It’s An Ace for Golf Tournaments at the Los Angeles Jewish Home
The Executives Golf Co-Chair David Feldman and son Hunter Feldman This year, two of the Home's esteemed support groups—The Guardians and The Executives—held their annual golf tournaments with great success. In both cases, participants made significant contributions to supporting the health and welfare of our beloved seniors at the Jewish Home. The COVID-19 pandemic had put a necessary hold on in-person gatherings for more than a year. Fortunately, at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, a number of events are back and better than ever. The Guardians Golf Open XXII was held in October at Los Robles Country Club in Thousand Oaks. It was the group's first large-scale event since the onset of COVID-19, and golfers returned in droves. Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer and Mel Keefer were the event's title tournament sponsors. One hundred eight players—even more than pre-pandemic in 2019—joined together to raise nearly $121,000 for the Jewish Home. Michael Beck and Sean Lahijani served as event co-chairs. "There were a lot of us working together to find sponsors, recruit players, and make sure people had the event on their radar," Sean says. "It ended up going really well, and the attendees had a blast!" For Sean, a member of The Guardians since 2017, the tournament was a perfect example of what keeps him engaged in the group's activities. "It's the combination of the cause and the camaraderie," he says. "The people are great, and I love chatting and networking. It's fantastic to be able to build relationships and make friends at the same time I'm supporting an important mission." The Guardians Young Men’s Division Co-Chair Jesse McKenzie and Jewish Home CEO and President Dale Surowitz Members of The Executives inspire similar enthusiasm, and they came out in force for this year's 18th Executives Annual Golf Classic in August. Held at the North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, the event attracted 159 golfers and raised $251,000 for the Jewish Home. The event's title tournament sponsors were Taffy and Barry Berger/Accredited Home Care. "I've helped lead this event for the last eight years, and we always outdo ourselves, but this year saw the largest increase ever," says co-chair David Feldman, who planned the tournament along with co-chair Michael Resnik. "I have such compassion for the elderly. By supporting the Jewish Home, I feel like I'm paying it forward to help those in need." To learn more about The Guardians, contact Aaron Levinson at email@example.com. To learn more about The Executives, contact Cheryl Kater at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High-Profile Healthcare Organization Honors Medical Leadership
The Los Angeles Jewish Home is extremely fortunate to count among its staff some of the finest physicians and medical providers working in senior care today. Foremost among them is Noah Marco, MD, who serves as chief medical officer for the Home and the Brandman Health Plan, executive director of the Brandman Research Institute, and medical director of Los Angeles Jewish Health Medical Associates, the Home's independent physician association. This fall, Dr. Marco's expertise and impact were recognized with the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine's prestigious 2021 CALTCM Leadership Award, celebrating his exemplary leadership and dedication in post-acute and long-term care. The award was presented virtually during CALTCM's Summit for Excellence on October 9. "I was honored to receive this award and am gratified I have been able to play a role in making a difference at the Jewish Home and beyond," Dr. Marco says. "It's a team effort at the Jewish Home, and I am particularly grateful to my colleagues for their skill, passion, and support." Dr. Marco has built a track record of excellence spanning decades, and always with a focus on strengthening health and welfare across our community. With more than 30 years of experience as a physician, he is also a prolific writer and sought-after speaker who has presented numerous lectures and led workshops on a broad range of topics including elder care, clinician-patient communication, and physician training. His podcast "Who Cares? The Future of Home Care" is available on iTunes. Prior to joining the Jewish Home, Dr. Marco held positions as vice president of medical affairs at Northridge Hospital Medical Center and head of the medical staff for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. He also worked in private practice in conjunction with an appointment as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the USC School of Medicine. Mostly recently, Dr. Marco has been instrumental in leading the Jewish Home's response to the pandemic. His efforts were acknowledged by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who praised Dr. Marco's determination and effectiveness in setting standards for COVID-19 testing in nursing facilities. "I am proud of the work we have done, during this pandemic and throughout my time at the Jewish Home, to keep our seniors safe and healthy," he says. "Above all else, the award from CALTCM signifies that this work has been successful and that seniors at the Home can continue to rely on us for exceptional quality care."
Los Angeles Jewish Home Celebrates Centenarian Seniors
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."
Los Angeles Jewish Home’s Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center Makes List of Nation’s Top Nursing Homes
The Los Angeles Jewish Home has built a national reputation for excellence in the provision of quality senior care. That reputation continues to grow: Newsweek recently released its third annual ranking of the country’s best nursing homes, and the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Medical Center’s skilled nursing facility, located on the Grancell Village Campus of the Jewish Home, has made the list. “The Best Nursing Homes 2022” highlights the top nursing homes in the 25 states with the biggest population, according to the US Census Bureau. Scores were based on three key indicators: performance data (as detailed by the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), a reputation survey, and each facility’s COVID-19 response. “We are so pleased to receive this recognition for the programs and services we provide at the Jewish Home,” says Dale Surowitz, the Home’s chief executive officer and president. “It is a testament to the hard work of our incredibly dedicated and highly skilled staff – and to the partnership with our board members and donors, whose passion and energy continue to inspire us every day.”
Recipe for a Sweet New Year at the Los Angeles Jewish Home
What a difference a year makes! Last fall, we ushered in Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur amidst a global pandemic that kept people isolated in their homes and unable to connect with loved ones. This September, as the High Holy Days circled back around, residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home had the opportunity to kindle the festival lights once again—in person—with fellow members of their caring community. This year, Grancell Village residents gathered and prayed with Chief Mission Officer Rabbi Karen Bender and singer Benzy Kogen in the campus's beautiful outdoor space. Rabbi Ron Goldberg and Cantor Joel Stern led lovely services in the synagogue at Eisenberg Village and on the outdoor patio of the Home's acclaimed Goldenberg•Ziman Special Care Center. No matter the venue, the sense of joy was evident, as residents came together to mark the start of a new year and to share thoughts and feelings about the 12 months ahead. "We were thrilled to offer a number of different types of services, including a special High Holy Days experience that was less traditional and more music-based," Rabbi Bender says. "This approach was particularly meaningful for our residents with memory challenges because music is often what speaks to them most powerfully." Given the ongoing public health requirements around COVID-19, residents' families were not able to join them on campus for the services, although they are now able to visit at other times. "Safety is always number one at the Jewish Home, and we have to protect everyone," Rabbi Bender explains. "By limiting our residents' exposure to larger groups of people, we helped minimize risk, thus keeping everyone at the Home healthier." Rabbi Bender says you could feel the electricity in the air during this year's High Holy Days at the Home. "There was tremendous enthusiasm throughout the campuses. You could tell how appreciative the residents were that our internal community could be together again!" Rabbi Bender says. "It was this sense of residents feeling as if they were part of something big, like in ancient times when people would always gather at the Temple for holidays. It was really special." While all participants at the High Holy Day events were masked and social distanced to ensure maximum safety, for those residents who felt more comfortable remaining in their rooms, the Jewish Home also livestreamed services on closed-circuit TV. However they chose to participate, residents found the support and assistance they needed. "During this time of year, I'm always mindful that, although aging in place is fantastic for people who can do it, there's nothing quite like having the kind of built-in community we have at the Jewish Home," Rabbi Bender says. "I would guess 95 percent of seniors across Los Angeles didn't have the luxury of attending in-person services this year. But at the Home, all residents had to do was say ‘yes,' and the services were made available to them." This access to services extended to Sukkot, also known as the Festival of Booths. Rabbi Bender welcomed residents to the Jewish Home's sukkah, which she noted was the largest she had ever seen. Inside, she encouraged residents to speak aloud the names of people—loved ones or historical figures from their imagination—with whom they would like to celebrate the holiday. Then she offered up a meaningful symbolic blessing to include them in the festivities: "Let us invite them to ‘come into the sukkah' to be with us here today." The Simchat Torah celebration was so joyful it was a highlight of the year for many residents. The Torah was completely unrolled for all the residents to see. Festive music played as enthusiastic staff helped residents dance with the Torah. Rabbi Bender shared that the Home has always been a terrific place to mark important Jewish milestones. "One of the amazing things about the Jewish Home is, if you happen to be Jewish, we provide everything you would have experienced at your home and at your synagogue," she says. "We recognize Judaism is a tradition that's practiced both at synagogue and in the home. Living here, we cover all the bases."
Los Angeles Jewish Home Receives Major Funding to Bring State-of-the-Art Technology to the Delivery of Care
The Jewish Home is a recognized leader in providing quality care to thousands of seniors across Los Angeles each year. This fall, the Home is once again blazing a trail, having secured not one, but two significant financial awards in the form of technology grants to increase seniors' access to the Home's vital programs and services. In partnership with the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), a statewide nonprofit foundation working to close the digital divide in California, the Jewish Home received more than $860,000 from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the groundbreaking COVID-19 Telehealth Program. Together, the two agencies are leading a collaboration that includes 12 other prominent California healthcare entities dedicated to advancing telehealth during the pandemic. The Jewish Home and other organizations in the group will use the award to purchase telehealth carts, Wi-Fi extenders, and tablets, helping to make telehealth services available to underserved and under-connected communities across the state. "COVID-19 highlighted the healthcare inequality that exists in our country. This horrific virus disproportionately affected the poor, the undocumented, people of color, indigenous populations, and seniors. To limit the possibility of viral transmission, many clinicians and care facilities—including the Jewish Home— accelerated our use of telehealth, but too many people lacked the necessary resources to access it," says Noah Marco, MD, the Home's chief medical officer. "With this partnership, we are proud to be at the vanguard of efforts to reduce healthcare disparity and improve clinical outcomes for seniors and others." Just 62 healthcare providers nationwide were awarded the coveted FCC funds, and the Jewish Home-CETF partnership was the only California group that was approved. It was also among the highest ranked applicants in the latest round. In addition, the Home was recently honored with a prestigious Reimagine Grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles. The award—a portion of $3.7 million the foundation granted to 45 local Jewish nonprofits and synagogues—will also reinforce the Jewish Home's commitment to expanding telehealth's availability. Funds from the grant will allow the Home to hire a nurse informaticist/telehealth manager to lead the programmatic and clinical aspects of bringing telemedicine to our residents. This is a critical link in the successful provision of the Jewish Home's state-of-the art care. "The Jewish Home has been caring for seniors for more than a century, and we remain a national leader by staying at the forefront of innovation," says Dale Surowtiz, the Home's chief executive officer and president. "We are deeply appreciative of the Jewish Community Foundation's generous grant, which will enable us to continue driving that innovation forward into the future."
Sharing Thoughts on This Year’s High Holidays
Following are thoughts from Skirball Director of Spiritual Life at the Los Angeles Jewish Home Rabbi Karen Bender who has been hard at work, along with Rabbi Ron Goldberg, creating another special High Holiday season here at the Home. We know there are many family members and friends of Los Angeles Jewish Health who would like to join us for High Holy Days this year, and doing so would bring us all great joy. Unfortunately, due to ongoing public health regulations still in place, in response to the pandemic and especially since the onset of the Delta variant, we are regrettably unable to offer our normal and well known hospitality. The good news is that at both Eisenberg and Grancell Villages, our communities will be able to safely gather in person for the celebration of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur this year! Residents will enjoy apples and honey, shofar and song. "Lo tov Adam lehiyot levado," proclaims the Torah, "It is not good for the human being to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). No one here will be alone. I pray and wish for everyone in the greater community to join us in having a sweet, good and meaningful new year.
Fashion Designer Marilyne Holm Interview
As Fashion Week 2021 Arrives in New York, We Celebrate a Designer Who Spent Decades in the Fashion Industry and Who Is Still Inspiring and Setting Trends as a Resident of the Jewish Home. Marilyne Holm, at 92 years of age, personifies the spirit of the Los Angeles Jewish Home. From the moment she greets you in the Taper facility on the Grancell Village campus, her warmth and smile make you feel like you've known her for years. Born Marilyne Levy, she grew up with her parents and one brother in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Marilyne describes it as "not necessarily a great place at the time for a Jewish kid to grow up." Marilyne was one of only four Jewish students at her high school. Her love for sketching started well before her high school years. She actually recalls sketching at the age of three, though throughout her childhood, she was only able to indulge her passion once she had accomplished her many chores. She married young, to a florist. Soon, she was pregnant with their son Christopher. As a child, Christopher asked his mother why she chose "Christopher" for a Jewish boy's name. She explained what a beautiful name she thought it was when hearing the childhood classic, Winnie-the-Pooh (Pooh's childhood best friend is the loving boy Christopher Robin). When it came time for Christopher to pick his own name at his Bar Mitzvah, he selected the more traditional "Baruch." Christopher's parents eventually divorced, making Marilyne a single mom working full time, but she always made time for him, even volunteering for his Cub Scout troop. She never remarried. However, when asked if she ever fell in love again, she gets a twinkle in her eye, and without missing a beat says, "Several times … but when you are a mother, that is the most important thing." She was protective of her son and the potential impact a new man might have on him. Throughout all of life's changes, Marilyne's love of sketching never wavered. She studied at an art school in Chicago while also working at upscale department stores such as Marshall Fields and JW Robinson. It was in art school that she experienced discrimination: One teacher told her she really didn't need to study or do well, since Jews were taking over the fashion industry. At the time, she didn't know much about fashion, but the remark pushed her to do her best, and she ended up winning the major class competition. All of her time working in department stores furthered Marilyne's knowledge of what clothes look best on a woman. Though she'd come to Los Angeles to be closer to the West Coast garment industry, this single mom still needed to break into the design field. She dove right in, hitting the pavement and going from place to place in the fashion district trying to get into the business. Eventually, someone gave her a chance. From there the creative juices continued to flow. At one job, Marilyne and her colleagues noticed they kept making matching shirts and skirts. Suddenly, it occurred to them: Why didn't they just put a shirt and a skirt together in one garment to make a shirtdress? From then on, they were at the forefront of this very popular fashion style that is still widely embraced today. Another day, proving good can come from adversity; she accidently burnt the bottom of a sleeve. Not wanting to waste the fabric, she rolled it up. Her boss loved the look so much; they successfully sold them that way from that point on. Today, Marilyne can look back on two and a half enjoyable years at the Jewish Home. Before taking up residence here, she lived in L.A.'s Miracle Mile area. When describing her arrival at the Jewish Home, she admits that, at first, she was a bit unsure. Then, she started touring the campus and realized how beautiful the grounds are. Once she had a meal, she said, "Well, this is good!" The benefits kept on coming. After hearing there was a beauty shop right here on the campus, she asked, "Well, do they do back combs? Because that's how I have my hair styled." The answer was "yes"—and when she heard the low price, she was amazed. Soon after, Marilyne saw the activities room, with its reams and reams of cloth, and she knew she had found her place. Today, she has become very well-known at the Jewish Home for a different kind of design: the sewing of adorable little stuffed dogs that bring joy to all who see them. The dogs are special. Boy dogs don a yarmulke, and female dogs wear babushkas. Marilyne's special stuffed dog, named Mendel, sports a beautiful pearl bracelet as a collar. She jokes Mendel "stole" it from her. By her estimate, she has made hundreds of the little friends since coming to the Home. One of her ongoing passions is teaching others to make them, and she points out that the activity is great for the mind and for maintaining dexterity. When asked how she has managed to remain so upbeat, particularly during this past challenging year, Marilyne shares that it has been difficult—but that she just gets up each day, puts her make-up on, and makes a point to say "Hi" and "How are you?" to others. She doesn't mind if they don't answer, as long as she's doing her part to try to make them happy. Reflecting on her time at the Jewish Home, Marilyne says it's easy to encapsulate how she feels. "This place is God's blessing," she enthuses. "It makes you feel good."
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Los Angeles Jewish Home Team Up on New Residency Program
A prescription for physician success when caring for seniors Early in their careers, physicians receive training in a broad range of disciplines, from orthopedics and obstetrics to cardiac care, pulmonary medicine, and more. Yet, very few new physicians get hands-on experience learning to care for the special needs of seniors. A new collaboration between the Los Angeles Jewish Home and Cedars-Sinai seeks to change that, bringing seniors and medical residents together to reshape the future of leading-edge senior care. On July 1, the Jewish Home became an affiliate institution for Internal Medicine residents at Cedars-Sinai. The partnership allows physicians in their third year of residency to spend one week rotating through a number of programs at the Jewish Home, with a particular focus on the Home's skilled nursing facilities, Brandman Centers for Senior Care, hospice, and psychiatric care. All 26 of Cedars-Sinai's third-year internal medicine residents are scheduled to participate (one at a time), mentored by Jewish Home medical leadership as the residents hone their skills caring for the Home's diverse senior population. "Young physicians have little, if any, experience learning about the care of patients in nursing homes, yet as doctors in a hospital they often transfer patients to these facilities," says Noah Marco, MD, the Jewish Home's chief medical officer. "This is a critical opportunity for them to find out about what makes a good transition from hospital to nursing home, and what happens when their patients arrive at their next destination." As Dr. Marco points out, the program is also a boon for Jewish Home residents. "One of the greatest challenges we have as caregivers of the elderly is continuously finding new ways to give them a sense of purpose and to engage them mentally and physically," he says. "Our residents truly appreciate being able to advance the education of young physicians, sharing their wisdom and lived experience. For the medical residents, it's a privilege to interact with and learn from our seniors. It's really a wonderful thing for everyone." The residents are licensed physicians in the state of California and meet all infection control standards, including required vaccinations. While at the Jewish Home, they will deepen their knowledge of the Home's systems-based practice, develop a strong understanding of the deep responsibilities and benefits of the care they prescribe, and gain experience coordinating care as a member of an interdisciplinary team. However, they will not write prescriptions or orders for Jewish Home residents, and they will be supervised by the Home's medical staff at all times. "We are delighted to have teamed up with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to launch this initiative, which will help usher in a new era in medical education and, ultimately, improve the care seniors receive across our community or wherever these talented physicians may practice in the future," says Dale Surowitz, chief executive officer and president of the Jewish Home. "The Jewish Home and Cedars-Sinai both have long and distinguished histories in Los Angeles, and together we can reach new heights of success in supporting the seniors who rely on us for their care each and every day." Cedars-Sinai leadership is grateful to the Jewish Home for providing Cedars-Sinai residents with such a tremendous opportunity to deepen their education. "The internal medicine residency is thrilled to be partnering with the Los Angeles Jewish Home to enhance the educational experience of our residents around providing compassionate, holistic care for older patients," said Amanda Ewing, MD, FACP, director, Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Cedars-Sinai. "It is a privilege to have our residents be able to learn from the practitioners who are the experts in caring for our seniors."