Daughter follows mom in service to Greenwood

Daughter follows mom in service to Greenwood

Rachel Lesser and Becky Levy — mother passed her commitment to Greenwood House to her daughter.
Rachel Lesser and Becky Levy — mother passed her commitment to Greenwood House to her daughter.

When Rachel Levy Lesser was a little girl, her mother, Becky Levy, a longtime dedicated member and past president of Women for Greenwood House, often invited elderly residents of the seniors’ home over for lunch. “When she grew up in Trenton, her parents were supporters,” Lesser told NJJN, “and she passed the tradition down to us.”

And now Lesser is following in her late mother’s footsteps. She cochaired the 2011 Becky Deitz Levy Luncheon on May 12 at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville. Over 200 people attended the event sponsored by Women for Greenwood House. What began many years ago as a “card party” put together by Becky Levy, who passed away in 2004, has turned into the organization’s biggest fund-raiser and a luncheon and afternoon of conversation, shopping at vendors, and, of course, cards.

According to Lesser, who serves on the Greenwood House board, over $15,000 was raised this year. “These funds support equipment purchases such as wheelchairs,” she said. “It also goes toward paying for speakers and special programs.”

Money is also needed, said Greenwood House president Sheryl Punia, for “a little nip, a little tuck, a professional makeover,” referring to the current campaign to raise funds for an interior refurbishment of the Greenwood campus’s Robert and Natalie Marcus Home for the Jewish Aged.

Greenwood House was founded in Trenton in 1939 as “Home for the Aged, Sons and Daughters of Israel.” In 1974, it moved to Ewing Township and was renamed Greenwood House. Besides the Marcus Home, a 142-bed, skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, the campus also houses the Abrams Residence, an assisted-living facility, and the Renee Denmark Punia Community Hospice.

Women for Greenwood House has over 600 members who support the home as volunteers and through fund-raising. They operate the Greentree Gift Shop and participate in resident activities, including classes in cooking and flower arranging.

Founded in 1972 by the late Natalie Marcus, Women for Greenwood House was instrumental in raising the money that enabled Greenwood House to move to its present location.

Lesser said one of her goals is to get younger women involved in Women for Greenwood House and added that she is pleased to see the numbers are steadily increasing.

Lesser, who lives in Newtown, Pa., is not the only member of her family to serve the Greenwood House community. Her father, Jim Levy, of Yardley, Pa., is a lifetime board member and her brother, John, a Princeton Junction resident, sits on the board of the Greenwood House Foundation. Even her five-year-old daughter Rebecca is a member of Women for Greenwood House. “The tradition is to sign your daughter up on the day she is born,” explained Lesser. “My mother signed me up and I did the same with Rebecca. It’s good to know that our family’s commitment to Greenwood House is passed on to the next generation.”

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