Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

What moves people toward positive change? Lately, I have been thinking about this question, and how we find motivation for growth. As a Jewish woman, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are built-in markers to help us pause and reflect. At this time, we turn inward. We push ourselves to look back over the past year, ask for forgiveness and open ourselves up to the possibilities in the year to come. For many of us, there is a similarity to the approach, as we are guided by our teachings. Still, we each are moved by different things. What helps you move toward goodness and peace? My “neshamah” (the Jewish notion of the soul) is sparked when I dig a little deeper to find the symbolism and meaning behind our customs, or I enhance reflection with beautiful music, comforting food, or other meaningful words.  This intentional combination pushes my heart and soul in the right direction as I strive “to do better and be better.”

For many of us, this year will be different. While we may not be able to attend in-person services (due to the pandemic), we can still find sweetness, compassion and spiritual renewal. Do not allow the pandemic or physical distance to become a barrier to celebration and blessings. Instead, reflect and connect with yourself, friends and loved ones, and G-d. As I said in the last Touch Points, we can find inspiration anywhere. I hope this Touch Points will remind you of the beautiful symbolism behind our traditions, and provide additional ways to sweeten the holiday with musical links, food and connection.  Try augmenting your holiday with one or two ideas below that resonate; with a little thought and intention, this time will be sacred and special.

 

 “L’shanah tovah u’metukah” – (Have a) good and sweet year.

 

Customs, Sweetness and Deeper Meaning During the High Holidays:

  1. Teshuvah– This is one of the central aspects of the Holidays. Teshuvah literally means to return.

Honestly look back over the past year and assess your actions. Find the courage to accept your faults and transgressions, and strive to be better in the coming year.  This can be a transformative journey. Rabbi Sara Sapadin says, “Teshuvah is not about concealing our imperfections, it is about facing them.” Interestingly, there is a Teshuva “formula.” In order to change or “turn back” to your best self, follow these steps: recognize the wrong or error, take responsibility for your action/behavior, feel and express regret, apologize and ask for forgiveness (this could be to yourself, other people, or G-d), and plan on how you will improve and change the behavior in the future. Author Estelle Frankel says, “Through Teshuva we always have the power and freedom to begin anew so that our past need not determine our future.”

As I said earlier, one way I enhance my intention when reflecting is by listening to inspiring music. The prayer Avinu Malkeinu is recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is an extremely powerful prayer. Listen to two very different versions of this prayer:

  1. Forgiveness   Rabbi Leah Berkowitz discusses the blessing of a genuine apology- both given and received. What makes a good apology? Rabbi Berkowitz states, “It is important to find the right words to tell people we have hurt, that we are sorry.” Be kind to yourself and to each other- offer amends and accept forgiveness. A sincere apology is a sign of strength. I hope we can all find insight to let go of anger and resentment, and find peace. Only then, we will stand in the light.
  2. Tashlich-On Rosh Hashanah it is customary that individuals go to a body of water and say the Tashlich prayer as they “cast off” sins by tossing crumbs or pebbles into flowing water. The tradition represents regret and forgiveness.
  3. Remember Those we Have Lost– The Yizkor liturgy on Yom Kippur gives us time to reflect and remember our loved ones that are departed. Thinking of their admired qualities and reflecting on their lives brings a sense of closeness and connection. It also elevates our own perspective and meaning for the High Holidays. In my family, following services, we often share the warm memories of a loved one that has passed away. Even though my eyes fill with tears (and I am even blurry-eyed now as I write this), my heart fills with so much love and gratitude to have had them in my life. May their memories continue to be a blessing.
  4. Food: Adding Sweetness and Connection- We are Jewish, so of course, there is food! At our table, there are traditional Holiday dishes, family favorites and perhaps, even something new. Whatever you enjoy, start Rosh Hashanah by eating apples and honey. Besides being delicious, it symbolically asks G-d to give us a good and a sweet New Year. In addition, I also love to dip challah in honey. During the High Holidays the shape of challah is round to symbolically represent the cycle of the year and Teshuvah- returning to ourselves. If you are looking for a sweet, traditional dessert, check out this honey cake recipe- my kids’ favorite! Recently, my son Alex even wanted a honey cake as his birthday cake! True Story. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/majestic-and-moist-new-years-honey-cake-350153

There are many ways to share a meal. If you are able to, share a meal in-person with family. If that isn’t possible, assign different dishes and drop off food to share (while enjoying in different homes).  Or, if it is your practice, consider sharing a meal virtually by calling, facetiming, video chatting or zoom. In addition, remember individuals that are isolated. Care for others at this time of year by stopping at their home for a socially distant visit, or a quick hello on the porch. Your thoughtful gesture will bring tremendous joy, strength and connection. As always, please remember to socially distance yourself and wear a mask. We want everyone to stay healthy.

  1. Shofar- The Shofar is a musical instrument made of a ram’s horn. Traditionally, the shofar is blown throughout the Hebrew month of Elul and during the High Holidays. Rabbi Ilana Schachter says that “Blowing the shofar can shake us from complacency, and can wake us up from a spiritual slumber. The sound of the shofar reminds us of important spiritual work we have yet to do.” I pray the sound of the shofar awakens us personally, and as a society. Let us acknowledge where we fell short, and how we will do more in the coming year to promote love, kindness and compassion. Amen!
  2. Prayer- Consider expanding your prayers this year. Pray for the doctors, nurses, and essential workers that provide care and services to help us all. We cannot forget or underestimate how difficult their jobs are. Pray to keep them safe, bring them comfort and send them additional strength to do their good work.

Let us all send heartfelt “Me Sheberach” prayers (healing prayers) for those that are sick with Covid or to those that have lost people from this pandemic. Covid-19 is felt all over the world, and many people need our prayers.

  1. Shehecheyanu– The Shehecheyanu prayer is an expression of our gratitude for being alive and allowing us to reach this time. It is often said during holidays, seasons, growth or milestones. Traditionally, at this time of year, we eat a new seasonal fruit (one, that we have not yet eaten) and say the Shehecheyanu prayer. “Blessed are You our G-d, who has kept us alive, sustained us and enabled us to reach this season.” I also say the Shehecheyanu when I feel grateful or blessed. The prayer makes me pause and appreciate the moment, even if it’s mundane. In addition, the Shehecheyanu prayer is especially poignant and meaningful during this pandemic.

To add to your wonder, listen to K. D. Lang sing Leonard Cohen’s song, Hallelujah (with the talented Manitoba Chamber Orchestra). Listen to it once with your eyes closed, and then listen the second time and write your own Shehecheyanu prayer. What are you grateful to have experienced this year? I love the song Hallejujah, and this is the most exquisite version I have ever heard. It has been described by one listener as “achingly beautiful.”  Enjoy. (6 minutes long) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_NpxTWbovE&app=desktop

I am wishing you and your family a sweet New Year filled with good health, meaningful reflection and peace. As always, I am here for you. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • September 17, 2020

Partners in Ovation: Preparing to Move into a Senior Community

Watch episode 2 of Partners in Ovation as Ovation Chai Point Executive Director, Trish Cohn sits down with one of our community partners, Senior Realtor Bruce Nemovitz to discuss the topic of preparing to move into a senior community.

 

  • September 10, 2020

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

There is no doubt this year is different than any other we have experienced. Over the past months, we have been challenged in ways we could not have imagined. In our own way, each of us has been touched by the pandemic, and our community, nation and world is aching. Like me, I’m sure you have had many hours of genuine soul searching.

In addition, for Jewish people, this is a contemplative time of year. Currently, we are in the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul, spiritually challenges each of us as we turn inward, and prepare ourselves for the upcoming High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). During this introspective period, we begin to examine our past year, and think about hopes for the year to come.  We also reflect on our relationships with other people, our relationship with G-d, and our relationship with ourselves. Rabbi Liz Hirsch refers to this as tikkun middot or “repairing of our attributes or character traits.”

On other years, many of us attend services. Due to the Cononavirus crisis, however, this year’s High Holiday experience will be different; many congregations will not have gatherings. But, a different experience, does not have to be negative. In fact, this year could be special, and possibility more introspective in its own way.

For those readers that are not Jewish, and/or are caring for a loved one with memory loss, I hope you will find this Touch Points informative and helpful.  Many of the reflective questions encourage self-discovery and self-improvement. In the end, aren’t we all a constant work in progress?

This Touch Points is peppered with many Rabbis’ thoughts and opinions. I will share some of my favorite suggestions for self-reflection and preparation. I hope these ideas will elevate this sacred time.

 “And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art.”

(-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel)

 

Preparing and Finding Meaning During Elul:

  1. Quiet Your Mind– A self-inventory is not always easy. So, before you begin to ask yourself questions, focus on quieting your mind. Strive for a peaceful openheartedness. Treat yourself with kindness, and remember to be compassionate and understanding as you open your heart, and honestly listen to your voice and feelings.
  2. Begin to Look Back at the Past Year- Imagine each of us has our own Book of Life; it is filled with all our words and actions. Rabbi Jessica Barolsky (and others) uses this concept. She suggests the High Holidays is a time to pause and look back at our own Book of Life. During the past year, what would your proudest moments be? What would you want to change? What habit would you like to break? Do you need to say you are sorry? What are you grateful for? Rabbi Barolsky asks, “What would you find in your divine notebook?” It is up to us to fill it with the good, rather than the bad.
  3. Try a Step-by-Step Process for Self-Improvement– What do you want to change or work on during the next year?  Breaking down the goals into steps can make the process manageable and gradual. Get closer to your best self by looking inward and reflecting. Write down your goals for the next year, or share your thoughts with someone you trust.  In addition, writing goals down or saying them out loud will help you recall where you started, and may make you feel more accountable. Additionally, telling a trusted person may provide support.
  4. Write a “Old Fashioned” Letter – Rabbi Beth Singer suggests to use this as a spiritual practice during the month of Elul. Write and mail a real letter (remember those things with pen, ink, and a stamp?) “to people that you need to be in touch with, to those you need to say something to, or to account for your behavior during the past year, and make a commitment to be a better person.” Think about all the relationships you have. Who do you need to connect with- a partner, spouse, parent, child, or friend? Imagine how the person receiving your letter feels and savors your words.
  5. Practical Preparation for Prayer- Where and When?– As I said, things are just different this year. Our synagogues are doing everything possible to stay close and reach us during this atypical time. However, due to Covid-19, many places of worship will not meet in person; each synagogue has its own plan for health and safety. At Ovation Communities, Rabbi Adams will lead in-person services for our residents at Ovation Sarah Chudnow, and Rabbi Emmer will lead in-person services at Ovation Chai Point. This year, services will be socially distant, and only for our residents. What is your synagogue planning for the High Holidays? If it’s your practice, find a synagogue that offers services virtually. Call them directly now to find out their plans, or if you need help getting connected, please let us know. (A variety of Milwaukee synagogues will have High Holiday Zoom links or offer electronic service options.)

G-d hears our voices everywhere. If you aren’t able or comfortable praying in person or virtually, find your own way to speak to G-d. Share your mind and heart. Personally, there have been a few years I was unable to attend services. Instead, I took out our prayer book and read the entire service at home by myself; I focused on pieces that had the most meaning to me. The stillness and the silence in our home added to my kavanah, or intention. Similarly, this challenging year may actually be an wonderful opportunity to reach a new direction of the heart.

  1. Finding Balance and Working to Repair the World- Our world is hurting right now. As we work to repair ourselves, let us also work toward Tikkun Olam– Repairing the World. We each have an obligation to continue to mend our imperfect country and world.  Let’s all do our part. Find a cause that matters to you, and work, peacefully, to bring in more kindness, love and acceptance. In addition, we all have an obligation to vote and make sure that our leaders have our similar beliefs and values. Today, on your computer, click on the website: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/   There you can register to vote, get an absentee ballot, find out about your polling place, and read election information.  Let’s bring our world into balance. As Rabbi Liz Hirsch said, “…we will continue the legacy of John Lewis and so many others, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly, and make the world better for all.”

I hope the month of Elul and the suggestions will make this challenging time full of meaning and value. I am wishing you and your family a New Year filled with good health, blessings and peace. As always, I am here for you. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • September 4, 2020

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

These days, we are all a little food focused. Well, actually, A LOT food focused. Many days I talk to my parents, we laugh at how much we discuss food.  Questions like… Do you need anything at the grocery store? What did you buy at the grocery store? What food are you making today? What did you eat? What will you eat for dinner? When are you going to the store next? Oy vey! It’s endless, right!?! I am guessing this sounds familiar to you, too! So, with a hyper-focus on food and more time at home, it is the perfect opportunity for thoughtful eating.

In addition, during a pandemic especially, we need to do everything possible to keep our bodies healthy and running efficiently. So, today, let’s concentrate on the healing power of food. I will share some of my favorite healthy eating tips. You don’t have to change all your eating habits. Instead, focus on making a few modifications to keep your family feeling great! Incorporating a healthy eating plan is good prevention and wellness.  As always, please check with your doctor before making any changes.

 “Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body.”

(-author unknown)

 

Ways to Enjoy the Powerful Benefits of Food:

  1. Fight Cancer and Heart Disease –  As Hippocrates said, “ Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Get in the habit of eating colorful fruits and veggies- the more colorful they are, the better! They provide fiber, antioxidants and nutrients; antioxidants help rid your body of damaging compounds. Blueberries are my favorite and pack a powerful health punch! I try to eat them daily. During the warmer months, I eat fresh blueberries, and during the colder months, I nuke frozen blueberries in the microwave for a minute, and add them to my Greek yogurt for a sweet, healthy breakfast.

To fight disease, I also suggest checking out the Mediterranean Diet. I hate to call it a “diet” – it’s really just a healthy way to eat.  A few take-aways from this plan are: eating lots of fruits and veggies, more fish (reducing your meat intake), whole grains, and substituting olive oil for butter. For more information, read the attached document called “Why to Eat Like a Greek,” or click here:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801  In addition, the Mediterranean Diet promotes eating “good fats” like nuts, olives and olive oil which fight diseases like Cancer and Diabetes.  For an easy meal, try making whole grain pasta, pesto and spinach. (Note: If you buy pesto, make sure it is made with olive oil, the healthy fat.) Click here for recipe:  https://www.eatgood4life.com/whole-wheat-penne-with-pesto-and/

  1. Feel Satisfied-  One nice benefit from eating healthy food is feeling fuller, longer. This is because healthier foods are digested slowly.  So, eating healthy foods may lead to smaller portions or eating less frequently.  Therefore, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight, or even to shed a few unwanted pounds. Here are a few other super slimming, healthy options… Enjoy one cup of sweet (whole) cherries for a delicious treat full of antioxidants and fiber. This will only set you back 85 calories!  Or, cut up watermelon for a refreshing, healthy option. This treat is 92 percent water, so it is very hydrating, and also contains nutrients to help relax blood vessels and boost circulation. You are welcome!
  2. Prepare Fresh and Easy Meals-  I would not say that I am a fancy cook; rather, I like to make healthy, easy meals. Truth be told, my husband, Adam, is the true chef in our family. He has natural talent, and takes time to create a masterpiece. Me… not so much. I prefer, easy, fresh food. Like Jamie Oliver says, “Real food doesn’t have ingredients. Real food is ingredients.” For this reason, the Mediterranean Diet works perfectly for me- lots of fresh, delicious food, with many simple recipes.  Here is an easy example. Try making a Greek salad. In a bowl, put together these ingredients: spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese, and dressing. Presto! You have a Greek Salad! Add a piece of broiled or grilled salmon for a meal. If you can’t eat a lot of salt, just leave out the feta and olives. I promise, it will still be delicious. Click here for a Greek salad vinaigrette that takes five minutes to prep. Bonus- you can also use the dressing to marinate veggies or fish.  https://downshiftology.com/recipes/greek-salad-dressing/
  3. Try New Spices and Eat Less Salt- When cooking, there are many different countries and cuisines you can choose from. Why not spice things up a bit?! What sounds good to you…Greek, Italian, Spanish, or Turkish? To inspire you, please see the attached document called the “10 Healthiest Cuisines in the World.” It is exciting to try new food and different spices; many have excellent health benefits. For example: garlic can be benefit heart health and may enhance blood flow to the muscles and to the brain, cinnamon may be used to curb blood sugar, ginger is used to sooth headaches, and turmeric can help respiratory issues. Personally, I use a variety of spices to jazz up my food instead of using salt. One diet that incorporates sodium/salt reduction is the DASH Diet. It has many of the same components of the Mediterranean Diet, but also limits sodium. It is a wonderful way to improve your health, and lower your blood pressure.  Click here to learn more: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456
  4. Feel More in Control and Practice Self Care- During a difficult time like this, focusing on what we can control is important. Eating well is a healthy way to find control, and is also a form of self-care. In addition, some studies have shown that a healthy diet can enhance emotional health. So, you have nothing to lose! Eating well has a potential benefit to improve your body and your mind. Plan ahead, write a grocery list based on healthy foods, and eat wisely. You can control what you put in your body, and that feels good.
  5. Maintain Memory and Prevent Cognitive Decline – Generally, salmon (which has omega-3 vitamins), leafy greens, beans, nuts and whole grains are all great brain health food. In addition, there are alternatives you may not know about. Walnuts, like salmon, are rich in omega-3’s. The spice, ginger also has great anti-inflammatory markers and can reduce Alzheimer’s Disease and slow the progression of brain cell death. Or, try pumpkin seeds. Holy cow- these little guys are incredible! They have a ton of nutrients like: Vitamins A and E, zinc, and omega 3’s. In addition, pumpkin seeds boost memory and reduce the risk of dementia. See the attached document called “Brain Healthy Foods” for additional information and specifics.
  6. Try a “Healthy Food” Brain Health Exercise– List all the healthy foods you can think of using the colors of the rainbow…red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. (The acronym to remember is:  ROYBGIV.)  For some big-time prevention, eat brain health foods while completing this brain health exercise! Wow!
  7. Check Out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”Sisters-in-law Helen Brachman and Henrietta Mahler had a great recipe for French salad dressing. They decided to bottle and sell it in the hopes of making more money to support the Jewish community. Their product, Henri’s Salad Dressing, became a national brand. Try eating a healthy salad while you watch this 12 minute story. After you watch, think about a favorite family healthy recipe.   https://youtu.be/GxU0bV6Tkcs

 

Are you willing to try a new recipe, make a heathier substitution, or add a new spice?  Get creative! Make something fresh and enjoy with your loved one.  You will be happy you made the effort. I can’t wait to hear what you tried!  Happy Eating!

As always, I am here for you- to listen, problem solve or just connect. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

 

Additional Resources:

08212020-10 healthiest cuisines in the world
08212020-Brain Healthy Foods

08212020-Nutrition Why to Eat Like a Greek

  • August 21, 2020

Partners in Ovation: Spirituality in the Time of COVID

Watch as Ovation Chai Point Executive Director, Trish Cohn sits down with our Director of Pastoral Care, Rabbi Steve Adams to discuss spirituality in the time of COVID in the first episode of our new series Partners in Ovation.

  • August 17, 2020

Hats Off to Our Geriatric Career Development Graduates

Raniya Bunkley (Left), Aalyiah Jones (Middle), Dasani Cherry (Right)

Please join Ovation in celebrating the graduation of three of our Geriatric Career Development students. These students began the GCD program with Ovation Communities their Sophomore year. Part of the program is to offer support and aid in obtaining a high school diploma. We are very proud of Aalyiah Jones, Marshall High School; Dasani Cherry, North Division High School; and Raniya Bunkley, North Division High School.

 

  • August 12, 2020

Technology Update: Ovation is Staying Connected

By: Kimberly Rosenau, Ovation Jewish Home Director of Activities

These are indeed unprecedented times, and physical separation has become the way of life for many — families, friends, communities — especially in our long-term communities.

While not the total antidote for real life visits, connections have continued via technology. As activity director of Ovation Jewish Home, I have the privilege of helping many residents see their loved ones through video chats. Whether via Facetime, Skype, Zoom, or What’s App,
families “see” their family members in new ways.

Video visits happen across all three communities — Ovation Jewish Home, Chai Point, and Sarah Chudnow — and like “it takes a village,” so many people make video visits possible. Michael Opitz and Erik Comardo may not be names you hear, but they are the IT department and have worked on setting up iPads and accounts so families can see their loved ones. Activity staff at all three facilities assist with video calls and nursing staff pitch in when needed. You may know of other staff who have contributed to making these calls possible.

New experiences have also opened up in the wake of video visits — long-distance families connecting via Zoom, birthday celebrations, spouse and grandchildren visits. One resident watched a family bris from out of state while others see live entertainers and virtual tours via
Zoom or other platforms. When residents aren’t able to come light the candles for Shabbat, Rabbi Emmer Facetimes with residents at the Jewish Home as he lights the Shabbat candles. Both Rabbis used video technology for spiritual engagement when physical distancing is required. Staff have been able to continue to meet and talk with more family members than they normally would — all are connections. While nothing takes the place of in-person interactions, our heart-to-heart connections thrive through the medium of technology.

 

Photo: Ruby Roby stays connected with family through video call.

  • August 12, 2020

In-Ovation Annual Event

The Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation will host its third annual In-Ovation event Thursday, October 22 at 6:45 p.m. This year’s event will be a virtual celebration chaired by Rick and Sue Strait.

The live-stream event is not only a critical fundraiser for Ovation Communities, but during this unprecedented time, it is an opportunity for the community to come together and connect. Event participants will share a special meal with drinks and dessert — delivered to each doorstep.

All net proceeds will support Ovation Communities and its continued care for residents during the pandemic and help support staff working tirelessly on the front lines. Participants will have the opportunity to donate live throughout the evening and share words of encouragement for residents and front-line employees.

“The current challenges we’re facing are nothing we could have predicted, and it’s more important than ever that we show support for our elders and the dedicated team working around the clock to care for them,” said Tanya Mazor-Posner, Ovation Communities Vice President of Development. “Our campuses are filled with incredible people, and we look forward to coming together to celebrate them.”

The event will be live streamed online, register here to receive the direct link. Ovation’s Business Partner of the Year, Direct Supply, and Innovation Spirit Awardees, Gail and Marty Komisar, will be recognized for their contributions to the community. Invitations will be sent out in early September.

 

 

An event committee is being formed and a variety of event sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, contact Tanya Mazor-Posner at 414-721-9260 orTMazor-Posner@ovation.org.

  • August 12, 2020

The Herbert & Ruth L. Giller Family Endownment

Embodying the spirit of tikkun olam, family gives lasting gift in honor of beloved couple

Dr. Herbert Giller, who died late last year at the age of 97, was a cherished resident at Ovation Chai Point. He joined the community in early 2016 following the death of his wife Ruth.

Everyone knew Herb. He participated in many activities, and always looked for new and different things to do. From visiting with friends in the Chai Point lobby, to frequenting Milwaukee’s many cultural attractions, he lived a very full life. Herb had a passion for music, and one of his first philanthropic efforts at Ovation was to fund the repair of the Chai Point piano. That initial act connected him to the music program and was just the start of the many ways he’d give back during his years at Chai Point.

Philanthropy was nothing new to Dr. Giller. He and Ruth moved to Milwaukee in 1954 and quickly became an integral part of the community. Having both been raised with a strong sense of helping others and working together, the Gillers were active participants, volunteers and donors to many community organizations. Ruth served as part of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation, Milwaukee Family Service and Children’s Outing Association. An ophthalmologist, Dr. Giller served as president of the Milwaukee Ophthalmological Society, on the boards of the American Jewish Committee, Temple Emanuel, Vision Forward, and many other groups.

The Gillers’ passion for music, education, community, Jewish and medical causes sparked sons Roger and Tom’s decision to form an endowment fund in their parents’ honor this year. The Herbert and Ruth L. Giller Family Endowment is dedicated to supporting Ovation’s Geriatric Career Development (GCD) program and the Chai Point Summer Concert Series.

“Our parents were kind, caring and respectful people who taught us by example to dive into our communities, build and value friendships, and treat everyone with respect,” said Roger and Tom. “We know from our Dad’s experience that Chai Point is a strong community where people live life to the fullest, and we want to help perpetuate that spirit.”

Endowments are just one example of how residents and families might think about leaving a legacy. There are a number of creative ways Ovation works with donors to support programming, important initiatives and honor loved ones.

“The Gillers’ gift is a beautiful celebration of a family and a treasured person who lived a wonderful life in our community,” said Tanya Mazor‑Posner, Ovation Communities Vice President of Development. “Ovation is a vibrant center for Jewish life that extends beyond our campus, and thanks to this commitment to funding our career development program in particular, that support will reach far beyond our walls to help nurture the next generation.”

If you’re interested in discussing ways to leave a legacy or remember a loved one, contact Tanya Mazor-Posner at 414-721-9260 or TMazor-Posner@ovation.org.

  • August 12, 2020

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

With the ongoing pandemic, life may feel a bit monotonous. Too often, we get stuck in a rut, and feel stale or bored. So, now, more than ever, we need to discover uplifting ways to bring excitement and joy into our lives.  One, fairly easy way to help, is by simply trying a new and/or unique experience.  A fresh perspective will reinvigorate your spirit and make life more exciting!  So, here is my prescription… Instead of following your usual routine, intentionally change things up! Stimulate your mind and your creative spirit with new sights, sounds and tastes. Below, I have suggested a variety of ways to welcome and appreciate the world around us.  Even during this challenging time, allow yourself to feel wonder and blessings. I bet that once you try something unique, you will want to do it again! New experiences tend to enhance creativity and joy; they can even nourish the soul and add a little wonder.  Give yourself permission to get out of your rut, and bring in more happiness.

For families caring for a loved-one with memory loss, making moments that matter is what it is all about. While you are already doing meaningful activities, depending on your loved-one, adding an outing or a new experience may be beneficial.  Even if your loved one can only participate in part of an activity or an adventure, he/she may still find it stimulating and fun. Find ways to adapt the suggestions below to the current abilities. In addition, having new and novel experiences is good for brain health and cognition.

I was thrilled by all the possibilities in our city!  Below are interesting ways to explore, and almost all of them are free of charge. As always, please wear a mask and practice social distancing wherever you go. Safety and good health are our number one concern.

 “The soul’s joy lies in doing.”

(-Percy Bysshe Shelley, English romantic poet)

Ways To Try Something New and Add Joy:

  1. The World’s Largest Root Beer Float Drive-Thru  Did you know that August 6th is National Root Beer Float Day? Mark your calendars for a sweet drive-thru experience! Sprecher Brewing Company has plans to set a Guinness World’s Records Title for the World’s Largest Root Beer Float Drive-Thru! Between 12:00-8:00PM, Sprecher will give out thousands of FREE root beer floats. Because the floats are free, however, they encourage participants to make a donation to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin by texting FLOAT to 4144. This could be the perfect day- participate in a Guinness World’s Record event, enjoy an amazing root beer float and do a good deed by donating to charity. Done, done, and done! For more information: https://www.sprecherbrewery.com/
  2. Sculpture Milwaukee-  I am so excited to share this with you! If you have never seen Sculpture Milwaukee, I would highly suggest you check it out. Sculpture Milwaukee launched their first exhibition in 2017. This is a one-of-a kind, free urban sculpture experience. Located in downtown Milwaukee, this self-guided exploration can be enjoyed a variety of ways:  try a 1.5 mile walking tour (or walk just few blocks at a time), drive and enjoy the sculptures through your car window, or listen to an audio tour from your own home (directions on the website).  If you go in person, there are social distance markers at each of the sculptures. Relish the artwork at your own pace; the exhibit is always open. Click here for details: https://www.sculpturemilwaukee.com/2020
  3. Marvel at Milwaukee’s Outdoor Art Gallery-   I am a Milwaukee girl- born and raised here. Throughout my lifetime, I have watched our cherished city become an interesting, artsy destination. So, why not be a tourist in our own town? Did you know that there are over 140 monuments, sculptures and murals in our beautiful city?!? Click here to see a one mile map of interesting and diverse art. https://www.milwaukeedowntown.com/experience/public-art   Like Sculpture Milwaukee (listed above), there are many ways to enjoy this public art. Walk and experience all or part of the artwork. If walking is difficult, however, then simply choose one block or area to see. On the website, you can pick a specific neighborhood. You can also hop in the car for an outing, or check out website from the comfort of your home.
  4. Drive-In Movies Are Back!- When I was a girl, I loved when our family would pile into our station wagon car and go to the drive-in theatre. We consumed tons of homemade popcorn, and made memories together. Well, the drive-in experience is back! With the importance of social distancing, this wonderful tradition is a great way to have fun and stay safe. So, let’s “kick it up old school” and get that big screen experience! The Milky Way Drive-In is located in Franklin; currently, they are showing quite a few 1980’s classics. Click here for more info: https://www.milkywaydrivein.com/
  5. Go for a Drive- Sometimes we just need a change of scenery. Pack a few snacks or an easy picnic lunch, and drive somewhere scenic. You can drive somewhere close, like Milwaukee’s Lincoln Memorial Drive and enjoy beautiful Lake Michigan, or take an afternoon and drive through the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine. I adore Kettle Moraine’s scenic drive; this 115 mile route has many rolling hills left by the glaciers. While you drive, try a little summertime music like:  Kokomo by The Beach Boys, Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters, Lovely Day by Bill Withers, or Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. Click here for scenic driving ideas and more information: https://www.visitmilwaukee.org/articles/things-to-do/drives/
  6. Try a Few Milwaukee Brain Health Exercises–  In honor of our great city, I have attached a Milwaukee themed brain health exercise.  Fill in the grid with as many answers as you can think of. Each answer has a designated letter (left column) and a corresponding category (top row).  A few have been done for you.  For additional exercises, change the letters and simulate your brain with more Milwaukee trivia.
  7. Check Out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”Still searching for something new? Basketball just kicked off, and is bringing excitement to fans everywhere. In fact, our very own Milwaukee Bucks are one of the favorites to win the NBA Championship, and Giannis Antetokounmpo might even win this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player! Click here as this Museum Moment explores how the Bucks came to Milwaukee. After you watch, think about how sports can help unify people. What do you love about watching a game?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqxN6jCpz6M&list=PLl-OCNr_mRXQ7DNfR6PSo4K0qdmYGmlz4&index=48&t=1s

Venturing out and trying something new can invigorate your soul! If you are caring for someone, consider your loved-one’s strengths and likes, be flexible and change the plan, if needed. So, welcome a new adventure this week- in person or virtually! I can’t wait to hear what you tried! Enjoy!

As always, I am here for you- to listen, problem solve or just connect. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

 

  • August 6, 2020

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

I was terribly sad to hear of the passing of the incredible civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis. Among many things, his life was dedicated to seeking freedom for all Americans, justice, and action. Congressman Lewis was tireless, as he encouraged people to speak the truth and to stand up for what is right. The scope of his life’s work and legacy are almost impossible to fathom. For me, Congressman Lewis’ messages filled me with hope for a better tomorrow- one filled with brotherly and sisterly love, understanding and compassion. So, today, I humbly dedicate this Touch Points in his memory. Let us all continue to work toward his inspirational message of justice, kindness and hope. May John Lewis’ memory be a blessing for all of us.

Throughout this email, I have sprinkled famous quotes, shared meaningful events, and suggested a variety of ideas to add kindness into the world.  Please click on the websites I included; they are short and will nourish your soul.

 “Do not get lost in a sea of despair, be hopeful, be optimistic.”

(-John Lewis)

 

Ways to be Find Inspiration and Kindness During the Pandemic:

  1. Meaningful Words Fills Me with Inspiration- When I feel sadness with injustice in our world, I listen or read John Lewis’ words and it fills me with courage, hope and love. This is one of his many quotes that I admire:  “We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house… and we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” Thank you Congressman Lewis for your bravery and wisdom.
  2. “Some Good News” Fills me with Joyful Inspiration-  Enjoy this quirky web-series from actor John Krasinski. Since March, Mr. Krasinski has highlighted good news from around the world, including an interview with Steve Carell. You will smile throughout this simple, entertaining video. Click here to watch the first episode (about 15 minutes). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5pgG1M_h_U
  3. Generosity Can Inspire-  Amateur artist, Steve Derrick honors the brave men and women working on the front lines of this pandemic. By painting their portraits, you can see the challenges of these real life medical heroes. Many of the moving images are professionals from Albany Medical Center Hospital. Mr. Derrick refuses any payment. “When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world.” (-Harold Kushner) We, also, have our own heroes at Ovation Communities. Thank you to all the front line staff who lovingly care for our residents. We appreciate you, and send our deepest admiration and thanks. Click here to watch the CBS Sunday Morning video about Steve Derrick (2 minute video):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpFRVKK-Q28
  4. Gratitude Fills Me with Inspiration-  At 7:00PM, New Yorkers open their windows and cheer for people working on the front lines. It is amazing that an enormous, bustling city stops to salute their medical professionals. Gratitude is powerful! Heroes don’t only wear capes. These days, heroes wear gloves, surgical masks and gowns. Click here to watch this video. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/10/nyregion/nyc-7pm-cheer-thank-you-coronavirus.html    (Helpful tips to fully enjoy video:  Tap screen to make sure sound is not muted -sound icon is located on top right. Then, tap screen on right side to scroll through a variety of areas in New York.)
  5. Unexpected Inspiration of the Spirit – Listen to this lovely violin solo played from a balcony in Madrid. During a time of uncertainty and isolation, imagine how the unexpected beauty of the song Hatikvah was felt by so many. Hatikvah is the National Anthem of Israel, and appropriately, Hatikvah means “The Hope”- something we all need now. I wonder if this beautiful gesture inspired others to do more? “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with heart.” (-Hellen Keller) Click here for this beautiful 2 minute interlude:  https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-zOrpKIaN3/?utm_source=ig_embed
  6. Try a Few Inspirational Brain Health Exercises– Stimulate your brain and boost creativity! Share this creative exercise during a family meal, during an afternoon walk, or anytime!  Try two creative questions:
  • If you could write a book, what would the book title be, and what would it be about? Who would you dedicate the book to?
  • Write a letter or a thank you to someone that made a difference in your life. It could be a relative or even someone you have never met, like Abraham Lincoln! Be imaginative!

7. Try These Ideas to Spread Kindness and Inspiration in the World-

  • Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Perhaps someone needs to hear a friendly voice.
  • Prepare a meal for someone who is struggling.
  • Do you know how to knit? Knit hats or scarves for people in need during the colder months.
  • Text someone in the morning or in the evening. Start their day off, or end it, with a smile.
  • Write or email a thank you note to someone.

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”  (Amelia Earhart)

8. Check Out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”Molly Dubin, Curator for the Jewish Museum Milwaukee explores the 2018 exhibit, Allied in the Fight: Jews, Blacks, and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Explore historical moments of advocacy and collaboration between Black and Jewish leaders. (There is a focus on the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.) After you watch this 15 minute video, think about what it means to be an ally. Were you involved in any movements to create a more just society? Click here:  https://youtu.be/Ze3LMJUeJYc

Inspiration is a wonderful force that moves people toward hope, miracles and love. Every day, surround yourself with some inspiration, and work to add more in the world.

As always, I am here for you- to listen, problem solve or just connect. Email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

 

  • July 24, 2020

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

While caregiving can be a labor of love, it can also be extremely challenging. Often, caregivers are so selfless that they neglect to take care of themselves. On a normal year, for example, caregivers may experience anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleeplessness, and self-neglect. However, during a year like this, with an unprecedented pandemic, the emotional and physical issues may be heightened.  These symptoms can ultimately lead to stress, burn-out and may impact the health of a caregiver.

During the past few weeks, I am aware of increasing family caregiver stress.  So, this Touch Points is dedicated to all the loving caregivers who may feel depleted.  In addition, the idea of practicing self-care is also essential for healthcare professionals and parents. It is important to recognize the emotional toll and find ways to refill your tank. Today, I will suggest ways to decrease stress and stay stronger. Before we jump in, however, I would like you to honestly ask yourself, “I am taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually every day?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to make your health a priority and problem solve.

 “Think of the emergency instructions you get on an airplane- you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others with theirs. No matter how much you love your partner, you can’t take good care of him or her if you don’t first take good care of yourself.” (Excerpt from the book, My Two Elaines by Former Governor Martin Schreiber)

Ways to be a Healthier Caregiver:

  1. You are What You Eat… and Drink!– Let’s start with the basics. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder that eating well-balanced meals and drinking enough water daily is vital. Please also remember to eat on a regular schedule. Did you know that we need to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day? That is a lot!  Personally, I have to work at drinking enough, so here are a few of my tips!  Lately, I have been buying flavored sparkling water at the grocery store, or infusing water at home with fruit or herbs. Besides being delicious, I feel quite extravagant!  In addition, all this deliciousness has no calories and no sodium- which is terrific! So drink up my friends! Click here for a variety of refreshing combinations: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/9f/f7/36/9ff736b9e4f99ad7bbea90cd818f846b.jpg
  2. Get Outdoors-  Generally, this time of year, the weather has been lovely! Since we live in Wisconsin, it won’t be like this forever! Fresh air renews the body and the spirit. Even if it is for a brief time, find a way to get outside. In addition, sun on your skin may benefit your immune system, and can stimulate your brain and senses. So, what are you waiting for?…Open that door and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!
  3. When is the Last Time You Saw the Doctor?- Do not overlook your own health. Please make regular appointments with your physician.  If you are not able to go into an office because of Covid-19, ask your doctor for a telehealth visit via the computer, or speak to him/her on the phone. Please do not feel uncomfortable asking for this accommodation, it is a normal thing to do. If the doctor isn’t able to accommodate, he/she will let you know.  Whatever you do, do not ignore or put off any concerning symptoms. Physical self-care is important.
  4. Exercise– I know you are busy helping your loved one, but find a way to move your body. If your loved one can walk outside with you, then get into a routine together. Or, if you have help, walk by yourself or on a treadmill.  No excuses for those of you living in an apartment or condo… try taking the stairs or walking the halls.  In addition, simple stretching, chair exercises, or yoga are wonderful. It is no big secret that exercise releases stress and boosts your mood. Get moving! Of course, if you have any health conditions, please check with your doctor first.
  5. Don’t Ignore Your Emotions – Pay attention to your feelings. Vent to trusted family or friends. Sometimes, however, it is easier to speak to a trained professional counselor. He/she will listen to you and help you find answers to your problems, without judgment. Discussing feelings can decrease stress, and help clarify an issue. Teletherapy is also widely available during Covid-19.
  6. Try a Brain Health Exercise to Identify How You Are Feeling-  “Writing it out” is another way to get in touch with how you are feeling. Sometimes it feels safer than saying it out loud.  Find a quiet space, and close your eyes. Ask yourself, what words describe how you are feeling? Write them down. Honor any feelings; whatever comes up is valid.  (You still might want to phone a friend, but this is a great start!)
  7. Let Some Things Go– Sometimes, learning to let go can be one of the biggest gifts you give yourself. You don’t have to be a perfect caregiver.  Try to pick your battles. For example, if you are at home and your loved one’s shirt is inside out, then let it go. Or, perhaps the towels your loved one folded aren’t just the way you like them. Before you react, or say anything, think to yourself, “Does it really matter?” If it isn’t hurting your loved one or anyone else, then maybe letting it go will avoid added stress.
  8. Ask for Help When You Need it/Take Time for Yourself–  I put these ideas together, because often they are related. Please give yourself permission to pause and reset, because everyone needs a break from caregiving. What makes you happy? Read, meditate, watch a movie, take a bath, or just find a quiet moment to relax. If you are unable to find the time, consider coordinating help from family, or hiring a caregiving agency.  The needed break will nourish your soul, and lower your stress level. My suggestion… Create a list of ways you may need help. That way, when you speak to family or an agency you are prepared.
  9. Check Out The Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”Florence Eiseman created designs that clothed generations of children worldwide. Carrie Fisher wore Florence Eiseman, and so did the Kennedy Children. Most recently President Obama presented specially crafted Florence Eiseman outfits as baby gifts during his presidency. This major design business started as a way for an overwhelmed new mom to handle a baby who wouldn’t stop crying. Learn about the history of Florence Eiseman and how the artistic outlet of sewing and design helped a young mother take better care of her family. After you watch, think about how creativity helps bolster caregivers.  Here is the link:     https://youtu.be/r49LVWbgE5o

 

“Caregivers are super heroes in comfortable clothes.” (-Visiting the Gray Planet)

Thank you, caregivers, for all you do! Please take care of yourselves for you are precious to us and to your loved one. If you have a question or want to talk, I am here for you and very happy to help. Please email me at DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

 

  • July 16, 2020