The Three Musketeers of Los Angeles Jewish Health
Connections to Care Mobile Hero
Home / News & Events / Newsletter / The Three Musketeers of Los Angeles Jewish Health

The Three Musketeers of Los Angeles Jewish Health

Jan 4, 2023
Talat Barahmand, Iran Diansedgh, and Zaghi Kohan Ghadosh

When Talat Barahmand, Iran Diansedgh, and Zaghi Kohan Ghadosh moved into Los Angeles Jewish Health, they expected to find vital assistance in meeting their daily critical care needs. What they did not expect was to find fast friendships that would ease their transition to a new living situation and fill their days with joy.

The three women arrived at Los Angles Jewish Health not knowing one another: Iran about six years ago, Talat around five years ago, and Zaghi, most recently, approximately, three years ago. Sharing a common background (all are originally from Iran) and a common language (Farsi), they quickly connected and have been inseparable ever since.

Iran and Zaghi are roommates in the Mark Taper building; Talat lives across the hall. Rabbi Karen Bender, chief mission officer at LA Jewish Health, refers to the friends as "the Three Musketeers."

"They spend as much time together as possible, and it's just amazing," she says. "What a gift they have received and given to each other by finding best friends at this stage of life!"

Iran, 100, is a native of Teheran; she and her husband fled after the Islamic Revolution. They landed in Dallas, Texas, where they had a daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren, and spent roughly 15 years living there before making their way to Southern California, home to their other two children. Her husband passed away in 2007, and she lived on her own until her health and advancing age made independent living impossible.

As Iran tells it, her experience at Los Angeles Jewish Health has been excellent – the people and the service have all been wonderful. She is especially grateful to be able to spend her days alongside Zaghi and Talat.

"We do everything together: playing bingo, attending Shabbat services, listening to music," she says. "We're all really happy."

Of course, there are occasional disagreements; all three women prefer to see themselves as being in the right. "We may argue, but there are no actual fights!" Iran laughs.

Zaghi, 90, has been in the United States for two decades. She came from the Iranian city of Shiraz, which she fled because of the increasing intolerance of the authoritarian government. In Iran, Zaghi's family was quite wealthy, but during the revolution they lost everything: their home, the two cinemas they owned, and extensive property holdings.

Los Angeles made sense as a destination because two of her five children lived here. It was difficult to adapt to an unknown environment, but with her family's support she built a new life. "I miss Iran, but I like California," she says.

When mobility issues made it clear she could no longer live without assistance, she moved into Los Angeles Jewish Health and was thrilled to meet people with similar backgrounds. "My friends are the best, and I love talking with them," she says. "We chat, we watch Persian TV, and sometimes, as Iran pointed out, we argue. But we always stay close."

At 86, Talat is the youngest of the group. She and her husband, along with one of their three daughters, emigrated from Iran in 1996 as a result of religious persecution, making their way to Los Angeles, where their other daughters and their son already lived. It was a difficult move, but they were thrilled to be reunited with family and away from a repressive regime.

After Talat's husband died in 2011, her deteriorating vision made living alone a health hazard, and she chose to take up residence at Los Angeles Jewish Health.

The decision, she says, was a good one. "I love it here. They take such good care of me, and everyone is very friendly."

Talat is extremely outgoing, and having her friends as a social outlet has been a godsend. "Zaghi, Iran, and I all help each other. We're all Jewish, and it's so nice to be able to speak Farsi and to have people I get along with so well."

Rabbi Bender says the Three Musketeers' friendship is as special as the women themselves. "When I greet them 'Shabbat Shalom,' they will often respond not only by saying, 'Shabbat Shalom,' but also by giving me a blessing. It's truly an honor to have three such wonderful women living here with us."

Seeing Zaghi, Talat, and Iran interact every day has led Rabbi Bender to marvel at how fortunate they are to have formed such a tight-knit bond.

"If I spoke Farsi, I would petition to become their Fourth Musketeer!" she says.

Sign up for the LAJHealth Newsletter, Connections.

Recent Articles

Jan 18

Healping Seniors and Communities Thrive

Compassionate senior care is key at Los Angeles Jewish Health, where caring healthcare teams keep communities happy, healthy, and well. Having the right help is crucial when caring for older adults, ensuring each individual is treated with compassion and respect. That’s why Los Angeles Jewish Health’s top-tier healthcare professionals treat our seniors like family. Formerly the Los Angeles Jewish Home, Los Angeles Jewish Health was founded over a century ago on a simple act of care and compassion. “Our story began in 1912 when a small group of neighbors gave shelter to five homeless Jewish men during Passover holiday,” says Dale Surowitz, CEO and president. “Our founder Simon Lewis recognized a vital opportunity to provide respite and resources to the community, and that remains our commitment today.” Now the largest nonprofit, single-source senior healthcare provider in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Jewish Health is a leading name in comprehensive senior living and care. From adult day care activities and residential living to short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing, the award-winning organization serves more than 4,000 seniors throughout Greater Los Angeles. “I’m proud of the best-in-class care we provide to the community. Without organizations like ours, we know many seniors would go without,” Surowitz says. “We have a long-standing reputation of delivering excellence in care and services for vulnerable members of the community who need us the most, especially seniors living near or below the poverty line.” The nonprofit is funded in part with government support as well as a dynamic network of support groups, individuals, corporations, and foundations. Los Angeles Jewish Health is a vital community resource for all, rooted in Jewish values. Charity, quality, dignity, and fiscal responsibility drive programs and care designed to help seniors thrive. “We take a holistic approach to healthy aging focused on mind, body, and spirit,” says Surowitz. “That starts with comprehensive care tailored to support seniors’ physical and mental health.” Enhancing Health and Longevity“Many seniors live in settings that don’t offer the socialization they need,” Surowitz says. “Caring for psychological needs is an important part of helping seniors keep happy, healthy, and well, so we offer a variety of programs that do just that.” Among those are music therapy, pet therapy, and intergenerational volunteer programming that brings children and seniors together. With a growing list of activities, classes, and clubs, there’s something for everyone at Los Angeles Jewish Health. “Our responsibility goes beyond just providing care. We’re committed to providing every senior their highest quality of life possible,” says Surowitz. At Los Angeles Jewish Health, a broad spectrum of in-residence and community-based services ensure healthcare needs are met and help patients remain independent and active for as long as possible. Across the campuses, compassionate physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and therapists deliver personalized care that supports the individualized needs of those they care for each day. “We’re there each step of the way as care needs increase, whether patients reside at home or on one of our campuses,” Surowitz says. With two independent living campuses, state-of-the-art assisted living centers, and multiple skilled nursing facilities, Los Angeles Jewish Health provides in-residence options that meet the diverse needs of residents and patients. “Other vital services that reach out to the community include palliative medicine, hospice, dementia care, and short-term rehabilitation. Additionally, the all-inclusive Brandman Centers for Senior Care provide a myriad of coordinated services and care management to our participants, all designed to enhance longevity and quality of life,” adds Surowitz. “From senior housing to short-term nursing facilities, we care for over 1,000 adults on-site. Now, we’re expanding our services throughout the community to help seniors stay safe, productive, and happy at home, which remarkably reduces hospitalizations,” he continues. That’s one reason why the health system recently rebranded to Los Angeles Jewish Health, a name that better reflects its broad spectrum of senior healthcare services. And with the senior population anticipated to double over the next two decades, the timing couldn’t be better. “Our goal is to continue providing outstanding services across our campuses while reaching deeper into our communities,” Surowitz says. “Many seniors want to enjoy their golden years at home, and our programs allow them to age in place while enhancing their quality of life with services designed to keep them healthy.” Compassionate Care and RespectBehind Los Angeles Jewish Health’s centurylong legacy is a tenured team committed to compassionate patient care. “The word ‘mitzvah’ in Hebrew represents a responsibility to care for others, and we take that very seriously,” says Surowitz. “As seniors age, they aren’t always afforded the dignity and respect they deserve. We bend over backward to provide that. It really is heartening to see our staff treat residents like family.” Located at Los Angeles Jewish Health’s Hirsch Family Campus, the Annenberg School of Nursing instills that passion in the next generation of healthcare providers. At thisaward-winning nursing school, the one-of-a kind program combines a comprehensive curriculum with hands-on clinical experience. Altogether, the school graduates roughly 150 vocational nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, and home health aides each year and often hires alums to work across Los Angeles Jewish Health’s campuses. “Many of our students come from underprivileged backgrounds,” Surowitz says. “Our programs provide the education they need to advance while also providing vital medical care throughout underserved communities.” As Los Angeles Jewish Health evolves, the organization plans to expand educational opportunities and programs, yet its dedication to patients remains unchanged. “We’re committed to continuing to deliver the high level of care and services the community has come to know us for, especially as we grow,” says Surowitz. “That’s our hallmark. It’s who we are—and who we’ll always be.”
Read More
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