Volunteers Shine Bright at the Los Angeles Jewish Home
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Volunteers Shine Bright at the Los Angeles Jewish Home

Jul 6, 2021

When it comes to offering high-quality senior care, the Los Angeles Jewish Home has a proven recipe for success. One of the central ingredients: our community of extraordinary volunteers, the people who selflessly give their time and energy to make this a place anyone would want to call home.

Volunteers come to the Jewish Home with a broad range of interests and experiences. Yet, all of them share a passion for making life a little sweeter for the seniors we are privileged to serve.

Longtime Tarzana resident Janet Edery had the Jewish Home on her radar for decades. She raised two kids as a single mom, and her son volunteered at the Home during high school. Today, at 71, she is now a volunteer herself, and says the care being offered is as exceptional as ever.

"My mom moved into the Jewish Home in 2014, and I would go every day to visit. It was immediately clear how amazing the environment is: stimulating, well-staffed, and with such delicious food! I knew she was in good hands," she says.

Later, after her mom passed away, Janet missed her daily interactions at the Home and decided to enroll as a volunteer. Until the start of the pandemic, she would spend one day each week bonding with skilled nursing residents—chatting, sharing a meal, and engaging in a wide range of activities.

"I would do tai chi with the residents or attend weekend concerts with them. I grew particularly fond of one resident, a woman from Argentina; we would go salsa dancing," she recalls. "The residents are always so happy, and being there would fill me with joy."

Once COVID-19 made on-site visits impossible, Janet's volunteer career at the Home was temporarily put on hold. But, with life reopening for people across Los Angeles, the Home is cautiously welcoming volunteers once again, while continuing to follow all of the latest health and safety regulations. This has allowed for Janet to resume supervising outdoor visits and reunions on Fridays.

"I'm thrilled to be back," she says. "The Jewish Home is special, and I want to become a resident myself when I'm ready!"

Whether they come from the community or from within one of the Jewish Home's own campuses, volunteers play a critical role in helping the Home run smoothly. Sandy Fine, a resident of Eisenberg Village, works in the Jewish Home's post office sorting mail. "I love what I do," she enthuses. "I know everybody's room number, and I learn their names. It's a wonderful way to meet people. The job is perfect for me!"

Sandy, 84, arrived at the Jewish Home two years ago. "I was living in my own house in North Hollywood, where I'd been for 40 years, when I had an accident. I went into rehab at the Home and ended up staying," she says.

For Sandy, her volunteer job is a way to remain physically and mentally active. "The post office helps keep my mind going, which is hugely important to me," she says. "I'm fortunate to be sharp, and I want to make sure I stay that way!"

As a resident volunteer, Sandy has an inside perspective on what makes the Home so unique. "Where else can you be with a bunch of people who all love the same things you do?" she asks. "We've got our own havurah [group of friends] here. There's just no other place like the Jewish Home."

Both Sandy and Janet enjoy their work, and they encourage new potential volunteers to join them. "We're a dedicated group, but there's a real need for even more of us," Janet says.
To people who are interested, I'd say there's no time like the present!"

To learn more about volunteer opportunities, contact Stacy Orbach, director of volunteer services, at (818) 774-3219 or stacy.orbach@jha.org.

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