L’Chaim Adult Day Centre member Shirley Kort, right, and her friend Zoe Oreck, who came to visit, listen to Kort’s daughter, Shoshana Litman, tell a story. (photo from L’Chaim)
I was invited into a very special world on June 30 – that of L’Chaim Adult Day Centre. Described as a therapeutic day centre for home-bound elderly, a place where safe, caring monitoring is provided along with kosher, home-style meals in a happy, embracing atmosphere, with multilingual staff, it is all that and more.
I was asked by Shoshana Litman, a gifted maggidah (storyteller), to come and watch one of her sessions at L’Chaim. After receiving permission to attend from Annica Carlsson, who is in charge of the centre, I arrived in time to see 14 seniors, mostly women, actively enjoying a ball exercise led by Marla Simcoff. When that ended, Litman entered the circle, smiled, introduced herself and explained why she was there, and that I was there to take photographs.
Litman opened with a blessing over the water, which she drank, and then introduced her mother, Shirley Kort, a member of L’Chaim and her mom’s friend, Zoe Oreck, who had come to visit.
The story Litman had chosen was one of Peninah Schramm’s – The Innkeeper’s Wise Daughter – which included riddles and a song. It easily invited audience participation and the listeners were only too glad to do so.
After I listened, enjoyed and participated in Litman’s storytelling, and I heard the various questions and answers, I began to realize the scope of what is accomplished under the watchful eyes of L’Chaim staff and Carlsson, who explained that the wide range of work on cognitive skills is easily managed because of the small size of the group.
In honor of her visit and in her mother’s name, Litman presented a copy of a calendar commemorating the 151 years of Congregation Emanu-El in Victoria. She showed photos of the costumes worn on the anniversary evening last year, as the event included a reenactment of those times. The photos brought back precious memories for one audience member, who was reminded that she had attended that event.
I left with a good feeling, and the others, who were chatting away over lunch with one another, also seemed relaxed and happy. We are fortunate to have this facility in our midst. Let’s grow old together.
Binny Goldman is a member of the Jewish Seniors Alliance of Greater Vancouver board.