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New Prayer Book for Nursing Home/Assisted Living Shabbat and Holiday Program
February 13, 2018
New Prayer Book for Nursing Home/Assisted Living Shabbat and Holiday Program

Posted by Jon Federman

“May the peace of Shabbat fill our hearts and fill the world.” -Prayer Book, Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing

JF&CS is proud to announce the arrival of a new prayer book for our Nursing Home/Assisted Living Shabbat and Holiday Program. Older adults living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities who participate in this program can look forward to meaningful new prayers and poetry when they come together as a community for Shabbat or holiday services.

The prayer book is dedicated to Dr. William Herman, who found great comfort as a participant in the Shabbat program. Dr. Herman was the father of Marilyn Ross, who provided funding for the new prayer book through the CJP Donor Advised Fund of Marilyn Herman Ross and Mitchel S. Ross. Marilyn wrote the JF&CS Jewish Healing Guide on Death and Dying in 1999 and is also a supporter and co-chair of the JF&CS Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing Advisory Council and a dedicated volunteer with many other JF&CS programs.

The Nursing Home/Assisted Living Shabbat and Holiday Program was started in 1996, with financial assistance from the Lenny Zakim Fund. Led by Barbara Sternfield, the award-winning program brings together residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities for services right in their own residences. The program acts as a bridge to join isolated and often marginalized Jewish older adults together with other Jews, providing a connection to both their cultural heritage and to the Jewish community. It has reached more than 1,000 Jewish residents in more than 20 facilities, enabling them to gather in shared prayer, uplifting song, and inspirational readings. For some, it is their only connection to a Jewish presence or community.

“When the JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections program was renamed the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing in late 2016, we thought that after 20 years, it was time to update and improve the prayer book—reflecting our experience over that time,” says Marjie Sokoll, the program’s director. The Center’s mission is to help people feel a sense of connection when facing the challenges of illness, loss, or isolation by offering spiritual and communal supports to foster hope, comfort, and wholeness guided by Jewish tradition. “It is not good for people to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18).

“I am so grateful to Marilyn and Mitchel Ross for their generosity in supporting the revision of our Shabbat prayer book,” adds Marjie. “I am especially moved that the revised edition’s beautiful new cover now bears the name of my dear friend of blessed memory, Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller. The image of a flowering tree graces the cover and reminds me of the inspiring Jewish wisdom quote, ‘As my ancestors planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who come after me.’ Our Jewish elders will be the recipients of this profound sentiment.”

Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.

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