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.
In 2014 three million (9%) U.S. households with seniors age 65 and older experienced food insecurity; 1.2 million that live alone also experienced food insecurity, according to the non-profit organization Feeding America. Poverty and food insecurity has been increasing in Massachusetts affecting more seniors than ever before. An estimated 20 percent of Massachusetts residents who suffer from food insecurity are seniors. And of course food insecure seniors are at an increased risk for chronic health conditions.
As we blogged about in July, the NewBridge on the Charles culinary team operates its own garden on campus dedicated to supplementing our kitchens’ “farm to fork” offerings with fresh vegetables, lettuces and herbs. Executive Chef Eileen O'Donoghue recently spent a few moments with a member of the HSL blog team to review the season’s successes and highlight the bounty of our fall harvest.
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.
Yom Kippur is referred to in the book of Leviticus as sabbath of sabbaths, and the double use of the word communicates a completely restful Shabbat, the Shabbat of all Shabbats. Rosh Hashana, the 7 days in between, and Yom Kippur are a time of reflecting on our lives. We literally pause, stop in our tracks, to assess, and recalibrate. The prayers, songs, and time in community are all ways to support our process of deep reflection — and in that time of suspension, we experience what the Torah understands to be a Shabbat shabbaton, a time of complete rest.