Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Caring, sharing and connecting through the Jewish Pavilion

 

Volunteer Joe Davids connects with Bonnie, a resident of Savannah Court and Cove in Maitland.

Even the best of medical care does not address loneliness, identity and belonging. Staff members and volunteers of the Jewish Pavilion (JP) bring Jewish culture to the doorstep or bedside of Jewish long-term care residents living in Central Florida's assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Familiar traditions, rituals, and culturally based activities can turn everyday existence into a life of meaning, celebration, and connection.

Those who cannot live at home on their own are likely to encounter many challenges in the long-term care setting. As people become dependent on others, they can be stripped of their roles and relationships. Time can become marked by routine rhythms of care tasks. They can no longer seek out social contacts. JP programming gives them the opportunity to know they are still connected to their roots. They are not forgotten.

Volunteer Barry Rubenstein visits with Kay, a resident of Savannah Court and Cove in Maitland.

Visits from Jewish Pavilion staff and vounteers give residents the opportunity to bond and identify with a group of people living within the walls of their facility. Residents can look forward to "Jewish time" spent with friends. Jewish time can also connect them to the past and the future. The Jewish holiday schedule, for example, celebrated with them by JP staff and volunteers has gone on long before them and will continue long after them. In a sense, they can stand in the past (with beloved memories) and stand in the future (with the awareness that none of us will live forever) without having to actually be there. It enables them to remain a part of the cycle of life they know and love. While JP programming doesn't eliminate painful aspects of aging, it can foster resiliency in response to them. Sharing faith and conversation is a powerful combination that can fully nourish one's soul.

The Jewish Pavilion's outreach program is volunteer-based. Volunteers are needed all the time, and volunteer opportunities are plentiful and year round. Call 407-678-9363 to connect with an elder near you. Visit http://www.jewishpavilion.org to learn more about this non-profit.

 

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