Jewish Family Service helps older adults celebrate Passover

This year, Jewish Family Service helped dozens of older adults across the Lehigh Valley experience a more meaningful Passover holiday by bringing the celebration to them thanks to the generous donations and immense amount of volunteer hours poured into that special week by members of the Jewish community.

On April 14, 30 people, including 11 residents of Atria in Bethlehem, two residents of Sterling who were driven over by a JFS volunteer and 15 Congregation Brith Sholom participants shared a luncheon around the seder table together at Atria. Volunteer Rose Lee Goldberg helped set up the tables and participated in the seder. Tuna and egg salads were provided by Atria, gefilte fish, horseradish, grape juice and ceremonial foods for the service were provided by JFS, and Brith Sholom provided the charoset and desserts.

Another group at Atria also had a seder at dinnertime on April 16, led by volunteer Leon Zoller. Residents were joined by family members to celebrate with a traditional haggadah and Passover foods.

On April 17, Rabbi Seth Phillips of Congregation Keneseth Israel led a seder at Kirkland Village for 26 residents there. Walking in singing “Eliyahu Hanavi,” he had everyone laughing, learning and celebrating Passover. Each participant had their own seder plate, complete with charoset, horseradish, saltwater and egg. The program was organized by resident Gladys Yass, who planned the formal luncheon with the dining staff to make sure the meal was both traditional and delicious.

“JFS is so appreciative of the residences and rabbis and volunteers for their partnership in bringing the ceremony and joy of Passover to the Jewish residents at places like Atria and Kirkland Village,” said Karp. “We are grateful for their commitment to our community and gift of time during this busy holiday season. It is a pleasure and a joy to work with them on special programs for older adults in the Lehigh Valley.”

Volunteers also made special efforts in other residences across the Valley throughout the holiday. One such example was the 25 Passover bags assembled and donated for clients of Jewish Family Service by Temple Beth El Sisterhood. Kathy Zimmerman and Sandy Fine organized the religious school and congregant collection of Passover foods to be distributed to households in an effort to help people celebrate the holiday and mitigate the cost of Passover's special foods. Bags were thoughtfully filled with matzah, gefilte fish, sardines, bomba, jelly desserts and cereal and marshmallows for families with children. This long-standing partnership has allowed families to honor the holiday year after year, knowing JFS and TBE are helping make ends meet. JFS volunteers delivered the Passover bags with smiles and a hearty “Chag Sameach!"