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Two JFVS programs for seniors find a new home
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Two JFVS programs for seniors find a new home

Carol and Ken Bernstein of East Brunswick take a spin around the dance floor as “Leonardo” plays the electric keyboard during the celebration of two senior programs of the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County relocating
Carol and Ken Bernstein of East Brunswick take a spin around the dance floor as “Leonardo” plays the electric keyboard during the celebration of two senior programs of the Jewish Family & Vocational Service of Middlesex County relocating

Two programs run by Jewish Family and Vocational Service of Middlesex County to help seniors have found a new home at Highland Park Conservative Temple, making them more accessible and wide-ranging.

The Elderday program, which had been located at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, provides a safe, supervised environment for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or a cognitive disorder while providing a respite for caregivers.

The CAMEO program — which offers socialization and activities for those 60 and older — had been located for many years at the YM-YWHA of Raritan Valley in Highland Park and moved to Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick when the Y closed several years ago.

On Nov. 17, JFVS held a grand reopening with music and a talk by Gary Cornick, an elder law attorney in New Brunswick and Somerville. The crowd of more than 50 included leaders of JFVS and the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County.

JFVS executive director Sara Levine said the move by both programs, which offer breakfast and lunch, allowed the agency to reach out to more seniors and expand activities. The Elderday program, in particular, was sometimes difficult to reach.

“There is now a level of synergy,” Levine said. “We wanted to have a center in a centralized part of the county where we could offer more programming. We needed to keep it central enough for our seniors in the northern part of the county, who, unlike many of those in the south, do not live in adult communities, where there are activities for them.”

The new location has already proved beneficial, said Levine as she scanned the room. “I’ve seen faces here today that I’ve never seen before.”

The day’s festivities were sponsored by the Lynn and Barry Sherman family of Highland Park in memory of Lynn’s recently deceased father, Karl Rebarber of Highland Park.

“Both these programs are all about the Jewish community caring for its seniors,” said JFVS president Gary Steinbach. “This is what we’re supposed to be doing as a society.”

Federation executive director Gerrie Bamira congratulated JFVS leaders and the seniors for the programs’ success. She emphasized the strength of the partnership between the federation and JFVS “ensuring that critical community needs are met with passion and purpose.”

One of the seniors enjoying her chicken lunch at the celebration was Marianne Erdfarb of Highland Park, who said she had missed having a local place to go to since the Y closed.

“This place is close to home, and the staff is wonderful,” she said. “We seniors need a place like this.”

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