Virtually Jewish for Seniors
The KleinLife at Home virtual series features high-quality Jewish programming. Photo 1: Alex Shraybman leads a Russian speaking group in his Torah Talk class.; Photo 2: Active Adult Life program director, Shelley Geltzer (left), lights her menorahs while Marcia Lyons-DiCamillo (right) sings the Chanukah prayers for the last night of the Chanukah candlelighting program.; Photo 3: Michael M. Eisman, Ph. D. (top) leads a discussion on Jewish tombstones of the world in his Jewish Archeology class.
In April 2020, KleinLife created their “at Home” virtual series, which allows homebound seniors to still have access to the classes and programs they loved to participate in in-person. Among those classes include Jewish education and religious services.
“We are a Jewish agency and it has always been important to express that in our programming,” mentions Sue Aistrop, Vice President at KleinLife, who works closely with the Active Adult Life department and its virtual content. “We’re making sure we keep seniors connected not only to us, but to their Jewish roots. This was carefully thought about when creating the ‘at Home’ schedule.”
The weekly and monthly virtual schedule incorporates 6 Jewish-influenced programs and are held in English, Russian, and Yiddish to meet the needs of the seniors they serve. Topics include the Yiddish language, the history of Israel & Judaism, Jewish music & spirituality, Torah scripture, Jewish archeology, and oneg* Shabbat. Plus during the Chanukah holiday, KleinLife held a virtual candlelighting every weekday with traditional prayers and songs.
Each program allows seniors to be a communal part of the Jewish experience while helping to ease the feeling of loneliness, which is felt all too often during the pandemic. “All seniors, Jewish and not, have voiced how beneficial being a part of these classes have been,” Aistrop continues, “It has helped them keep their mind, body, and spirit full of hope and peace, something we wish to continue to give them for as long as they need it.”
KleinLife is planning on adding more Jewish programs to their schedule as the pandemic continues. In January, they are hosting a dance performance in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day presented by ARTIST HOUSE, and they are organizing a virtual Mission to Israel in partnership with Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for early 2021.
*Oneg is a Jewish social gathering held on Saturday afternoon or Friday evening and typically marked by talks and community singing.