Dolores Levy Tells Her Story
The Jewish Community Center has been part of Dolores Levy’s life since she and her husband, Raymond, z”l, came to Louisville and their first son was born nearly 60 years ago. “We came over to the pool and enjoyed visiting with the entire community,” she said.
Their family grew to include three children, Dell, Michael and Richard; and before long, all three boys were involved in sports at the JCC. When the boys went off to college, she continued, they remained active at the JCC.
Levy’s parents, Ed and Eugenia “Sis” Shaikun set the example for them. When the Shaikuns retired, they left tiny Greensburg, KY, where they had lived for many years and they “started coming to Club 60,” Levy said. Every Tuesday, they brought their own lunches and came to play cards or participate in other activities. “They made good friends,” she added, so she reasoned that she and her husband would enjoy it as well.
“Raymond and I would come to the retiree meetings, and they really brought in nice speakers and so forth,” she continued. “We enjoyed it and we met up with some of our friends.”
“In the meantime, I had never given up my exercise program,” she said, recalling how she used to exercise with Selma Erlen. “As time went on, some of the exercise with the younger ladies was a little bit too fast for me,” she observed.
Then she learned that exercises for seniors were offered in the Dance Studio. “I found out they are just as good, but maybe they do them a little bit slower, and that was right down my alley. So I have tried to come two or three times a week ever since.
When Raymond took ill, the couple spent more time in Florida and were less active at the JCC until he passed away five years ago. Following his death, Levy began to “stop by the Senior Lounge and see what’s going on,” she said. “I found that I enjoyed it. It was an opportunity for me to meet some people I hadn’t met before and see people I’ve known for years.”
Levy soon discovered that the seniors at the JCC are an active, adventurous lot. From time to time, they even travel. Last year, they went to Washington, DC. “It was just delightful,” she said, admitting, “I over-exercised and walked up all the steps to the Lincoln Memorial – which was about two or three steps too many.” Several others joined her. “I think you could go to Washington every year and find something new to look at,” she added.
“This year, we went to Atlanta,” she continued. “We went to Stone Mountain, and it really is something to see – a tremendous carving, which is wonderful. Then, of course, we went to the Coca Cola Company and we took in all the things that Atlanta’s known for.”
“You just enjoy being out with people that you have something in common with,” Levy stated, noting that the Senior Adult Department keeps the trips affordable.
Some of the outings are local. Levy particularly enjoyed a recent boat ride on the Ohio River and an earlier trip to the Frazier Museum to see the Princess Diana exhibit. At the JCC, seniors go as a group to CenterStage productions a couple of times a year. They celebrate Shabbat, remember people’s birthdays and much more.
Participating in the Senior Adult program also opened the door to volunteer opportunities for Levy. For two hours every week, she works with Natalie Kusyo, the JCC’s Nutrition Site Manager, “to get some of the folks ready for their citizenship. … They’re supposed to learn everything about the United States,” she said, “and then learn how to talk and learn our ways – there’s just a lot – a big cultural difference.”
The JCC is the right place for Levy, and she attributes the quality of the program to Senior Adult Director Diane Sadle, Adult and Cultural Arts Director Slava Nelson and Kusyo. “They really take a great interest in you,” she said, “and you feel like they’re your friends as well as directors.”
“I just hope that the Senior Adult program can continue to provide excellent experiences for people,” she concluded.
DID YOU KNOW:
- 250 seniors participated in at least one Senior Adult Department program or activity, and many participated in multiple programs. Programs range from congregate meals and Bingo to exercise, enrichment classes, theater experiences, gourmet dining, travel and more.
- 167 seniors ate at least one congregate meal in the JCC’s Senior Adult Lounge and 40 received home-delivered meals from the Senior Nutrition Program.
- The JCC asks seniors for donations of $3 per person when they eat Senior Nutrition Program meals, but that does not cover the cost of the meal and no one is turned away for inability to pay.
YOU CAN HELP!
While grants from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, KIPDA and MAZON help cover the cost of the Senior Nutrition Program and transportation for those who no longer drive, your gift to the Annual Federation Campaign helps cover the additional expenses of those programs and helps the staff continue to offer high quality, life-enriching classes.