2023 Guide To Los Angeles Senior Living Jewish Holiday Celebrations
Sarah OrdoverSep 13th, 2023
Jewish life in assisted living communities throughout Los Angeles is active and thriving. Substantial Jewish populations can be found at properties throughout the city, with particularly large concentrations of Jewish seniors in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.
Shabbat is celebrated across communities either with an in-person Rabbi or via Zoom. And, you'd be suprised how many of them make matzo ball soup on Fridays! Even Kingsley Manor, a large Hollywood assisted living property started by the German Methodists in 1912 as the Pacific Old People's Home serves bagel and lox every morning. Yum.
Being Jewish myself, I am particularly attuned to how Los Angeles senior living communities observe the holidays. For those of us who practice the faith, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoh are some of the most important days of the year. This week, as I have been touring with clients, I've had a chance to get a close up look.
The Variel, Woodland Hills
Opened in 2020, the Variel in Woodland is one of LA's newest and most sophisticated senior living communities offering independent living, assisted living and memory care.
The Variel has a very large Jewish population and a robust schedule of programming for Jewish residents year-round including weekly in-person Shabbat services and holiday celebrations. While most Jewish residents of senior living communities are not religious, I find that everyone enjoys holiday rituals and traditions. The folks at The Variel are no exception.
This year, The Variel is observing Erev Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Hashanah Day, Kol Nidre, and Yom Kippur Day with in-person services in The Variel's theatre led by area clergy. For those who want to attend services at a synagogue, Temple Ner Simcha is providing seats at no charge to their residents. The Variel also sent out a bulletin detailing how residents can stream services from various Los Angeles area synagogues.
The Variel's menu looks delicious with traditional dishes like kugel, tzimmes and honey cake on offer. Matzah ball soup, always welcome, is on the menu year-round.
Garden of Palms on Fairfax Avenue near Santa Monica Blvd is one of the few Kosher communities in Los Angeles. While not everyone living at Garden of Palms is religious, they choose to live at Garden of Palms for its attention to Jewish life and to be amongst peers.
For the Rosh Hashanah meals Garden of Palms served traditional foods: Tzimmes dish, challah and salads with Pomegranate seeds. An in-person Rabbi leads services for all of the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services, including Kol Nidre on Yom Kippur. On Rosh Hashanah, Garden of Palms organized group discussions on memories of the holiday and New Year’s Resolutions.
The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will include holiday themed art projects, Challah baking, a pomegranate tea and honey cake happy hour and many more activities. They also build a sukkot in their courtyard space. This is a time for residents to share quality time in the Sukkot outdoors. Garden of Palms has a full schedule of activities for residents to enjoy the high holiday season together.
The Watermark at Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills
Down the street from the esteemed reform congregation of Temple Emmanuel in Beverly Hills, The Watermark at Beverly Hills is a boutique-style assisted living community providing upscale amenities in an attractive, residential Beverly Hills neighborhood bordering Robertson Blvd.
For Yom Kippur, The Watermark will be observing the fast for residents who can. The community is about 90% Jewish so the Jewish High Holidays are important. This is one of the few communities that explicitly mentioned that they are doing a break fast with a dairy meal for residents.
For the first night of Rosh Hashanah, a special meal is being served and Cantor Caroline from Temple Emmanuel will come by to blow the shofar. Year-round, Friday night dinners are Shabbat-themed and Shabbat services are held weekly on-site with either a Cantor or Rabbi.
The Village at Sherman Oaks, Sherman Oaks
The Village at Sherman Oaks is another community with a particularly large and active Jewish population. Their four acre campus boasts a full size outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and all day dining catering to their independent living, assisted living and memory care residents.
On Erev Rosh Hashanah, residents will get together to light candles, chant the blessings, and enjoy wine/grape juice, challah, apples and honey. On the day of Rosh Hashanah, entertainers will host a sign-along to get folks into the spirit of the new year.
For Sukkot, residents will gather and enjoy a charcuterie of nature's bounty(nuts, fruit, cheeses) on the patio under a sukkah.
To find out more, contact Assisted Living Locators Los Angeles owner Sarah Ordover at 310-853-8282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sarah is one of LA’s top senior living advisors. Certified in dementia care, Sarah is a trained aging specialist who holds an RCFE assisted living administrators license. Sarah thoughtfully guides families through the senior living decision-making process, helping them find the best solution for their loved ones. Sarah's service is free to her clients.