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Celebrating Jewish Women of Valor During Women’s History Month

“A woman of valor, who can find? Far beyond pearls is her value.” – Proverbs 31:10

On March 8, we will celebrate International Women’s Day, a highlight of Women’s History Month. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, March has been designated as a month to highlight and celebrate the contributions of women both historical and contemporary. For those of the Jewish faith, this month is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the women of the tribe who exemplify the eshet chayil – the “Woman of Valor” praised in Proverbs 31.

“The eshet chayil is one powerful woman, and she has long been at the forefront of our people’s spiritual and communal growth,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger Community, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Although we celebrate her before every kiddush, Women’s History Month is the perfect time to honor the eshet chayilwho have helped shape history.”

The History of Women’s History Month

The roots of Women’s History Month begin with the first International Women’s Day held in 1911. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation founding National Women’s History Week, and in 1987, Congress designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month.

Notable Jewish Women of Valor

Here are just a few of the trailblazing Jewish women who have had the conviction and courage to overcome barriers and difficulties in order to make a difference in the world.

An Advocate for Justice – Bella Abzug

A daughter of Russian immigrants, Bella Abzug became a significant leader of the women’s movement. By the age of 13, she was giving speeches in her local synagogue, which was just the beginning of her activist aspirations. Bella went on to study at Columbia University and became one of only a handful of women law students in the nation. She worked as a lawyer for the next twenty-five years, specializing in civil rights and liberties cases as well as labor and tenants’ rights. Throughout her career, she served three terms in Congress, fought to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and other vital legislation, and presided over the first National Women’s Conference in Houston.

An Entrepreneurial Dreamer – ‘Madame’ Beatrice Alexander

Beatrice Alexander had a dream – and knew how to make it happen. Although she was born into poverty, she built her own company practically singlehandedly and emerged as one of the most prominent female entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Although her company, the Alexander Doll Company, still exists today, she is celebrated as a woman of valor in no small part to her philanthropic works with both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations throughout the world.

A Groundbreaking Scientist – Gertrude Elion

Gertrude Elion’s tremendous accomplishments spanned the course of her long career. She was responsible for helping develop the first chemotherapy drug for childhood leukemia, the first effective anti-viral medication and treatments for hepatitis, lupus, gout, arthritis and other diseases. Together with George Hitchings, her research partner, she was able to revolutionize drug development, saving and improving the lives of countless individuals. Her efforts earned her the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988.

A Philanthropic Example – Rebecca Gratz

Rebecca Gratz was the founder and secretary of one of Philadelphia’s earliest women’s philanthropic organizations and devoted her life to providing aid to underprivileged women and children. As a devout Jew, she combined her American experience with her cultural identity and went on to establish the first women-run American Jewish institutions, including the first Hebrew Sunday School and Jewish Orphanage. Her mission was to provide a space for women who wished to embrace all sides of their identity in order to preserve and evolve what it meant to be Jewish in America.

A “Fighting Judge” – Justine Wise Polier

As the first woman Justice in New York, Justine Wise Polier believed firmly that championing the cause of justice would truly change the world for the better. For 38 years, she fought for the rights of the poor and disempowered from the Family Court bench. She believed that treatment, not punishment, was the answer to juvenile justice law, and made her court a community network of economic aid, placement agencies, psychiatric services and other forms of assistance to families.

The “World’s Best Girl Athlete” – Bobbie Rosenfeld

Canadian Olympic medalist Fanny ‘Bobbie’ Rosenfeld led a double life: by day, she was a stenographer in a chocolate factory. On evenings and weekends, she became the “world’s best girl athlete,” winning softball games in crowded stadiums, shattering track records (both national and international) or leading a basketball or ice hockey team to victory in a league championship. She was voted Canada’s Female Athlete of the Half-Century in 1950, and was among the first women to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

The Ordained Rabbi – Rabbi Regina Jonas

Regina Jonas long knew she was destined to be the first woman rabbi. Her fellow pupils remember her talking about her dream of becoming a rabbi even in high school. Prior to WW II, she focused on caring for the sick and elderly at the Jewish hospital. During WW II, she was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where she performed rabbinical functions until her transportation to and death at Auschwitz.

The Passionate Organizer – Hannah Greenebaum Solomon

Hannah Greenbaum Solomon was the founder of the first national association of Jewish Women – the National Council of Jewish Women. She was also a dedicated organizer and driving force for reform at the beginning of the 20th century. She believed that a “woman’s sphere is the whole wide world,” emphasized unity, and orchestrated agreements among Jewish, gentile, and government groups on local, national and international levels.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the lives of these amazing women and so many more this month,” says Andrea. “We celebrate our Jewish heritage every day at The Reutlinger Community and we’re proud to be a senior living community that embraces the tradition and values of our Jewish faith yet also welcomes and honors all faiths.”

For more information about our community, our culture and our mission and values, please contact us at 925-272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today

From Kosher to Kosher-Style: How We Maintain Culture in Our Kitchen

The practice of keeping kosher, or following the laws of Kashruth, is an important tenet of Jewish faith and tradition. At The Reutlinger Community, our commitment to Jewish values means providing healthy and delicious dining options that help celebrate our traditions and faith. Our dining team works blends the latest trends with tradition to provide options for our residents of all faiths, as well as provide options for Jews who keep kosher or kosher-style.

“Food plays such an important role in our faith and in so many of our memories,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “While some of our residents choose to keep kosher, many others simply enjoy the comfort and familiarity of kosher-style meals. Since our reopening in 2016, we have committed ourselves to the future of senior living, which means offering a wide variety of flavors, tastes and cultures into our menus and dining lifestyle. Kosher and kosher-style are a part of that.”

From Kosher to Kosher-Style

Unlike keeping kosher, which requires following a strict set of laws that cover everything from the food we eat to how it’s prepared, kosher-style refers to foods that have been associated with Jewish culture but aren’t necessarily following Kashrut. Think of the traditional foods you’ve enjoyed over the years – pickles, knish, matzah balls – and you’ve got a flavor of what “kosher-style” is.

“Pretty much any dish or cuisine can be adapted to be kosher,” says Andrea. “But there’s no substitute for those traditional, kosher-style foods. Sometimes you just crave it, whether because you miss the taste or because it reminds you of holidays past.”

Kosher-style foods appeared in the 1920s and allowed Jewish immigrants to feel “at home” food-wise, without having to follow dietary restrictions. While the term was colloquially used to describe delicatessens and similar restaurants, it also encompassed a new wave of Jewish families who were now able to still eat traditionally without having to strictly follow all of Kashruth’s very strict rules.

The Dining Culture at The Reutlinger

The Reutlinger Community is an interfaith community, and we’re pleased to be able to offer menus that encompass a wide array of different traditional dishes from cultures around the world. Offering kosher options is one way we honor our culture and believes, and kosher-style options are yet another nod to a different aspect of our culture.

“Many of our residents enjoy seeing dishes on the menu they grew up with,” says Andrea. “Providing these traditions, including a weekly Shabbat meal, allows us to blend past and present while also incorporating the latest trends in the food and dining industry.”

For more information about our dining team and our offerings, please contact us at (925) 272-0261.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.

Making Your Assisted Living Apartment Feel Like Home

One of the biggest reasons why a senior may hesitate to move into Assisted Living is because they don’t want to leave “home.” This can be both a practical matter (I don’t want to move my stuff, the house is paid off, it’s nice to have the extra space) or it can be an emotional matter (this is where we raised our kids, it’s belonged to the family forever, I simply don’t want to give it up). Whatever the reason, it mainly stems from the fear of losing “home.”

“They say home is where the heart is, and for many people, their heart is linked to the physical structure,” says Andrea Campisi, Marketing and Admissions Director of The Reutlinger, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Danville, CA. “Moving away from that very personal place is a step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s okay to grieve the loss of ‘your home,’ since it has played such an important role in the past.”

But that shouldn’t stop you, Andrea says, from moving into a new “home” to begin a new chapter of your life. “There are lots of ways you can decorate your Assisted Living apartment to honor your past while still making it new,” she says. “It’s all about balance, looking at your needs and recognizing what’s really important to you.”

Here are nine tips to making your new home feel like, well, home.

  1. Remember “Something Old”

Downsizing doesn’t mean getting rid of everything. Sure, you can’t take the 12-foot dining room table or the room-sized wraparound couch. But you can take the things that mean the most to you, because they’re your link to the past. Your breakfast table, your antique lawyer’s bookcase, a few favorite pieces of Wedgwood® china – pick and choose your favorites, and then sell the rest or gift items to friends and family.

  1. Buy “Something New”

Who doesn’t love getting new stuff? One of the best parts of moving into an Assisted Living apartment is that you get to play interior designer and create a brand-new space that’s totally your style. Have fun and buy new rugs, curtains, throw pillows, coffee tables – whatever will make your home a home. It’s an excellent time to go a little wild and buy something that you’ve always wanted but never got for whatever reason, like a French press coffee maker or a wine fridge.

  1. Get Creative with Your Storage

No matter how much you downsize, you’ll probably still have a lot of stuff. And depending on your new place, you may not have a whole lot of storage space. In order to maximize your square footage, consider furniture that serves a double-purpose, like an ottoman that opens up to store blankets (and can become a low table by adding a tray).

  1. Use Photos for Decoration

Your family and friends are what’s important in life, so why not use them to really warm up the space? Place photos around your new place, similar to how they were arranged in your old home. Print a big family photo and hang it on the wall. Change out photos every once in a while (or every time you get new ones) to keep things fresh and interesting.

  1. Add Foliage

A living plant or two is a great addition to any Assisted Living apartment. If you have a large potted plant that you can’t take with you, consider potting some cuttings and taking them. Not only are plants pretty, but they also help improve air quality.

  1. Make Space for Guests

One of the benefits of an Assisted Living community is making new friends and compatriots. You probably enjoyed entertaining friends, family and other guests at your old place, and we imagine you’ll want to do the same in your new apartment. As you’re decorating, make sure there’s a space where you can entertain a few people for game night or a cozy dinner party. Don’t forget extra chairs or tables so that guests have a natural place to sit and relax.

  1. Make Room for Hobbies

Yes, Assisted Living communities have a full schedule of events and activities that you can take part in. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re not going to have a place where you want to escape to read a book, do embroidery or knitting or whatever other hobbies you enjoy. Mark off a corner or a space that’s dedicated to your hobbies so you have a space for your materials and tools – as well as a way to keep everything organized and neat so things aren’t just scattered across the counter or the kitchen table.

  1. Consider Your Abilities

It’s annoying to recognize it, but it’s possible that you may need a little “extra” from your décor now that you’re getting older. Like that favorite comfy chair you use to watch TV? It may not be the best fit, since the deep, soft cushions can be difficult to climb out of. Think about things that will make your life easier: brighter lighting in the bathroom, or contrasting colors in the kitchen to help delineate what goes where. The more you can take care of before you settle in, the easier it will be.

  1. Name It & Own It

The easiest way to make a new place feel like home? Start referring to it as that. Yes, it can be a bit of a psychological stumble at the beginning, but the more you can name your apartment as your “home,” the more you’ll be able to internalize it. Using all the tips listed above, we imagine it won’t take very long before the word “home” comes naturally.

Premier Senior Living, Dedicated Care

Offering Assisted Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, The Reutlinger Community provides a continuum of care that allows seniors to live a life-enhancing and stimulating environment. Located in Danville, California, The Reutlinger Community’s newly renovated, 110,000 square foot community combines the comfort and familiarity of home with seasoned senior care and skilled nursing specialists to suit any seniors needs, allowing them to live the life they choose with freedom and security.

Because we specialize in a continuum of care, our residents never need to worry about leaving the community they call home or wonder what will happen when they need some more care. Residents and families alike can have peace of mind knowing that there are full-time licensed nurses available, along with activity coordinators, social workers, caregivers, a concierge and Rabbi who focus solely on helping each resident thrive. Even better, our services and amenities are equal to those of a state-of-the-art resort. This is the lifestyle and care that your loved one deserves.

At The Reutlinger, seniors have numerous opportunities to engage in award-winning programs that are designed to engage the mind, renew the spirit and provide opportunities to meet new people and learn something new. Whether residents are enjoying our art program and museum, listening to a lecture or educational program or attending spiritual programming and our wide range of activities, there’s something for each resident to love. Participate as much or as little as you like, the choice is all yours.

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, contact us today.