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Home for the holidays

Shalom group celebrates Jewish holidays at Fox Run

Created date

November 22nd, 2011

When Lenore Klein was young, she enjoyed participating in events at her synagogue. But as she became busy with her career as a special education teacher, she had less time to devote to activities at the temple. When Lenore moved to Fox Run, an Erickson Living community, in Novi, Mich., she was pleased to find that many Jewish residents participate in the community s Shalom group, and she got involved right away. Now that I am retired, I can take another direction, Lenore says of her involvement with the Shalom group, of which she recently became co-leader. The group aims to organize social, educational, and religious activities for Jewish residents. Non-Jewish residents interested in learning more about Jewish culture and tradition may also attend events.

Holidays made special

Primarily, the Shalom group hosts special meals for Jewish holidays. Each year for Passover, the group organizes a Seder dinner with matzoh, gefilte fish, and other traditional foods. They also read the Haggadah, which tells the story of the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt. At Hanukkah time, the group hosts a holiday meal in one of the community s private dining rooms, which residents may reserve for parties. Lenore says a cantor from a local synagogue, who plays guitar and piano and sings Jewish songs for the celebration, sometimes joins them.

Sharing and learning together

In addition to hosting holiday celebrations, the Shalom group organizes educational events. They hosted a speaker from the Anti-Defamation League, which works to end anti-Semitism, extremism, and bigotry. On another occasion, a representative from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit spoke to the Fox Run community about his agency s needs. Matt Humphrey, Fox Run s chaplain and pastoral care coordinator, helps residents plan various religious and interfaith activities on campus. He says the atmosphere at Fox Run is welcoming and inclusive of people of all faiths. There are plenty of opportunities for residents to participate at the level that fits their desire, Humphrey says. Throughout the year there are events and activities that bring residents of various faith traditions together and foster great friendships. Recently, Fox Run s diversity and inclusion committee hosted a Jewish film series, which was open to all residents as well as to the public. The four-week series included showings ofArranged; Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg; A Small Act; and David & Layla. In the fall, the diversity committee also helped to organize a celebration for Sukkot, Hebrew for Feast of Booths. The committee created a sukkah, a decorated hut that symbolizes the frailty of life and God s protection of Jews as they fled from slavery in Egypt. It commemorates the historic journey in the desert and is a celebration of God s blessings, Humphrey says. Those who came really enjoyed their time. For the upcoming year, Lenore says she hopes to plan more Shalom group activities that incorporate Jewish art, literature, and music. I want to get into cultural events so this becomes a learning experience as well as something that is enjoyable.