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

The creation of Mitzvah Mahj


Jill Cousins Levy, Dale Perreault, and Deanne Freedland enjoying their morning with Ruth Elson. Not pictured: Debbie Meitin and Meril Salzburg.

They started out as volunteers, and some strangers to each other, but they had one common passion-mahjong. And now they have yet another love in common, their dear friend Ruth Elson.

Over three years ago, Ruth Elson, had been adjusting to her new home at Horizon Bay on Montgomery Ave. The one void in her life was her mahjong game, which she was used to playing several times a week. Julie Levitt, a program director for the Jewish Pavilion and also an avid mahjong player, knew that she had to help Elson.

Mitzvah Mahj was created! Five amazing women have been dedicating every other Thursday morning for the past 2 and half years to play mahjong with Elson. Deanne Freedland, Jill Cousins Levy, Debbie Meitin, Dale Perreault, and Meril Salzberg rotate for their chance to spend time playing with Ruth.

This past spring when Ruth was relocated to Tuscawilla Rehab, approximately 25 minutes away, there was no doubt in their minds that this further location would not/could not keep them from her.

"When Ruth sees us coming in with a mahjong set, you can see her eyes light up. She really loves to play, even if she doesn't win. All of us who play with her know that this brings joy to her day and we love doing it. We hope she'll be able to continue playing for a long time," commented Meitin.


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