Los Angeles Jewish Home Celebrates Centenarian Seniors
Connections to Care Mobile Hero
Home / News & Events / Newsletter / Los Angeles Jewish Home Celebrates Centenarian Seniors

Los Angeles Jewish Home Celebrates Centenarian Seniors

Nov 2, 2021
Fountainview at Eisenberg Village resident Dorothy Feldman, 106


Each autumn, communities across the country mark National Centenarians Day, a celebration honoring seniors who have reached their 100th birthday or beyond. Here at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, we have a large number of centenarians who continue to inspire us with their intelligence and spirit. Their longevity is an inspiration to their peers at the Jewish Home and, indeed, to everyone they meet.

Eisenberg Village resident David Konigsberg is one of the Home's centenarians. A World War II hero who flew 65 missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross medal, David has spent a lifetime making the world a better place. "Throughout the course of his 10-plus decades," says close friend Bob Gray, "David has been a resource for those he loved—someone who constantly gave back to his community."

"At a difficult time for me, he helped me straighten out a few things in my life, and he was instrumental in my getting married and having kids," Bob recalls. "I'll never forget a letter he once wrote me, in which he said, 'The best way you can help yourself is to help somebody else.' That's David—just an incredibly caring and phenomenal guy."

Bob wasn't the only beneficiary of David's nurturing and compassion. "My dad died when I was 22; Uncle Davey walked me down the aisle at my wedding. He was one of 11 children, but I chose him from among all my uncles to be my surrogate father, and to be the grandfather to my son," says his niece, April Wayland. "He had a way of making everybody feel good, even when things weren't easy for him. To capture the kind of optimism he projected, all you need to know is that he had seven dogs over the course of his lifetime, all of them were named 'Lucky.'"

After so many years of caring for others, David is now able to depend upon the expert care provided by the Jewish Home. "The quality of care at the Home is truly excellent," April says. "I'm so impressed by how well they know him and how carefully they monitor him. It's especially impressive in light of how little money the Jewish Home gets, since most of its residents rely on government benefits. The Home gives much more than it receives, yet its staff still take such amazing care of the seniors in their charge."

Jeanette Crane is another of the Home's Eisenberg Village-based centenarian seniors. At 101, she still possesses the resilient spirit that has kept her going for more than a century. Her son Michael says his mom has always been a trailblazer of sorts. "She's very independent. She and my dad divorced in the early 1970s, when that wasn't done much, and she went to work, first as an executive secretary at the Century Plaza Hotel, and then as part of my brother Jeffrey's company for many years," he remembers.

When she arrived at the Jewish Home about a decade ago, Jeanette quickly embraced the advantages of residential living. "She loved movies and theater and was a fierce bridge and Scrabble competitor, and the Home provided her with a lot of fantastic outlets for those activities," Michael says.

For Jeanette, adjusting to life at the Home was easy. "Mom is a social person, and she enjoyed the camaraderie of the dining room," Michael continues. "She also found a group of like-minded people who shared her same interests. Overall, she felt like the Jewish Home was a great fit."

Now, she uses a wheelchair to help her get around, but otherwise remains in good health—a fact she attributes, in part, to the Jewish Home. "I like what they do here, the way they treat people," Jeanette says. "They make us feel good."

At 106, Fountainview at Eisenberg Village resident Dorothy Feldman is still sharp—the result, she says, of keeping her mind fit by playing bridge and reading. She also enjoys playing poker and watching movies in the theater. For Dorothy, recreation at the Home is an enjoyable way to spend her days, and a luxury she never would have imagined growing up during the Depression.

"We didn't have much, so I had to find work right after high school," she recalls. "As a teenager, I took a job as a beautician. Many years later, after my husband passed away, I decided to go back to work, and I took an aptitude test that told me I'd make a good dental assistant. I wasn't convinced I could do it, but I gave it a try, and ultimately ended up having a career in dental surgery."

A native of Minneapolis, Dorothy spent many years living in Thousand Oaks before relocating to Fountainview to be closer to her two sons, Ira and Bruce.

Fellow Fountainview resident Lillian Baker, 100, moved to the Jewish Home with her husband, Eli, from Woodland Hills in 2012. It was, she says, "the perfect solution because we had stopped driving and felt like we would be taken care of here." Eli passed away at the age of 96 in 2017, leaving Lillian even more grateful than ever for her perch at Fountainview.

"The people are what sold us on this place, and they're my family now," she says. Lilian, who was a dancer in her youth, still considers herself to be "perky." In her free time, she loves to write fiction, read, and watch films.

"I'm so grateful for what I have at the Jewish Home," she says. "We should all be so lucky."

Sign up for the LAJHealth Newsletter, Connections.

Recent Articles

Jul 5

With 100 Years of Excellence in Senior Care, Los Angeles Jewish Home Transitions to New Name More Reflective of the Broad Spectrum of Senior Care Offerings Available to All

With a new name and continued focus on meeting diverse senior needs, Los Angeles Jewish Health meets seniors where they are in life, providing a customized senior experience. (RESEDA, CA – July 5, 2022) As it continues to build on more than a century of providing an array of high-quality residential living options and care for Southern California seniors, the Los Angeles Jewish Home is unveiling a new name: Los Angeles Jewish Health. The updated identity reflects Los Angeles Jewish Health’s commitment to offering area seniors a full complement of exceptional programs and services and a comprehensive continuum of care, whether that care is at home, in the community, or on one of their beautiful campus settings. “Over the years, as the needs of our community members have expanded and changed, we have evolved, too, expanding the scope of healthcare services we provide. It is now the right time to transition to a name more reflective of the vast array of senior care services and living options available through Los Angeles Jewish Health, while still remaining true to our mission and Jewish values,” said Dale Surowitz, CEO-president of Los Angeles Jewish Health. Los Angeles Jewish Health is a national leader in senior health and wellness. Established in 1912 in East Los Angeles to assist Jewish men seeking shelter, today Los Angeles Jewish Health cares for a diverse group of thousands of seniors each year through independent housing, adult day care, skilled nursing facilities, short-term rehabilitation, hospice services, and more. What began as a modest residential facility at the turn of the previous century has grown into a leading senior health system, providing for a rapidly growing elder population with a broad range of geriatric and specialty healthcare needs. By 2030, one in five Americans are projected to be older individuals. Seniors 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of this population and are expected to increase fivefold over the next 30 years, from four million in 2000 to 21 million in 2050.“Shifting demographics demand that we sharpen our focus to ensure we are an available senior care resource for every member of our community,” Surowitz said. “As we have for more than 100 years, we look forward to contributing Los Angeles Jewish Health’s extensive experience and medical expertise toward better health outcomes for all seniors.” About Los Angeles Jewish Health: Founded in 1912, and formerly known as the Los Angeles Jewish Home, the non-profit Los Angeles Jewish Health is the largest single-source provider of comprehensive senior healthcare services in the Los Angeles area, serving nearly 4,000 people each year. Thousands of seniors benefit from the Los Angeles Jewish Health’s community-based and in-residence care and services. Programs include: PACE (A Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly); hospice; palliative medicine; community clinics; short-term rehabilitation; and acute psychiatric care. Four campuses (Eisenberg Village, Grancell Village, Fountainview at Eisenberg Village, and Fountainview at Gonda Westside) serve seniors with options for independent living, residential care, skilled nursing care, short-term rehabilitation, and Alzheimer’s disease and memory care. In addition, Los Angeles Jewish Health is home to the Annenberg School of Nursing.
Read More
Mar 15

Los Angeles Jewish Health Resident and Holocaust Survivor Celebrates Bat Mitzvah, and 92nd Birthday, during 100th Anniversary of the first American to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah

(RESEDA, CA – March 15, 2022) History will be made at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Thursday, March 18 as beloved resident and Holocaust survivor Frieda Thompson turns 92 on the same day she will be called to Torah for her Bat Mitzvah. This date also marks the 100th anniversary of when Judith Kaplan, at age twelve, became the first American girl to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah on March 18, 1922. Frieda Thompson, whose parents were murdered by the Nazis, still recalls that one of her mother’s final actions was to ensure her brother was called to Torah for his Bar Mitzvah even as there was chaos all around. Frieda studied for her Bat Mitzvah a few years ago, but COVID-19 prevented gathering as a community at that time. Now, with family flying in for the big day, Frieda will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah during the weekly Shabbat Eve. Service, in the Weinberg Courtyard of the Jewish Home, in front of loving family, caring staff, and dozens of fellow Jewish Home residents. When asked what this day means to her, Frieda offers, “Moses was loyal to his family and to the Jewish people. I too have always felt loyal to my family and the Jewish People.” In commenting on the significance of this lifetime milestone Rabbi Karen Bender commented, “As a small child, Frieda was forced to raise her hand and call out ‘Heil Hitler’. Today her voice rings out as a cherished leader among her peers.” Note: Media interested in attending the Service/Bat Mitzvah must be fully vaccinated/boosted/masked – and must RSVP in advance.
Read More
Mar 12

Los Angeles Jewish Home Accepts New Resident Applications

After pandemic-related pause, premier senior living facility reopens its doors (RESEDA, CA – March 12, 2021) The Los Angeles Jewish Home announced it is accepting applications for new residents, as well as participants in its community-based programs, after an extended pause in admissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening coincides with the one-year anniversary of the nationwide shutdown resulting from the coronavirus. Dale Surowitz, CEO-president of the Jewish Home, says welcoming new seniors will enable the organization to continue its century-long tradition of providing for the region’s frail elderly. "Seniors in Los Angeles depend on us for care. During COVID, ensuring their continued health and safety meant refraining from bringing people in. But now that 99 percent of our residents (as well as the large majority of our staff) has been fully vaccinated, we’re relaunching the admissions process so we can serve even more members of the community." The Home has immediate openings for seniors who need hands-on skilled nursing assistance. "The Jewish Home typically has wait lists for available spaces in our skilled nursing facility; it’s uncommon to have availability as we currently do," Surowitz says. "This represents a rare opportunity for people to get into the Home now, before we reach capacity, which will happen quickly." With the easing of the pandemic, the Jewish Home is also welcoming seniors to its Brandman Centers for Senior Care, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Through the program, residents and seniors who live on their own receive medical services, physical therapy, social services, and nutritional counseling, as well as exceptional adult day healthcare that engages them intellectually, physically, and socially. Applicants to the Jewish Home have access to a broad range of programs and services beyond PACE and skilled nursing. From short-term rehab to hospice, independent living, home health, and memory care, the Jewish Home provides support to residents at their varying levels of need. Through the Jewish Home, seniors are also eligible for the organization’s new Brandman Health Plan. Designed for the chronic patient with special needs, the plan offers benefits to anyone in Los Angeles County who is Medicare-eligible and has diabetes, chronic heart failure, cardiovascular disorders, or dementia. Seniors and their families can reach out to the Jewish Home for more information about current openings and availability. "We’re here for new applicants, whoever they are and whatever their needs," Surowitz says. "We look forward to learning how we can help."
Read More