Mildred R. Snitzer, a forceful presence in the Peninsula senior scene, passed away on September 9, 2011, at age 103. She attributed her longevity and vitality to her passion for dance, philanthropy, and Northern California, all of which provided opportunities for staying active and meeting new people. A professional dancer, she danced the foxtrot and taught country western line dancing at senior centers. Mildred’s generous legacy to the Jewish Community Endowment Fund will provide educational opportunities for Jewish students in the Bay Area for generations to come. Mildred shared her perspective on living and giving in the Federation’s Book of Life: “As highly as I recommend the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, I also suggest dancing. That is the secret to a long life. My motto is, “if you don’t keep movin’, they’ll plant ye!”
Archive for the ‘Seniors’ Category
Federation Campaign Chair Richard Fiedotin and Chief Development Officer Maxine Epstein recently returned from Russia, where they participated on the JFNA’s Campaign Chairs and Director’s Mission. Below is Maxine’s perspective on the group’s visit to a relief center for senior citizens in Moscow.
By Maxine Epstein
In Moscow, I climbed 6 flights of stairs to reach 84 year old Mirra Shukhman’s apartment. When Mirra opened the door, I entered into my own Bubbee’s apartment – circa 1964, Modesto, California. Perhaps it was the jet-lag, but it was the memory smell that was distorting time. When I looked at Mirra dressed in a pink hand knit sweater and saw her kitchen table, I could see my Bubbee’s hands splattered with flour lovingly kneading that dough. She folded in generations of love to what would magically become our challah for Shabbos. She spoke Yiddish to my father when she did not want me to know what was being said. But unlike my Bubbee, Mira Shukhman lives alone in one room. The couch also serves as her bed.
Mirra never married had no children and she is living out her final days in dignity – because of the support of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the funds we raise here through our Campaign efforts. “My childhood ended on June 22, 1941” Mirra said, referring to the day Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Born in 1927, Mirra does not know a lot about Judaism, but her parents used Yiddish as a “secret language” in front of her. And Mirra remembers Passover celebrations at her aunt’s house and how her father used to tell her stories from the Torah.
When the Second World War broke out, Mirra’s parents sent her to live with her cousin in Siberia. She endured the hard journey with a 72 year old woman who was a friend of her father. The trip took more than a month, during which they rode in cattle cars and slept outdoors during the bitter cold winter. Mirra’s cousin shared her small rations of food with Mirra, which was barely enough to survive.
Mirra receives a monthly income of $400 per month. She receives fresh food and visits from a homecare worker 8 hours per month. In addition, once a week a worker form the JDC brings her to a “warm house” or Hesed where she visits with other seniors – also isolated and alone.
There really are no degrees of separation. Had my grandparents turned right instead of left, I might have been born in Russia.
Our efforts in the Annual Campaign and supplemental gifts to the JDC help the JDC run a network of five Hesed relief centers which provide essential services – food, medicine, home care, and winter relief – to 28,730 destitute Jewish elderly. Whether they live in the city or on the rural outskirts, Hesed’s elderly clients are reliant on this support to survive. I was very moved by my visit to Mirra’s home and the Hesed center, and felt a deep sense of responsibility for the Jewish community both here in the Bay Area and around the world. I hope that this feeling will be shared by many in future generations as well.
You will receive lifetime payments and help our community continue to thrive by establishing a charitable gift annuity.
The remainder of the CGA, after lifetime payments are made, is your permanent legacy to help our community respond to emergencies, fund new initiatives, and provide capital grants for vital Jewish institutions. Recently, the JCF has helped our Jewish agencies with additional funding during the economic downturn, made grants for Special Needs and Senior Transportation initiatives, and provided funding for the new Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life.
During your lifetime, a CGA offers
- Guaranteed payments for one or two lives at favorable rates
- An income tax deduction at the time the gift is made
- Payments which are partially income tax free
- Favorable treatment of capital gains for gifts of appreciated assets
Sample Gift Annuity Rates
Single Life Immediate Annuity
Prospective donors are encouraged to seek the advice of their professional advisors.
Read why John chose to to set up his charitable gift annuity.
For decades, Yetta Miller zipped around San Francisco with ease, taking the Muni bus to and from her nursing job, or to social engagements with friends. But at 90 years old, Miller – who suffers from high blood pressure, dizzy spells, and crippling arthritis – can no longer ride the bus.
These days, Miller is more or less confined to her condominium in the Western Addition, where she lives with her 61-year-old handicapped son. Were it not for four free taxi vouchers that Miller receives each month from the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, she would rarely make it out of the house. “It gives me a reason to go somewhere,” Miller said of the voucher program. “Otherwise, I just stay home.”
Every Wednesday, Miller uses her taxi voucher to travel to the JCC, where she plays Mahjong with a room full of seniors. It gives her a chance to socialize for a few hours, and it brightens up her otherwise monotonous week. Her energy level has plummeted, she said, so it’s tempting to just stay home. “But when I know I’ve got the voucher, I say to myself, ‘don’t be silly, go!’ It’s a real inspiration for me to get up and out of the house.”
Compared with older adults who drive, non-driving older adults make 65% fewer social visits, family, or religious trips, and 15% fewer trips to the doctor. And among Jewish seniors, transportation is the number one unmet need. That’s why the Federation, in partnership with a network of Jewish communal agencies, is committed to providing rides for homebound seniors.
In 2009 and 2010, the Federation and local communal agencies provided more than 2,000 rides to homebound seniors. Through the Senior Transportation Initiative – a new program designed to better meet our seniors’ needs – and ongoing support of voucher programs at five JCC’s throughout the Bay Area, the Federation will continue to ensure that our seniors stay active and connected to our Jewish community.
During a Federation staff tour, Adrienne Beard – a member of our Human Resources team – listened as the Executive Director of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center reflected on the process of saying goodbye to a loved one. What the Executive Director didn’t know was that Adrienne was in the midst of her own process of letting go: her mother was dying. Overwhelmed by sadness that she wasn’t at her mother’s bedside, Adrienne left the room. The Center’s Rabbi followed. What came next was a conversation Adrienne will never forget. Fighting back sobs, Adrienne opened up to the rabbi about her dilemma: she wanted her mother’s suffering to end, but she knew that meant letting her go forever. “He had the kindest eyes,” Adrienne said, reflecting on that moment. “He told me he’d pray for peace for me and my family.” Adrienne knows how others benefit from Federation-supported agencies like the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, but she never expected to be a recipient herself. “Grief extends beyond culture or race, and I will never forget his kindness and compassion.”
Adrienne’s story is one example of the many ways that the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center provides spiritual care, counseling, and education to the bereaved, to those living with illness, and to those caring for the ill. Recently, the Federation funded a unique two-day retreat for individuals and families in mourning. The Grief and Growing Camp weekend drew more than 35 participants, and was a testament to the power of Jewish community. In our times of greatest need, the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center is there to lift us up, and to help us go on.
A celebration of diversity, freedom, Jewish values and inclusion took place on Tu B’Shvat January 31, 2010 at Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa. Paul Munson and Shirley Liberman, members of Congregation Shomrei Torah, envisioned an LGBT Jewish celebration in Sonoma and they volunteered to orchestrate and design the evening that welcomed 85 LGBT Jewish Sonoma County residents, their families, friends and supporters.
Andrew Ramer, the author of the Haggadah originally used at Congregation Sha’ar Zahav and recently adapted for the members of Congregation Shomrei Torah, led the service along with Paul Munson and Shirley Liberman. Congregation Shomrei Torah’s Rabbi & Liturgical Soloist, Rabbi George Gittleman & Leira Satlof, along with Congregation Sha’ar Zahav President, Alex Ingersoll and Congregation Shomrei Torah, President, Marcy Pluznick-Marrin participated. Lisa Finkelstein, Director of the LGBT Alliance at the Jewish Community Federation also attended.
After enjoying a bagel brunch at the Jewish Home and learning about the services it provides to Jewish Home residents, 40 YAD members decorated seven common areas of the Home, covering them with brightly colored menorahs, dreidels, and colored posters with “Happy Hanukkah” written in English, Hebrew and Russian. The young adults then visited with residents and passed out handmade Hanukkah cards that YAD members had made.
Residents were thrilled to receive a visit and a Hanukkah card and many couldn’t stop smiling; some even cried tears of joy! “I could hardly keep from crying myself,” said one participant. “Such a little thing as handing them a card and talking with them for a few minutes made them so happy!”
The December 6 event was the YAD board’s Hanukkah party, but 15 additional YAD constituents signed up to attend. As a result, the 25 original participants grew to 40 for this heartwarming service project, and YAD is planning to make this collaboration with the Jewish Home an annual mitzvah.
On November 18, 2009 at the Osher Marin’s Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) Hoyt Theater, 65 LGBT Seniors gathered together to celebrate Thanksgiving with a Jewish bite!
After realizing that the Spectrum LGBT Center serving Marin & Sonoma Counties would be too small this year to host their annual Thanksgiving pot-luck for Seniors, Paula Pilecki, Executive Director, reached out to Pam Day, JCC Event Manager and Deborah Newbrun, JCC Associate Director of Programs to discuss a partnership. The three quickly agreed to work together and find resources to ensure the LGBT Senior Thanksgiving lunch a success! The traditional fixings Thanksgiving meal was catered and served by Stacy Scott Fine Catering with the help of many kind volunteers. A wonderful performance by Harpist Michelle Sell was enjoyed by all.
Spectrum was founded in 1982 and provides community leadership to promote acceptance, understanding, and full inclusion for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Spectrum offers a host of outreach programs including Senior Spectrum which provides opportunities for LGBT older adult men and women to come together for socializing, support, and community.
Due to the joy and success of this years LGBT Seniors Thanksgiving lunch the LGBT Alliance and the Osher Marin’s JCC will be partnering again with Spectrum to host next year’s LGBT Seniors Thanksgiving Lunch again on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at the Osher Marin’s Jewish Community Center’s (JCC) Hoyt Theater from noon to 2:00 pm. We hope that you join us!
A special thanks for their support and efforts in making the Thanksgiving lunch happen: Joelle Yuna, Pam Day, Paula Pilecki, Deborah Newbrun, Lisa Finkelstein, Casey Halcro, Kathryn Mudie, Gary Shepard, Matt White, Gary Anspach, Alissa Friedman, Karen Smith, Penny Noble, Jane Sedonaen, Karen Tomcala & Adam Wollter.
On June 11, 2009, five incredible programs were highlighted and honored at the Jewish Community Federation’s annual meeting. The videos below share their story.
Institute for Curriculum Services (ICS)
Jewish Community Relations Council
and Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Community Teen Foundations
Jewish Community Endowment Fund
Get Up and Go
Peninsula Jewish Community Center (PJCC)
Kibbutz Nachshon in Israel
Jewish Chaplaincy at Stanford University Medical Center
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Program
The above programs would not be possible without their dedicated staff and volunteers. The programs also rely on the financial support of their generous donors, including the Jewish Community Federation.
You can contribute to the ongoing vitality of programs such as these by donating to the Federation’s Annual Campaign.
More information on the above programs is available at:
A recent article in the j. features Federation’s work to address the transportation needs of seniors in our community. Federation’s own Laura Mason explains that, “It’s not just about a ride — it’s about companionship and meaningful connections to the community.”
There are several types of transit programs supported by our Federation. For more information on these programs — or to find out how you can help provide funding — please contact Laura Mason at 415.512.6273 or email@example.com; or Tara Mohr at 415. 512.6424 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.sfjcef.org.