By Brandi Lerner, jkidphilly parent
My own, personal connection started with the Abramson Center for Jewish Life when, in the mid-90’s I began going to the Philadelphia Geriatric Center (the former Abramson located next to Einstein Hospital) monthly to celebrate Shabbat. This mitzvah was something that I looked forward to, and continued for six years before leaving for college. Now, as a parent, it is amazing to give my son the same experiences that I cherished.
I began bringing my son Ethan, now 2, to Abramson when he was about 4 months old through a jkidphilly program that was held there. His face lit up when entering the sun-filled atrium to the residents being serenaded by Cantor Buzzy Walters. The warm welcome of the residents and the immediate smile on my son’s face confirmed that this was the right decision. I am glad that I have this wonderful environment to teach my son Hiddur Penei Zaken, honoring the elderly – a mitzvah dear to my heart.
One of my grandmothers currently lives out in Arizona and we do not get to see her nearly as much as we would like. By visiting Abramson, I feel in some way, we are visiting her. We are visiting with her peers. We are listening to them sing along to music from her era. I am able to see the same joy in the residents’ faces as I see in hers when she sees my son. If my grandmother were to go into a senior living center, I would hope those of my generation would visit her – even though she is not their own relative.
Our elders have so much wisdom and experience to share. It is such a blessing to have them in our lives and, if nothing else, the elation of intergenerational interaction is reason enough to continue our visits. I hope, as my son grows older he will always remember his fond memories of visiting the Abramson Center.
Brandi Lerner currently resides in the Ambler area with husband, Andrew, and 2yr old son, Ethan. She says, “jkidphilly has allowed me to not only reconnect with childhood friends but has given my son and husband an amazing new group of friends. Through our involvement, Andrew and I are teaching Ethan the importance of our Jewish identity.”