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Handmaker Blog

  • Thoughts on the High Holidays from our visiting Rabbinic Intern, Debi Lewis

    By Handmaker | Oct 23, 2019
    My name is Debi Lewis and I am a fifth year Rabbinical Student at the Academy of Jewish Religion in Los Angeles California and I had the privilege of spending this past High Holiday season at Handmaker in Tucson Arizona. I wanted to share a little bit of this experience with you; the people for whom Handmaker is a meaningful and important Jewish Community.
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  • Preparing for the High Holidays during Elul

    By Handmaker | Sep 09, 2019
    We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, the last month of the Hebrew Year. During the month of Elul we begin to prepare for the coming Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Preparation for the Holidays takes many forms. Of particular importance and meaning is the spiritual preparation.
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  • Grossingers, in Tucson?

    By Handmaker | Jul 18, 2019
    “Handmaker reminds me of when I used to go up to the Poconos with my family and stayed at a Jewish resort when I was younger! There was always something to do, something going on, and plenty of good food.” That was the response that I got from Chic last week when I asked how his stay at Handmaker was going.
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  • “Hello Gorgeous”

    By Handmaker | Jul 08, 2019
    “Hello Gorgeous” That’s the sign on the door that welcomes you into the Beauty Salon at Handmaker. When the door opens, and the sounds of Jazz music and the smells of hair spray waft down the hall, you know that Bethany is in, and the Handmaker Beauty Salon is open for business.
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  • Is There Room in Tradition for the Somewhat Untraditional?

    By Handmaker | Jun 11, 2019
    When dessert was served at our Shavuot Festival meal this year, there were a few murmurs of “where's the cheesecake?” Our amazingly creative Executive Chef at Handmaker tried to do something somewhat untraditional. She served Fig Jam Palmiers (also known as Elephant Ears), with cheesecake filling instead of cheesecake. (see photo above) After a few initial murmurs of discontent, the residents and guests tried this delicious looking dessert. The vast majority gave nods and sounds of approval. Some others… well, cheesecake is pretty hard to compete with. And, after all, it is very traditional to eat cheesecake on Shavuot. They were kind of expecting it.
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  • Connecting through Life Stories

    By Handmaker | May 06, 2019
    How do you summarize 70 plus years into a few pages of a book? It is not necessarily an easy feat, but it can make for an interesting experience. This is what eleven High School students accomplished after meeting with their Handmaker resident partner for the last six months, as part of the Tracing Roots Inter-generational program, a partnership between Tucson Hebrew High and Handmaker, and sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.
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  • Gratitude to and from Some Visiting Students

    By Handmaker | Mar 04, 2019
    In late January we had a group of 5th grade students from Congregation Or Chadash visit Handmaker to learn about Handmaker and our residents as part of their religious school program. I had come by their religious school class the month before to tell them about Handmaker and what to expect on their upcoming visit. When they arrived at Handmaker, we took a tour of the building. They saw the rehab areas, skilled nursing, the Great Room and more. They were curious and asked many questions.
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  • Jonah's New Yarmulke - Four Men at Shabbat Services

    By Handmaker | Feb 04, 2019
    As told to me by Gertrude Shankman, Handmaker resident for nearly 12 years, currently aged 104. I have taken some editorial liberties, though… Every Saturday morning we have Shabbat morning services at Handmaker for all who wish to attend. One of our service leaders, Dan Asia, has been mentoring an 11-year-old boy named Jonah, who has been coming to Shabbat morning services at Handmaker since he was a toddler
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  • Friendships through the Years

    By Handmaker | Jan 10, 2019
    Developing and maintaining friendships is critical throughout our lives. Many of us remember our first best friends, someone who we played with on the playground in grade school, sat next to at lunch, explored the deserts or woods with, and maybe got into a little trouble with... Something special also happens when residents move into a senior living community. This is another point in time, a change in life, when there is a great opportunity to develop new friendships.
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  • The Eight Crazy Nights at Handmaker are over, for now...

    By Handmaker | Dec 17, 2018
    The winter holiday season is always an interesting time for the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Christmas seems to be everywhere, and since we do not celebrate it, we sometimes feel a little left out. The solution seems to be, here in America, to make Hanukkah a big deal. And we certainly try to make it a big deal for residents at Handmaker, and include everyone in the celebrations.
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  • 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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