Yom Kippur Service
Last year’s in-person dementia-friendly Yom Kippur Service led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer. (Courtesy of JVS)

Additionally, families that sign up for the program by Sept. 14 will get a free special gift bag for the holidays.

Seniors living with dementia in Metro Detroit can still celebrate Yom Kippur this year with a 45-minute service on Zoom especially designed for them. The service will be held on Sunday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.

In addition, families that sign up for the program by Sept. 14 will get a free special gift bag for the holidays that includes an apple and honey, honey cake, round challah, grape juice and prayer book, and which will be delivered to their homes by volunteers.

For the past three years, the Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program in Southfield and West Bloomfield has run an award-winning special dementia-friendly Kol Nidre/Yom Kippur Service. Staff recognized the challenges that a regular synagogue service presented to families whose loved ones have dementia – too long and too crowded. This year, although many Reform and Conservative synagogues are offering Zoom services during the pandemic, they are still not targeted to those living with dementia.

Last Year's Yom Kippur Service led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer
Last year’s in-person dementia-friendly Yom Kippur Service led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer. JVS

“The need for connection is greater than ever for families caring for their loved ones. We knew that a regular synagogue service on Zoom would likely be too long and not engage our community in the same way that we could: with a shorter and special service full of familiar melodies and briefer periods of talking,” explained Debra Yamstein, a spokesperson for the Brown Program, which is run by JVS Human Services and Jewish Senior Life.

She added that through her work with people living with dementia she knows that music, prayer, and liturgy are experiences that the dementia brain responds to beyond the time other interests and activities have been lost.

To register for the program, being led by Cantor Pamela Schiffer, go to https://bit.ly/BCservice2020 or call (248) 592-5031. Registration is preferred by Sept. 14, 2020 so that attendees can receive the holiday gift bags which are being sponsored by a friend of the Brown Program.

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