Chai Year for Ezra
In April 1996 a group of volunteers met at the request of Jerry and Eva Silverman to discuss the idea of providing North Orange County retirees with some communal activities. At that meeting the Ezra Center was born. With no facilities or assets, the group put together a concept, business plan and marketing plan. In October 1996 the community was introduced to the concept of daytime programming provided at familiar neighborhood locations. Of the 180 people who attended this introductory meeting, 90 joined on the spot. By December 1, 250 had enrolled.
On October 24, 2013, the Ezra Adult Activity Center commemorated entering its 18th year of operation with a celebration of food and entertainment. “We had to do something to acknowledge the near miracle of our survival for these 18 years,” said Mel Grossman, the event chairperson and part of the original group. “It is even more amazing when you realize that volunteers for the first three or four years accomplished this with the only paid staff being the caterer, Anita Muchnikoff.”
Based on its mission statement, the Ezra Center provides a variety of activities and services to meet the needs of the mature population of the community it serves. Based on the belief that healthy, well-motivated and challenged individuals are most likely to be happiest and most fulfilled, the Ezra Center provides a warm, safe and caring environment that includes a nutrition program, health assessment program and full-services activities program. These programs are recreational, social, educational and cultural.
Eva Silverman, who co-chairs the program committee, pointed out that “in addition to Ezra’s nutrition program, Ezra offers a wide variety of activities, free of charge, including senior health issues and evaluations, exercise programs, local political issues, world religions, senior finance and taxes, history, philosophy and bereavement support counseling.
She added, “This variety of activities, including opera appreciation, book club, films, cards and games, serves to meet the social, intellectual, nutritional and health needs of our adult demographic. It is our aim to insure that no senior is isolated in his or her home. We want to make Ezra Center a place where people will feel comfortable and will join with other active senior adults in exercising their minds and bodies.”
The Ezra Adult Activity Center is committed to providing seniors with at least one good, nourishing meal containing sufficient protein levels each day. The lunch program is the key element in providing the socialization, which studies have shown is necessary to senior health and well being. Grants from organizations such as Jewish Federation & Family Services, the Jewish Community Foundation and Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund have allowed Ezra to offer our lunches at a much-reduced price and to those in need, at no cost.
The Ezra Center is open to all adults wishing to join. Most are retirees over 55 years of age. About 20 percent no longer drive and get to the center with Ezra-arranged transportation. Most live in North Orange County (Anaheim, Garden Grove, Fullerton, Orange, Placentia, Brea and Buena Park), although there are members coming from Seal Beach, Westminster, Fountain Valley and Long Beach. Anyone able to come to Ezra’s daytime (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) activities and noon lunch program is welcome.
Ezra Center programs can be duplicated anywhere as a community need exists. Ezra leadership will be pleased to assist anyone desiring to satisfy a community’s need for organized adult activities.
For more information, call Margalit Moskowitz at (714) 776-1103 or visit www.ezracenter.org.
New Program and Director at TVT
Tarbut V’Torah (TVT) has announced that Jeremy Shine has been named the dean of the school’s Advanced Institute of Jewish Studies. For students wishing to immerse themselves in the fullness of Jewish thought, the upper-division program will capitalize on the dynamic history of Jewish philosophy, law and practice. Students who complete the program, which will begin in the 2014-2015 academic year, will get a special certificate with their diploma.
Shine, who currently serves as a Jewish Studies teacher and student adviser at the Milken Community High School in Los Angeles, is working on his Master of Arts in Teaching program at American Jewish University and iCenter Masters Concentration in Israel Education Program Fellowship concurrently. A graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem with a dual major in international relations and Russian and Slavonic Studies, he is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
For details, visit www.tarbut.com.