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Intergenerational Program Reaches Across Borders and Generations

A multigenerational program places German youth in volunteer roles at Hebrew SeniorLife

November 15, 2017

Rahel Willmer (L) and Lea Ward pose for a photo taken at their host’s home

For the past 13 years, Hebrew SeniorLife has welcomed full-time German volunteers to support programming in our communities. These young volunteers, typically 18 or 19 years old, have all come to us through Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, an organization that has been sending volunteers around the globe for over 50 years to work in communities that suffered from the crimes and horrors of Nazi Germany.

Opening Our Hearts and Bringing Goodness Back to the World

Reflections from Hebrew SeniorLife Director of Religious and Chaplaincy Services for the Jewish High Holy Days

October 6, 2016

A photo taken on Rabbi Sara’s trip to Germany. Credit: Braham David/The Boston Globe

On July 2, 2016 we lost Elie Wiesel, world-renowned survivor of Auschwitz, author, and voice of conscience. A week later, I went to Germany with a group of Boston-area rabbis, sponsored by the Boston German Consulate. While I blogged recently about that trip, I continue to process the experience and also to hear the reflections of my fellow travelers.

Fostering Humanity: Honoring Survivors of the Holocaust in our Care at Hebrew SeniorLife

August 10, 2016

Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow, seventh from left, in Germany with fellow trip participants.

There are a number of survivors of the Holocaust and victims of Nazi persecution among the many seniors who live and are cared for throughout HSL.

Last month, the Boston German Consulate hosted a group of twelve Boston-area rabbis on a trip to Germany. The trip was entitled, “Remembrance and Hope.” It began in Munich at the Dachau Concentration Camp and concluded in a suburb of Berlin at a refugee settlement organization, followed by Shabbat in the community.

Fund for Hospice Care at HSL Continues Legacy of “Loving Kindness”

March 16, 2016

The Chesed Fund will honor the work of Rabbi Herman J. Blumberg by providing end-of-life care through HSL Hospice Care. Here, Rabbi Blumberg is pictured with HSL Spiritual Care Director Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow at an event to recognize his retirement.

During his time as a chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, Rabbi Herman J. Blumberg was known for his wisdom, kindness, and overwhelming compassion.

Rabbi Blumberg’s “passion project” was to establish a hospice service at HSL. He strongly believed that seniors in the local Jewish community, in particular, deserved better end-of-life care and that HSL was the perfect organization to provide that care. Thanks in no small part to Rabbi Blumberg’s commitment, HSL Hospice Care launched in 2013. He served as Rabbinic Director from the program’s inception to his retirement in 2015.

Helping Seniors During the Jewish Holidays

The Mitzvah Program connects volunteers of all ages with seniors in need

September 24, 2015

Helping Seniors During the Jewish Holidays

Deuteronomy 15:7-10 teaches us, "If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren...you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be."

This past Sunday, Hebrew SeniorLife opened its hand to 500 Jewish residents in the Greater Boston community with a holiday meal to support celebration of Rosh Hashana. Roughly 75 volunteers of all ages helped pack and deliver meals to homebound seniors and others needing food support.

A Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care Volunteer Tells His Story

September 16, 2015

A Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care Volunteer Tells His Story

Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care volunteer Bill Shulman comes from a family with deep roots in Boston’s Jewish Community and a connection to Hebrew SeniorLife that spans generations. I sat down with him recently to learn about his experience as a hospice volunteer.

JD: There are many volunteer opportunities in Boston. What motivated you to become an HSL Hospice Care volunteer?

Hospice Makes a Difference

Hospice care has a positive effect on patients, families and staff

January 5, 2015

Hospice Makes a Difference

Yesterday I understood anew why HSL has created a hospice organization.

Hebrew SeniorLife Hospice Care is uniquely skilled to meet the spiritual needs of all patients who come to us from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds. Because of a particular need from Boston’s Jewish community, we have taken on a special mission to meet the needs of this underserved community by providing a unique sensitivity to its varied religious and cultural needs at end of life.

Volunteer your time this holiday season

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back

November 23, 2014

Volunteer your time this holiday season

The holiday season is a time for many of us when our thoughts turn naturally to bringing joy to others, especially children, seniors, and families in need.

Many faiths include giving back as part of their holiday traditions. For Jews, performing a mitzvah means to do a good deed, or charitable act. Many Jewish people even have a tradition of volunteering on Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or are just reflecting on the end of another year, December presents many opportunities for volunteer service.

Yom Kippur Fasting Exceptions

Is it safe for seniors to fast on Yom Kippur?

September 25, 2014

Is it safe for seniors to fast on Yom Kippur?

For many Jewish elders, fasting on Yom Kippur is a religious and cultural imperative as well as a life-long tradition. In fact, many seniors who may not be traditional in other ways continue the practice of abstaining from all food on this holiest day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement.

But is it safe for seniors to fast? And what does Judaism have to say for those whose health issues may make fasting dangerous?

Multigenerational Community at NewBridge on the Charles

Rashi School 8th Graders Return for Chanukah Visit

December 12, 2013

Rashi School 8th Graders Return for Chanukah Visit

I was moving quickly through the halls at NewBridge on the Charles last week, cleaning up after festive Chanukah parties with Rashi School 3rd graders, and preparing for another set of festivities with the 1st and 2nd graders.  A resident stopped me in the hallway, a reminder of how important it is to slow down and enjoy each special moment.  Little did I know how special this moment would be. 

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