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

A 'superhero' who connects with seniors to be honored at Jewish Pavilion's JP Connections


Lois Silverberg with Maitland's Savannah Court resident, Linda.

Despite her first name, Longwood resident Lois Silverberg, isn't married to Superman. However, at 80 years young, the active volunteer and community philanthropist is something of a superhero herself. Just ask Linda, a resident of Maitland's Savannah Court, what she thinks of the weekly volunteer visitor with the Jewish Pavilion. The answer can be found in Linda's smile, as she beams from ear to ear each week when Silverberg walks into the community room.

"Linda and I connected years ago, when she would ask me each time we met (in a joking fashion) if I was married to Superman because of my first name," Silverberg shared. "Now when I see her, I always tell her 'Superman sends his best.' That little joke between us has made a special connection, and she is one of the many seniors that I visit with who has a special place in my heart."

On Monday afternoons, Silverberg can be found making residents like Linda feel at home at their assisted living facility (ALF) during "the happiest hour of the week." At that time, Silverberg co-leads a Happy Hour, sing-a-long, and ice cream social for residents of all faiths, often with friend, Corrine Braille, or Happy Hour founder Gloria Newberger. It is easy to see that the crowd of seniors share a genuine affection with Silverberg, many of them reaching out for a hug, or a squeeze of the hand, as she passes by with a special treat.

During a typical program, Resident Programming Director Angel Garcia or a volunteer singer leads the roomful of residents on a journey through the American songbook, while Silverberg and additional volunteers visit with the residents, pass out songbooks and a snack, and belt out tunes alongside the residents.

"Happy Hour is good for the resident in so many ways," noted Silverberg. "These old, familiar songs (like "Let Me Call You Sweetheart") bring happiness and are positive memory triggers for the residents. We always bring a special snack that breaks up the monotony of the daily menu and offers a taste of home."

If no song leader is present, Silverberg and her colleagues bravely lead the chorus, carrying the day and the tunes, with enthusiastic effort, always garnering smiles and applause.

Additionally, Silverberg spends time bonding with residents at Horizon Bay in Altamonte Springs at a monthly Jewish Pavilion luncheon, "celebrating the latest holiday or just kibitzing like the old friends they have become."

Silverberg is well aware that she is younger than some of the seniors she visits in the ALF's and skilled nursing homes. She shared, "Because I'm lucky to have my health and the life I have, I set aside time to help those who need a little something extra."

Thursdays are another special day of volunteering for Silverberg, an active member of the Sweetwater Garden Club for 30 years. On Thursdays she arranges flowers with garden club friends for patients at a local hospice. With her help, residents receive fresh flowers every Friday. In between engagements, Silverberg manages to make time to serve as a member of Florida House, and spends several days each week during the summer as the "Canteen Lady" at Wekiva Youth Camp. This super lady claims she gets as much from giving to others, as they receive, noting, "I am so thankful to have met all these wonderful people, who touch my life each week."

Silverberg is thrilled and humbled to be honored by her friends at The Jewish Pavilion, along with co-honoree, Jane Edelstein. She and her husband, Mark, have been proud to be part of the Jewish Pavilion since its inception in 2001. The mother of three, grandmother of six, and great grandmother of two also served as president of Couer de Couer and Femme de Couer, and was also a founding member of Friends of Harriet.

"Please join us as we honor Lois Silverberg and Jane Edelstein, on Sunday Nov. 8th," commented Nancy Ludin, Jewish Pavilion executive director. "The Jewish Pavilion has counted on these two extraordinary volunteers to be there for the seniors we engage in more than 70 Orlando Senior Living Communities. We hope to count on you too, to support our mission, and share our annual luncheon with friends, along with a one-of-a kind holiday shopping bazaar."

Please join the Jewish Pavilion at JP Connections, honoring volunteers Lois Silverberg and Jane Edelstein on Thursday Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Altamonte Hilton. Couvert, $25, Patron tickets, $50 (includes $25 in shopping bucks), Patron tickets, $100 (includes $75 in shopping tickets). Register online at http://www.jewishpavilion.org or call 407-678-9363. Vendor tables available.


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