A High Holiday Message from Rabbi Lever

Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins recounts the following story of the Buddha in his book Moments of Transcendence: Inspirational Readings for Rosh Hashanah:

The Buddha’s disciples turned to him one day and asked: “Are you a god?”
“No, I am not a god,” he answered.
“Then are you an angel?” they asked.
“No,” answered the Buddha, “I am not an angel.”
“Are you a prophet?”
“No, I am not a prophet.”
“Then,” they continue to press him, “Who are you?”
To this the Buddha replied, “I am awake.”

The Joy of Teaching Chair Yoga at Menorah Manor

I am so blessed to work in a setting where I have the opportunity to do meaningful work. As the chief development officer for Menorah Manor, a not for profit nursing center, I oversee the work of our Foundation, which raises funds to benefit the seniors who reside in our communities. I love seeing the generous dollars from our donors being put to good use as I walk through the halls every day, and see firsthand the lives of our residents being enriched through philanthropy.

Ten Tips for Talking to Loved Ones with Dementia

Recognize that they have a disease. Remember that your loved one is not intentionally trying to make your interaction with them difficult.

Avoid distractions. Find a quiet place to talk with your loved one. You can also attend a program together. This is helpful, if you are struggling to maintain a conversation.

Speak slowly, clearly, in a calm voice. Use short sentences and provide your loved one time to absorb the information. Sometimes information has to repeated several times for them to understand it.

Looking at Life from Both Sides

Some of the lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s song, Both Sides Now, describe my feelings about having my Mother living at our assisted living community, Toby Weinman Assisted Living Residence:

“I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all”

Learning Never Gets Old

Last year, Menorah Manor introduced a brand new program for our residents called Menorah Manor YOUniversity. Dubbed as offering “higher education with YOU in mind,” the goal of YOUniversity is to fulfill the Jewish mitzvah of lifelong learning by bringing scholars from throughout the Bay Area to teach college- level subjects in “bite-sized pieces” to our residents.

Both Sides of the Coin

Today is my father’s birthday. Well, it would have been his 94th birthday. He passed away in 2014 at the Samson Nursing Center. I am one of the people that has experience on both sides of the coin at a skilled nursing facility. I just celebrated my 10th anniversary working here, and I have had both my parents live here. That gives me an interesting perspective. I have been a family member and have experienced the joys and sorrows of having my mom and dad in an institutional setting.

What is your Mitzvah Report?

I think of my Father, of blessed memory, every day, but I especially think about him when Shabbos is approaching. My family, including my children and my sister’s children, always had Shabbos dinner together while the kids were growing up. When we finished lighting the candles and saying the Shabbos prayers, my Father would go around the table and ask each of his five grandsons to give a “mitzvah report,” an accounting of any good deeds they had performed the prior week.