Some of the residents at Country Meadows hadn’t been able to partake in Shabbat services for years, and many missed the opportunity to engage in the Jewish community on a spiritual level.
JFS brought the spirit of Shabbat to Country Meadows in June as part of a pilot program that aims to bring Shabbat celebrations to seniors in facilities across the Lehigh Valley. Carol Wilson, who is spearheading the program, hopes that it will enrich the spiritual lives of seniors who may feel separated from their faith.
Cantor Kevin Wartell of Temple Beth El created a service that incorporated songs and prayers that had the whole room singing, praying, swaying and sharing their stories with one another. The residents and volunteers could follow along with the service in transliterated Hebrew with an English translation. “To watch the looks on their faces as they listened to the melodies and chanted the prayers together was very moving,” Wilson said.
After singing, toasting and enjoying each other’s company, everyone broke challah together before eating the kosher dinner of roast chicken prepared by the staff of Country Meadows.
JFS plans to create a Shabbat Box that will have everything volunteers will need to conduct similar services at senior facilities across the Lehigh Valley.
“This is truly a community effort,” said Wilson of the program. “We want to make sure that every member of our community is able to partake in the spirit of Shabbat.”