Music and a tasty treat for nursing facility residents
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Music and a tasty treat for nursing facility residents

ALLENDALE – Hailey Wilson had to do a mitzvah project for her Hebrew school class at Temple Beth Rishon in Wyckoff. So she called her grandmother, Rosalie Rothenberg.

"I wanted to do something with my grandma," said Hailey, a sixth-grader at Franklin Avenue Middle School in Franklin Lakes. "She has this recipe for challah from her own grandmother that she makes for us every holiday. She brought the recipe over and we made it together." (The recipe appears below.)


Alexis Lerner will present a classical concert at The Atrium, at The Allendale Community for Mature Living at ‘ p.m. on April 6. The concert is free and open to the public. Karen Lerner

Hailey and her mother, Sandy Gonzalez, brought the challah to be given out in The Atrium at the Allendale Community for Mature Living here, at a Friday pre-Shabbat service.

"I was so touched because no one had ever done that for us before," said Mary Stampleman, director of therapeutic recreation at The Atrium, the complex’s independent senior living residence. She estimates that about 15 percent of the 100 residents are Jewish. Rabbi Gerald Friedman of Temple Beth Sholom of Pascack Valley in Park Ridge conducts Shabbat and holiday programs there.

"I tasted the challah and it was delicious," said Stampleman, "a little different than the [store-bought] type we usually get — very flavorful, and beautiful to look at."


Hailey Wilson, right, brings a challah she had made with her grandmother, Rosalie Rosenberg, to share with the seniors at The Allendale Community. She is pictured here with the Atrium’s Mary Stampleman.

Another area 11-year-old, violinist Alexis Lerner, often comes to play at The Atrium. She will give a concert at the facility on Sunday, April 6, that is open to the public.

"The residents love her," said Stampleman. "She’s a wonderful, gifted child with such empathy for the seniors."

Like Hailey, Lexi started her association with The Atrium as a community service project for Hebrew school, at Temple Beth Sholom.

"I love working with elderly people and I decided I wanted to bring my music to them," said Lexi, a sixth-grader at Cavallini Middle School in Upper Saddle River and a student at the Manhattan School of Music. "I did some research and figured out that Allendale [Community] would like that, especially because my rabbi goes there to conduct a Friday service. I started in September, and have gone once or twice a month."

Lexi said she did not have much contact with seniors before, but she instantly loved them. "They hold so much knowledge from their years and they’ve learned so much," she said. "The way I like to communicate with them is through my music, because I’m so serious about it."

At first, she played the classical selections that she enjoys, but her audience requested music from their generation. "Now I go with lyrics to a few songs and they sing along," she said. Among her repertoire are "He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "Hatikva."

At Sunday’s concert, Lexi plans to revert to classics, particularly works by J.S. Bach, Charles-Auguste de Beriot, and Fritz Kreisler. "I will play violin for the majority of the concert, and probably also piano and maybe flute," she said.

Rosalie Rothenberg’s Bubby’s challah

‘ envelopes yeast, mixed with 5 oz. warm water and a pinch of sugar
6 cups flour
Make a well in the flour, pour in yeast mixture, mixing to a paste with a little of the flour. Let sit 10 minutes. Then add:
1/’ cup vegetable oil
3 or 4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. salt    
Mix these ingredients together and add to flour with enough warm water (about 1/’ to ‘/3 cup) to make a stiff dough.
Knead in food processor (in ‘ batches)  until smooth-looking. Roll into a ball. Put in lightly oiled bowl, covered with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until more than double in bulk. Shape into rolls, a braid, a loaf, or a knot.
Put into well-oiled pan. Let rise 3/4 to 1 hour until double in bulk.
Glaze top with egg beaten with 1 tsp. water.
Bake in 350-degree oven until brown on the underside.

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