Among those celebrating L’Chaim’s 30th anniversary were original board members, left to right, Sylvia Gurstein, Gloria Hendin and Marion Poliakoff. (photo from L’Chaim)
More than 70 people gathered recently in the L’Chaim Lounge at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver to celebrate the 30th anniversary of L’Chaim Adult Day Centre, which provides a “day out” for usually home-bound elderly Jews.
The audience was welcomed by Annica Carlsson, L’Chaim administrator, and Claire Weiss, acting president of L’Chaim, who described its growth. Originally offered at Beth Israel Synagogue, the program had to move to larger quarters at the J in 1995. It now provides programming three days a week, adding up to more than 1,900 client days a year for older adults who can still function with some degree of independence, but are unable to attend other community activities. L’Chaim also initiated a program for Jewish seniors in Richmond, which was taken over five years ago by Chabad of Richmond.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary celebration were three of the program’s founders: Sylvia Gurstein, Gloria Hendin and Marion Poliakoff. Poliakoff described how she represented National Council of Jewish Women in the beginning, enlisting a partnership with the late Irma Zack, who was acting on behalf of the Jewish Family Service Agency. Other present and former board members told anecdotes about their involvement, praising the staff and programming.
At L’Chaim, speakers on timely topics, music and exercise have always been program highlights. Current activities also include the use of iPods and headphones, which were purchased with a donation in memory of Dr. Betty Horodesky. This donation also financed the purchase of new lift chairs and a commercial cooler.
L’Chaim participant Ekatarina Chernyavskaya, 92, gave a heartfelt speech about how the program is her “home away from home” and enables her to stay connected with the Jewish community.
Celebrants also enjoyed “nibbles” provided by L’Chaim’s cook and a birthday cake baked by Nava Creative Kosher Cuisine. Annette Wertman entertained on the piano.
For more about L’Chaim, visit lchaim.ca.