A Fitting Time for Freedom at the Los Angeles Jewish Home
Independence Day had special meaning for residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home this year. After weathering the pandemic, they were thrilled to have multiple opportunities to gather and celebrate—not only reflecting on the establishment of the United States 245 years ago, but also basking in the more recent freedom of a life being enjoyed by all in this country due to the lessened threat of COVID-19.
The fun began early on July 2nd , with patriotic poetry readings by Jewish Home residents and staff in the dining room. With red, white, and blue decorations— and American flags waving—across campus, the Jewish Home took on a festive air. The Home's regularly scheduled word and trivia games had a patriotic theme during the runup to the holiday, and residents had multiple opportunities to enjoy a sweet treat (red, white, and blue popsicles) to mark the occasion. On July 4th itself, residents congregated—safely—in the library to watch movies on a big screen.
"We always like to bring the holiday spirit to the Jewish Home, and we were so thrilled to have the flexibility to do more programming this year," says Annette Weinberg, the Home's lifestyle and enrichment director for residential care. "During COVID, we worked hard to keep morale up, but the needed safety restrictions definitely took a toll on all. Now that we're all vaccinated and the danger from the coronavirus has dramatically receded, it's such an incredible relief!"
In honor of July 4th, we asked a number of residents to share their thoughts about the holiday:
Sheldon Volk: "To me, the 4th of July means honoring the flag and being proud to be an American. It also means visiting my family."
Beverly Moss: "The 4th of July means we live in the greatest country in the world. I am so honored my ancestors moved here when they did. We must all be proud of our wonderful country."
Edith Frankie: "I am a Holocaust survivor. I came to this country when John F. Kennedy was running for president. I certainly appreciate the US, and on the 4th of July, I feel I am an American."
Ethel Abrahams-Kett: "July 4th is the time when America declared itself free and worked to build up this country as a democracy. During my lifetime, I worked for it, too, as a teacher in a public school. I always emphasized to my students to work hard to get and keep their freedom."
Priscilla Siegel: "For me, 4th of July means I'm very proud and happy to live in America. It also means hot dogs, good food, very comfortable life for seniors with good insurance, and good living at the Jewish Home!"
In addition, Fountainview at Eisenberg Village resident Mel Sapiro—a prolific poet and songwriter since he moved to the Jewish Home—wrote a special piece for the July 4th holiday. We are pleased to feature it here, for the first time in print!
July 4th in 1776 is when the Declaration of Independence was signed
That was the start of a new country, something new needed for mankind
America is the country that became a democracy and the land of the free
We celebrate this date to remind us of this precious gift, and for all the world to see
All of us residents at Fountainview came here through different ways and means
But in life we made our own choices thanks to our democracy and our dreams
In our retirement we look back at the opportunities we had in this our land
A land where you can start with nothing and still build as much as you can
Our country has been violently challenged in so many ways over the years
We can't let those distractions derail our democracy and the values we hold so dear
We have been assaulted by conspiracy theories, big lies, and even corrupt politicians
In some cases, even irrationally by unruly terrorist wanting to destroy our traditions
We can't let that happen, we have too much to lose, we have much to be grateful for
July 4th,1776 was meant for us to have freedom to live and prosper in safety forevermore
It is appropriate to show pride and patriotism for over the years our democracy survived
And it's only natural that on July 4th we make it a special day for us all to memorialize