Today’s post is from Rabbi Beth Janus, who works with seniors and kids of all ages in Philadelphia.
Every Friday, seniors from around the city gather at the KleinLife Center City program at the Federation Building to pray, exercise, socialize, eat, and be entertained. The programs range from listening to singers; hearing talks about art, politics, or health; watching movies; or dancing. Sometimes we foster connections between our seniors and preschoolers in the community. Last week, we had a unique Shabbat experience where we video conferenced with the preschool at Germantown Jewish Centre. The children learned all week from their teacher Anna Goldberg about the mitzvah of “kavod zaken,” the honoring of the elderly. On Friday morning our seniors gathered in front of our movie-sized screen and watched in amazement as the entire preschool from one year olds to four year olds sat in front of us.
They sang Shabbat songs to us, waved to us, and smiled. Our seniors giggled and laughed. Rabbi Adam Zeff told a wonderful story relating to the Torah portion. They ended their part by singing about Shabbat and dinosaurs. We sang one of our regular Shabbat songs, Halleluyah, thanking the Holy One. It was a life-affirming, joyous service celebrating Shabbat, little people, and the elderly, and inspired all of us to continue the beautiful relationship between these two wonderful Jewish communities. We look forward to deepening our bond, teaching our children the value of relationship and respect, while giving our seniors the happiness that comes from watching children sing, dance, and celebrate. Halleluyah. Thank God.
For more information about the KleinLife Center City program, please call Lynne Ellis 215-832- 0539.