This year I engaged the residents at Toby Weinman in a project of Hiddur Mitzvah (“beautifying the mitzvah”). Lighting Shabbat candles is a meaningful part of communal life at Toby Weinman. The residents gather around to light candles set on the dining room counter and welcome in Shabbat together. The candlesticks we had were old and wobbly, and they presented us with the opportunity to start a new tradition. The residents did some online shopping with me to select new candlesticks that would be pieces of art. This project was made possible through a generous donation from Gerald Klein, son of Toby Weinman resident Lillian Pessis. The residents selected the Jerusalem Shabbat candlesticks by artist Yair Emanuel. The residents had me order one set, so that everyone could take a closer look to be sure they loved the design before we ordered 24 sets of candlesticks. Every resident agreed that the design was stunning. The candlesticks arrived in time for their inaugural use on March 3 for Hadassah Shabbat. It has been wonderful to see how these candlesticks bring the residents a sense of pride and joy every Shabbat and have strengthened their feeling of being a communal family.
At Menorah Life we serve people of all faiths. On April 30, we reached an important milestone by hosting our first on-site Sunday Christian worship service in the sacred space of our synagogue. Thank you to our volunteer coordinator Suzanne Pace for helping me make the connection with Christ United Methodist Church. Pastor Travis Taylor officiated the service with several church members. Communion was provided. We had 40 people in attendance between residents, family members, staff, and church members. Additionally, several residents watched on our closed-circuit TV system. Everyone really enjoyed the experience.
In the coming months, I will be looking to partner with other churches in the community, so that we can in time provide a weekly Sunday worship service for our Christian residents.
May Menorah Life continue to provide spiritually meaningful experiences for our residents.
Rabbi Aaron M. Lever, BCC
Director of Spiritual Care