Ovation Communities began to take shape this year.

  • The new Chai Point kitchen opened in January, more than doubling the size and allowing for improved workflow, dedicated meat, dairy and parve areas, and top-of-the-line new appliances. Residents can now enjoy a customized dining program, featuring fresh ingredients and made-from-scratch cooking, accompanied by unique restaurant style dining options. Resident engagement has been invaluable throughout this project and tweaks continue to be made as they begin to experience the new kitchen and provide helpful feedback.
  • The Oasis Kosher Café is one of the only full-service kosher restaurants in the city of Milwaukee. The team continues to work to expand operations so guests in the area always know they have a reliable, delicious option for excellent kosher cuisine.
  • Ovation Communities recently hired a new food service director, Mike Aparo. Mike is an exceptional kosher chef and certified dietary manager who is excited to reinvigorate Ovation’s food offerings and continue to add culturally appropriate foods throughout the campus.

New Memory Care Neighborhood: Kavod Terrace

Kavod Terrace opened at the end of September, setting a new standard for the highest quality memory care services in a beautiful, homelike setting. The 14,718-square-foot, 16-apartment wing features enlarged community spaces, a new light-filled solarium overlooking Prospect Ave., and Monya’s Garden, an outdoor space with views of Lake Michigan. This innovative project reimagines the original vision of this residential community to make people feel at home in a rich, vibrant environment and surround them with the sensory stimulation of art, music and personalized programming.

Kavod Terrace was recently designated a Dementia Specific Facility following Administrator Katie Quintanilla’s successful completion of LeadingAge Wisconsin’s Dementia Care Designation System certification. This makes Kavod Terrace and the Jewish Home two of only 15 total facilities in the state to hold this important distinction.

With the opening of Kavod Terrace, Ovation Communities now has a full continuum of care, allowing our residents to remain in the community they know and love as their level of care needs evolve. My personal goal is to make sure that every resident feels as though they are truly at home at Kavod Terrace. The intentional open-concept layout serves to foster a sense of community and togetherness to combat the isolation and loneliness often felt by residents living with dementia. Our staff is poised to provide a safe, peaceful and joyful living experience for each resident as we strive to meet them where they are on their journey. We are so excited to see this vision come to fruition as we start welcoming our first residents!”
— Katie Quintanilla,
Administrator, Ovation Jewish Home

Building an Indoor Playground

Ovation Communities secured funding this year to install a children’s playground on the main level of the Jewish Home. Unexpected in a senior living community, this new amenity will serve as an incredible quality of life boost for residents that struggle to leave the campus. Seniors love nothing more than watching children play and Ovation is thrilled about the upcoming on-site play option available during visits from beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

New Nurse Call System

Staff across Ovation Communities are now equipped with wireless pager devices notifying them of resident calls immediately, even when they’re not at the desk. The new technology will cut down on the time it takes for nurses to respond to and assist with any and all needs, offering additional peace of mind for residents and their families.

From the Desk of Tanya Mazor

What an incredible year! I am filled with gratitude for the generosity of so many in our community. Your gifts, of both time and money, have meant that our residents were able to enjoy many enriching spiritual, social and educational offerings. Programs such as our field trips to community happenings and festivals, extensive Adult Day Services offerings, meaningful volunteer experiences, and robust health and wellness activities are only possible because of you and your support.

As I think about philanthropy, I am reminded of a powerful quote by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory: “the paradox of giving is that when we lift something to give to another, it is we ourselves who are lifted. I believe that what elevates us in life is not what we receive but what we give. The more of ourselves we give the greater we become.” We are unified in our shared values, we find comfort in our faith and belief, and we are strong from our shared sense of purpose to live the Kavod principle of serving our elderly with honor, respect and compassion.

While we reflect on the wonderful year behind us, I remain focused on the important work ahead. You may not realize that, in addition to making invaluable programming possible, our Foundation also supports essential operations. As Medicare reimbursements continue to decrease and the cost of providing care continues to rise, your support of our Foundation is essential. As such, I am personally asking you to consider a financial contribution. Now it is our turn to take care of those who contributed so significantly to our community. Every gift matters, no matter how big or small, and every dollar raised ensures that Ovation Communities has the resources necessary to give our elders an amazing place to live and enjoy the remainder of their years.

With deep gratitude,

Tanya Mazor
President, Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation, Inc

From the Desk of Mike Silverman

By the time you receive this, I will have been at Ovation Communities for ten months. While that isn’t much time at all, it feels like I have been a part of this wonderful community for much longer thanks to all of you who have been so welcoming and supportive.

While this past year has been marked by new beginnings and a few changes, what I find most remarkable are the cherished traditions that remain unchanged. Among our shared values, two stand out to me as particularly important at Ovation Communities: faith and courage. This last year, we’ve relied heavily on both to accomplish our goals and fulfill our fundamental mission.

As part of that vision, we are investing in many facility enhancements. This September, Kavod Terrace, our new memory care unit, opened. The Oasis Kosher Café, one of the only kosher restaurants in the city of Milwaukee, has reopened to the public and a new head chef is settling in. Currently, we are in the planning stages to add an indoor playground and movie theater to give visitors and residents spaces that allow for intergenerational interaction in neighborhood-like settings. And we’ve just implemented a state-of-the-art nurse call system that will improve response times, increase nursing efficiencies and enhance communication. Please be sure to watch Kavod Connections and check our website often for more details about these and other exciting new programs.

As we embrace a bold vision for the future, we are guided by our rich past and inspired by our remarkable present. I am excited to be on this journey with all of you and want to thank our board members, volunteers, staff, residents and their families for the joy and friendship you bring to me and everyone at Ovation Communities.

Shana Tova,

Mike Silverman
President, Ovation Communities

Kavod Terrace (CBRF) Programming Features Arts and Music

While the construction of this 16-room memory care unit is getting finalized, Shelly Robinson, Resident Services Director of Kavod Terrace, has been working on resident programming, which will focus on music and the arts.

“Being able to create something from the ground up is so exciting,” Shelly said. “To know that Ovation Communities has a full service continuum of care is awesome.”

Focusing on gerontology while in college and being consistently involved with seniors throughout her career, Shelly has a passion for memory care. “We found in the research that as people age their memory almost seems to get younger, so being able to bring them back to their reality with music and art can be very calming,” Shelly added.

Judith Lebovitz, Ovation Communities Art Therapist, and Kevin Farinelli, Ovation Communities Music Therapist, report similar findings and express their excitement in applying their passions for art and music respectively to Kavod Terrace.

“Art therapy is an important therapeutic component of memory care,” Judith said. “It can stimulate and capture dormant memories and restore some language in seniors struggling with speech. My art therapy groups emphasize health and wellbeing, which helps our residents experience more resilience and personal empowerment.”

Judith has been working with residents at Ovation Communities, running multiple art therapy groups a week for both the Jewish Home and Chai Point residents since August 2022. However, her understanding of Ovation and memory care run deeper as her late father was a resident of Chai Point. Judith’s personal connection to Ovation’s mission influences her goals for Kavod Terrace.

“Art therapy at Kavod Terrace will help our residents maintain their dignity and feel empowered in their lives for as long as possible,” Judith added. Kevin, who has worked at Ovation for five years, has developed important relationships with residents through music therapy and is excited to develop 16 more at Kavod Terrace.

“Music therapy creates a holistic relationship between the residents, the therapist, and the music itself, and we use that relationship to promote health in various ways,” Kevin said. “With residents who are dealing with memory issues, it specifically helps with performative identity—the idea that you are what you do.”

While Kevin continues to nurture his relationships at the Jewish Home and Chai Point, he is also eager for the unique experience of Kavod Terrace.

“My hope for the CBRF is that residents will be able to take on a more active role in the music therapy process.”

Throughout its development, the overarching goal with Kavod Terrace has been to create a unique and exciting community. With its grand opening right around the corner, that vision will begin to take shape.

“Being that stand alone small community is what sets Kavod Terrace apart,” Shelly said. “The facility is just so serene, beautiful, spacious, and vibrant. We are really looking forward to assisting residents and adding life to lives.

Ovation Communities Welcomes New President

As he rolls up his sleeves and prepares for a new challenge, Mike Silverman is ready to jump in and lead Ovation Communities as the organization’s next President.

Joining Ovation Communities from across the country at Heritage Pointe in Orange County, Calif., Mike Silverman has 27 years of senior living healthcare experience, and is looking forward to the next chapter of his career.

“Throughout the Jewish home world, Ovation Communities is considered to be a premier organization,” Silverman said. “I am going to work tirelessly to make sure that the legacy of Milwaukee’s Jewish community and Ovation continues to be strong.”

Building upon almost 120 years of Ovation Communities’ care and history, Silverman first plans to learn how everything at Ovation flows, understand relationships, policies, and procedures. Beyond that, Silverman is going to immerse himself in Milwaukee’s Jewish community by becoming active and joining a synagogue.

“I want to understand everything,” Silverman said. “Then I want to start figuring out how I can make a difference and continue to build on the level of excellence expected of Ovation Communities.

“I’m very much the type of person that’s going to say to any of our staff, ‘if you need some help, let me know,’” Silverman continued. “I do not expect everybody to be able to do all things. I think it is important when you’re running an organization that you roll up your sleeves, and you get in there and work with, and alongside, your team.”

Bringing a skillset with expertise in operations and leadership, Silverman is most excited to build relationships and get to know residents and staff.

“I’ve always built exceptional relationships with my team,” Silverman said. “I think that you have to really value your employees and you have to let them know how important they are to the organization, so they know that they’re appreciated.

“I also love having the opportunity to sit and visit with residents and get to know them personally,” Silverman continued. “What really makes the biggest difference is when you have an opportunity to sit with a resident or sit with the family and impact them in some way that improves their quality of life, and I think that’s very special.”

Recognized as a seasoned leader with impressive experience growing and expanding senior living communities, it was clear that Mike Silverman was the perfect choice to lead Ovation Communities, according to Jewish Home Chairman of the Board, Jay Frank.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mike to Ovation Communities. He is a Jewish community professional dedicated to making our community as strong and vibrant as possible,” Frank said. “Mike has extensive experience in the healthcare industry, including assisted living, independent living, memory care, and skilled nursing.

“In getting to know Mike, it is clear that his industry expertise, leadership qualities and character make him a perfect fit for this role. We are truly blessed to have found Mike Silverman who will carry on Mike Sattell’s legacy of strengthening and growing Ovation Communities.”