"There Aren’t A Lot of Jewish People Here."
“There aren’t a lot of Jewish people here” is a phrase I hear daily when I visit seniors in long term care. The average facility in South Orlando has less than a handful of Jewish residents. Therefore, residents are overjoyed to interact with Jewish Pavilion staff and volunteers. At a recent Shabbat service, I was thanked over a dozen times by three older women. Together we shared a traditional Jewish meal in the beautiful, private dining room at Madison House. The Activities Director and chef joined us for the blessings and a wonderful conversation that started with the torah portion and ended with us chatting about our families. Traditional Jewish recipes and holiday celebrations were a major part of the conversation. While the Jewish Pavilion is “in the business” of bringing Jewish culture to residents in independent, assisted and skilled nursing, it is the personal attention that the residents enjoy most of all. When I left to return to work, Susan Mazlin, one of our wonderful volunteers, was escorting Evy, one of the residents to her room. I am confident that the two chatted for at least a half hour after I departed. Being a part of a Jewish community means far more than providing Jewish ritual. At the Jewish Pavilion, we provide compassionate companionship as well.