Home May 2010 Celebrating a Milestone

Celebrating a Milestone

Heritage Pointe, a luxurious Jewish home for the aging with its own synagogue and a wide array of activities for its community of seniors and their loved ones, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.  Founder’s Day, slated for June 6 from 12 to 4 p.m. is free, open to everyone in the community, intergenerational, and interactive.

Residents will have an art show, the Alzheimer’s Association will provide an educational component, and there will be “pods of activities for all ages,” according to Ellen Weiss, director of development.  “We’re looking forward to the next generation taking the reins to support Heritage Pointe.”

As explained on its website (www.heritagepointe.org), the Heritage Pointe dream began more than 20 years ago, in 1985, when a needs study conducted by the Orange County Jewish Federation determined that the Orange County Jewish community’s biggest need was a Jewish home for the aging.  Spearheaded by Heritage Pointe founders Meryl Schrimmer and Loretta Modelevsky, founders began a capital campaign to meet the escrow deadline for the home.  Subsequently, the Jewish community provided major financial contributions to help fund Heritage Pointe’s continuing operations as well as help meet its goal of making available at least 20 percent of its facility for residents who were unable to afford full payment.  Since then, Heritage Pointe has continued to provide a continuum of care to seniors throughout Orange County and Long Beach.

Heritage Pointe is dedicated to meeting the religious and spiritual needs of its residents. It offers a combination of the best healthcare and housing in a traditional Jewish environment.  Traditional Judaic programs, services, and festivities are featured within the community. Cantor Susan Deutsch conducts Shabbat and holiday services in the synagogue.

Heritage Pointe will also hold its 19th annual luncheon and boutique on Friday, May 7, at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel.  Co-chaired by Reta Fishman and Julie Fishman, the event promises to be a fun day of shopping with a compelling speaker, according to the organizers.

The keynote speaker is Kati Marton, ABC journalist and UN humanitarian, who will share her recollections of her newest book, Enemies of the People:  My Family’s Journey to America, and tell how her journalist parents survived the Nazis in Budapest and were imprisoned by the Soviets. Born in Hungary, Marton has spent two decades writing and reporting from the United States, Europe, and the Far East. Ms. Marton is a director and former chairperson of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists and a member of the Freedom Forum’s Media Studies Center Advisory Committee. She also serves on the board of directors of the International Rescue Committee, the New America Foundation, the J. Anthony Lukas Memorial Foundation, the Central European University, and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post said, “Marton’s story…is one of bravery, suffering, survival, and vindication. She tells it in straightforward, lucid prose — no small accomplishment, considering that English is not her native language — and with her emotions well under control. This is not a woe-is-me memoir of the sort so much in fashion these days, but a carefully reported, almost clinical account of what it is like to live in a totalitarian state and how hard it is to escape from it. It is much less a memoir of Marton’s childhood than a joint biography of her remarkable parents…It’s a terrific story, and Marton tells it very well. She deeply admires her parents but doesn’t romanticize them or try to explain away their penchant for dangerous risk-taking. She isn’t sure that either of them would like the book, as they didn’t like their secrets told, but the reader surely will feel, as I do, that it is a powerful tribute to them.”

Alan Furst of The New York Times described the book as “…a powerful and absolutely absorbing narrative of [Marton’s] parents’ journey —a series of escapes, from Hitler, from Stalin, eventually to America…has all the magnetism and, yes, the excitement, of the very best spy fiction…in the end, Enemies of the People becomes a treatise on human nature — at its best, at its worst — and Marton is enough of a good journalist, and a good human being, to take that for what it is: applaud the love and the heroism, deplore the cowardice and the cruelty, and go on with life.”

Kirkus Reviews said of the book: “An American journalist trolls the archives of the Hungarian secret police (AVO) to piece together her parents’ imprisonment in and flight from Hungary in the mid-1950s. Marton (The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World, 2006), who arrived with her family in America in 1957 and grew up in Maryland, discovered only after her parents had died how little she understood about what they had endured. Cultured, educated Jews who had been persecuted by the pro-Nazi Hungarian fascists during World War II, Endre and Ilona Marton, based in Budapest, worked as stringers for the American newswire services and for ten years after the war befriended Americans and others from all over the world. The Martons had become essentially the Hungarian news contact for the rest of the world, and in his reporting Endre used candor and irony to expose the Hungarian autocracy. In fact, AVO officials were keeping close tabs on the couple, aided by informers close to the family, gathering evidence that the Martons were passing secrets to the Americans. In 1955, Endre was thrown into Fo Utca prison, and his wife followed four months later; they were tried and eventually released. During the year or so of their absence, Marton and her sister, uncomprehending, were housed in a foster home. The author’s probing work effectively renders an enormously unsettled, painful time of shifting allegiances and political treachery. She even learned that her parents were suspected of espionage by the CIA and were dogged by Hungarian ‘watchers’ in America intent on luring them back to aid the Cold War cause in Hungary. A dark, compelling narrative of secrecy and betrayal.”

Weiss concluded, “We’re happy to invite people in the community join us at Heritage Pointe events and to take our residents to community events.  Seniors are part of the fabric of Jewish life in Orange County.”

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