The Doris L. & Theodore B. Meyers JFCS Shabbos Friends program provides the Sabbath monthly to Jewish seniors living in local assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. Volunteers visit an assigned facility and spend time with the Jewish residents there.
My connection to Shabbos Friends at Treyton Oak Towers (TOT) is personal. My mother, Sybil Parnes, moved from Princeton, NJ, and lived there independently from 2010-2015. On the third Friday of the month, my mother would corral the Jewish residents for the gathering of Shabbos Friends. She was a community builder and wanted to create a connection with her fellow residents and her new Jewish community in Louisville. Sometimes, other non-Jewish residents interested in learning more about Judaism attended Shabbos Friends.
Now I accompany my daughter, Lisa Sobel-Berlow, and her husband, Benji Berlow, to conduct Shabbos Friends services at TOT. There is a blue chat sheet of topical Jewish interests to jumpstart the conversation with the residents who attend and fresh challah to eat. The conversation is lively as we get to know the few Jewish residents who live there. One long-time resident said she looked forward to coming because it was the only time she was with other Jewish people.
During the hour we are there, something special takes place between the intergenerational exchange. The younger ones, including myself, learn about the residents’ life’s experiences “way back when” and the TOT crowd catches a glimpse of all things millennial. I know my mother would be proud of the communal outreach that we are doing as it was so much a part of her life’s work in Princeton and at TOT. L’dor v’dor.
The program is always looking for volunteers. It’s only a couple of hours one day a month to bring the joy of the Sabbath to Jewish residents living in these facilities. Contact Kim Toebbe at JFCS at 452-6341, ext. 103 to learn more about it.