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Handmaker Blog

  • Lifelong Arts Engagement at Handmaker

    By Handmaker | Nov 07, 2018
    “Dancing, at my age?” That was the reaction of one 92-year-old Handmaker resident when I told her about a dance class that we were planning at Handmaker. She was not the only skeptical one. But twelve 80-96-year-old residents showed up last month to the dance class, and by the looks on their faces, they all had a blast! It was a chair dance class, but many could not help but get up and move, with the help of Dance Instructor Billbob.
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  • Gratitude for the High Holidays at Handmaker

    By Handmaker | Oct 05, 2018
    We are just about to complete the Jewish month of Tishrei, a month that begins with Rosh Hashanah; the Jewish New Year; followed by Yom Kippur; the day of atonement; and then Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in rapid succession. We celebrate, reflect, and then celebrate some more. It is a joyous time, but a busy time. Needless to say, things can get a little hectic this time of year in the Jewish Community.
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  • Still learning in their 8th, 9th and 10th Decades

    By Handmaker | Jul 31, 2018
    You might think that the time of life between Primary School and College or Graduate School is the peak time for learning. It’s a time when your brain is like a sponge, you have an abundance of energy, and generally fewer responsibilities than you will as an adult. Well, I believe that there is second peak period in your life for learning. For those who are fortunate enough to be in relatively good physical and mental health in their later years, that period of their lives can also be filled with learning. Knowing this, we provide an abundance of opportunities for learning at Handmaker.
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  • Filling the Shaker of your Life

    By Handmaker | Jul 13, 2018
    Anyone over the age of 50 years has likely read a self-help book in the interest of self-improvement. Brian Litwak, one of our Handmaker residents, spent years studying these, but found that they were of little help to him. One year, while on vacation, he stumbled upon the author Joseph Campbell. He heard Campbell being interviewed by Bill Moyers on PBS Television, and was struck by what Campbell was saying.
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  • Returning to Shabbat

    By Handmaker | Jun 13, 2018
    Every Friday evening at Handmaker, we bring in the light of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. We have a short service at 4:30pm in our Great Room, followed by a beautiful Shabbat meal at a long community table with challah bread from Nadine’s bakery, sweet Manischewitz wine, and Matzah Ball soup.
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  • Fulfilling the mission of Tikkun Olam, Tzedakah and Chesed with the help of Volunteers at Handmaker

    By Handmaker | May 23, 2018
    One of the most valuable resources that a person can give of is their time. We are so fortunate to have more than 40 volunteers who give their time every week at Handmaker, each helping to fulfill Handmaker’s mission of of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Tzedakah (just and charitable deeds) and Chesed (loving kindness).
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  • Sharing the Story of Passover

    By Handmaker | Apr 06, 2018
    Every year at the Passover Seder we tell the story of Passover. This is one of the highlights of most Seder meals. One of the reasons that we tell the story at the Seder is for our children who attend the Seder meals. This tradition of telling the Passover story at the Seders ensures that this story will be passed along from generation to generation.
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  • Keeping Current with Events into your Nineties, and beyond!

    By Handmaker | Mar 02, 2018
    Every time you turn around there seems to be “Breaking News”. News about the tax overhaul, healthcare reform, the “Me Too” movement, “DACA”, and school shootings can upsetting and overwhelming, and it is difficult for anyone to keep up. Our residents are not alone in wanting to stay current on events in the news. Close to 95% of Handmaker residents still get their news from the TV and the newspaper. And for the last 6 months or so, some get their news from our Current Events class.
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  • Happy New Year to the Trees

    By Handmaker | Feb 02, 2018
    While many people are familiar with the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, not everyone knows that there are actually four Jewish New Year celebrations, each with a unique set of traditions. This week we celebrated one of them, Tu b’shevat. Tu B’shevat is the New Year of the trees. It is observed on the 15th of the month of Shevat, which fell on January 31st this year. Tu b’shevat is the day that is used to determine the age of the trees. The 15th of Shevat is considered their birthday, no matter when they were planted. Why is it important to know the age of trees? Since the Torah says that fruits may not be eaten from trees that are less than three years of age, those who observe this practice must know the age of trees around them.
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  • Secular New Year Celebrations at Handmaker

    By Handmaker | Jan 05, 2018
    While the Jewish New Year of 5778 began several months ago, and Jews around the world participated in a period of self-reflection at that time, with the beginning of the secular New Year of 2018, many Jewish Americans will still join in the annual secular tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. The Marist Poll estimates that about 44% of Americans will be doing so this week, with most Americans focusing on self-improvement. I wondered how many of our Handmaker residents participated in this annual secular tradition.
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  • A Handmaker Hanukkah

    By Handmaker | Dec 13, 2017
    Even though Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, it is one that most Jewish people get great pleasure in celebrating. Perhaps its celebration has been magnified due to its close proximity to Christmas on the calendar, but it is also likely that it is because there are some great traditions associated with it that make it so enjoyable to celebrate. These traditions live on in the memories of our residents, and we continue them here at Handmaker as well.
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  • Age is Only a Number, Especially at 103

    By Handmaker | Oct 27, 2017
    If you have visited Handmaker recently, you may have seen a silver haired woman in a purple sweater buzzing around in her scooter. That is Gertrude Shankman. She recently had to slow down the speed on her scooter a bit due to a few speeding tickets, but nothing else about her seems to be slowing down. This remarkable woman was born in NY on October 26, 1914, and is celebrating her 103rd birthday this week. You would never guess that after spending any time with her. She is still unbelievably sharp, and fully engaged in life.
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  • Awesome Days of Awe

    By Handmaker | Oct 02, 2017
    Handmaker residents joyously celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year of 5778, with beautiful festive meals and holiday services. This celebration was followed by the Days of Awe, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is a time for introspection. It is period of time to think about what you have done over the previous year, and to seek reconciliation with anyone that you may have wronged throughout the year.
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  • A Change of Faith

    By Handmaker | Aug 11, 2017
    When one of our Handmaker residents expressed an interest in converting to Judaism earlier this year, I was speechless. For nearly 18 months, Elaine had been attending Shabbat evening and morning services every week, came to all of the Jewish holiday services and programs, and was an active participant in our weekly Torah study sessions, so it really should not have come as so much of a surprise. But yet, it was. It is one thing to participate in Jewish services to expand your knowledge of the world around you, but it is another thing to want to change your faith, especially this late in life. I was surprised, but I was also delighted for her and for our community.
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  • The Wisdom of Our Elders

    By Handmaker | Jul 11, 2017
    Irving Silverman is an expert in the art of aging. While most people at the age of 97 would be slowing down, Irving has just published his second book, Aging Wisely…Wisdom of Our Elders. It is a book about aging and longevity from the perspective of the elderly, as well as from many experts in the field of aging.
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  • Tucson Rabbis Find G-d (in the) Every Day

    By Handmaker | Jun 07, 2017
    It is such an honor when one of our Tucson Community Rabbis comes to visit or speak at Handmaker. Imagine how blessed we felt to have three of our Community's Rabbis in the Great Room of Handmaker last month.
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  • L’dor V'dor – From Generation to Generation

    By Handmaker | May 08, 2017
    Jewish values and traditions have been passed along from generation to generation for thousands of years, and fortunately continues on today. Pictured in the above photo is Phil Bregman (on the right), his wife Dani, daughter Emily, and cousin, Sondra Koven. Phil’s Great Uncle Murf Handmaker started Handmaker in 1963, and Phil is currently the Chair of the Handmaker Board. Their daughter, Emily, was paired up with Brian Litwak (Handmaker resident also pictured above left) as part of a volunteer program at Handmaker. This is a beautiful example of L’dor V’dor.
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  • Passover Memories

    By Handmaker | Apr 13, 2017
    The approach of Passover evokes many happy memories for our Handmaker residents. Here are just a few that involve memorable foods, the “Maxwell House Hagaddah”, special traditions and seeing favorite family members.
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  • Making Israeli Connections at Handmaker

    By Handmaker | Mar 24, 2017
    When Hazel moved into Handmaker, I invited her to try out our Yiddish class. She told me that she was not interested in learning Yiddish, but would love to practice her Hebrew. I thought that maybe she wanted to brush up on her prayer book Hebrew at the age of 94. But no, it turned out that she is fluent in Hebrew, and wanted the opportunity to speak with someone else who was too. Luckily, with the help of Oshrat Barel, our Tucson Shlicha, Hazel met Rina.
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  • Handmaker Residents Have an Opportunity to SOAR

    By Handmaker | Feb 24, 2017
    For the eighth year in a row, Handmaker residents have had the opportunity to participate in Project SOAR (Students and Older Adult Relationship). This is a program coordinated by Dr. Jenene Spencer, an instructor in the University of Arizona School of Pharmacy’s Practices and Science department, and is facilitated at Handmaker by Andrea Ramirez, our Administrative and Volunteer Coordinator.
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