Sharing the Gift of Knowledge

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Sharing the Gift of Knowledge

Aug 10, 2017

The residents of Eisenberg Village recently received a very unusual and thought-provoking gift from Dan Rosenfeld — a Jewish encyclopedia. Written in the 1970s, the encyclopedia consists of 20 volumes in pristine condition. The Jewish encyclopedia was given to Dan by his grandfather, Karl Frey, and he is now passing it on to the Home's Eisenberg Village seniors.

Elderly lady being awarded with a certificate

"As a kid, every family had to have an encyclopedia," said Dan. "It was necessary — part of raising a family and part of being Jewish." Dan sees learning as a lifelong challenge. "Today, because of the accelerating pace of research and knowledge, it's more important than ever for seniors to keep current and keep the brain active," he explained. Even with new technology and communication tools, such as computers, the internet, and social media, physical books still have a special meaning. "There's something to holding a book, the physical aspect of turning a page. It is part of our childhood, a communal memory," said Dan.

Joy Picus, a former Los Angeles City Councilwoman and current resident of Fountainview at Eisenberg Village, is a community leader who Dan has admired for many years, both professionally and as a personal friend. They stayed in touch over the years. When Dan mentioned he and his wife were downsizing and had this encyclopedia, Joy suggested it would be beneficial and interesting to the residents at the Jewish Home and suggested a visit.

"I was deeply moved by my visit to the Home — at the quality of services and facilities — and even the food! It is a very impressive operation," Dan noted. Sitting and talking with the seniors at the Home reminded him of a visit 50 years ago to the senior home in Portland. To become an Eagle Scout he had to do a community service project. Dan chose to visit the senior home and interview the residents. He collected their stories and published a newsletter — printed on a mimeograph machine! Even then, at the age of 14, he was fascinated and interested in seniors and their stories. And now, thanks to Dan's generosity, the seniors at Eisenberg Village will be able to research and learn, and perhaps tell their stories, using their newly donated Jewish encyclopedia.

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