The Jews are different
Caregiving for the Jewish elderly is particularly challenging in Central Florida because very few people who work in the industry are familiar with Jewish culture. They have never heard of our holidays or tasted our traditional foods. "When the Activities Directors Association invited the Jewish Pavilion to speak at their monthly meeting on Sept. 8, we were thrilled to oblige," said Nancy Ludin, executive director.
Judy Procell, the program director from the Jewish Pavilion who oversees Winter Park Care and Rehab arranged with Dolleen, their activities director, to provide "A Taste of Home" luncheon with challah, lox, potato pancakes and chopped herring from Toojays. Evelyn, the chef at WPCR, prepared homemade matzah-ball soup. Sally Kopke, from VITAS Healthcare provided the directors with bagels, ruggelah and black and white cookies from Bagel King. Dolleen borrowed beautiful dishes form her church so that a traditional holiday table could be set. Procell decorated the room with a Judaica display.
In 2012, Pam Ruben wrote "A Guide for Caregivers of the Jewish Elderly." The booklet talks about ways to welcome your Jewish resident and how the Jewish Pavilion can help. It explains the Jewish calendar, our Sabbath, Jewish holidays and traditional Jewish foods. The booklet was used as background information for the workshop.
Jewish residents in long–term care facilities often feel like strangers in a foreign land. With the help of the Jewish Pavilion and the training provided to their staff, they now feel more at home. In September 2015, many local facilities had a welcome table with apples and honey for the New Year and served Jewish foods like kugel (noodle pudding) and tzimmes and apple cake using recipes from the Pavilion.