More than 200 people were guests at Lavish Lunches at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly. The annual culinary adventure raises funds to support JCC programs and services for senior adults in the community. The day began with a light breakfast at the home of Michele and Daniel Ross; it featured a presentation by Tanya Steel, a global leader in the food world, and a testimonial from Debbie Himmelfarb, who described how her 94-year-old father enjoys his time in the JCC’s Senior Center. The day continued as guests enjoyed lunches of their choice at local homes and other venues.
The JCC hosted its annual Mitzvah Lunch one week later. There, seniors gathered for an afternoon of dining and dancing with their extended families, friends, and caregivers, as well as JCC members and staff who volunteered to help the seniors. The Taub Auditorium was decorated with centerpieces made by children in the JCC Early Childhood program. Live DJ entertainment included music from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and young ballerinas from the JCC Dance School performed.
“Days like these are special,” the JCC’s CEO, Jordan Shenker, said. “Our center is a place where seniors can come to make friends, share in programs that keep them connected to their community, and find a sense of purpose. Discovering this all in one place is rare, and it is programs like Lavish Lunches, which brings the whole community together, that make it possible. Caring for seniors is a core component of our mission, and we are so grateful to the Senior Department staff and all the caring and generous members of our JCC community, who offer their time, open their hearts, and give their support to bring seniors together for incredible experiences that enlarge their social world, and most importantly, bring them joy.”
Proceeds from the day support the JCC as it provides care for seniors in the community — many of those seniors otherwise would be homebound. The JCC Senior Services Department delivers a broad range of social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs for older adults and their caregivers. Highlights include the Kaplen Adult Reach Center, a social adult day care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; REAP, which offers extensive programming for active retirees; the Club, a social group for people with mild cognitive impairment; the Senior Activity Center, and intergenerational programs with children in the JCC’s Early Childhood Center. Many of these programs offer door-to-door transportation in wheelchair-accessible vehicles, programs for the arts, lectures and concerts, discussions on current affairs, exercise, sing-alongs, dancing, and birthday and holiday celebrations. These programs allow seniors to age in place successfully and remain engaged and connected to their community. The JCC also serves more than 24,000 free hot kosher meals annually.
Lorin Cook and Brandi Rubin were the day’s co-chairs, and the committee included Orly Chen, Stephanie Cohn, Alissa Epstein, Merle Fish, Kiera Flynn, Jenna Gutmann, Jackie Pollack, Michele Ross, Jennifer Schiffman, Riki Shulman, Jillian Somberg, Francie Steiner, and Yifat Yechezkell. Sponsors included the Kaplen Foundation, Englewood Health, Artistic Tile, the Dean Foundation/Francie & Stephen Steiner, ShopRite/Treeco, Gilly’s Organics, Orly Chen/Re/Max Properties Plus, M Ross & Associates LLC, MYRON, and IAC Israeli American Council.
To make a donation to programs for seniors, go to jccotp.org/lavishlunches.