Jewish Senior Life in Oak Park.

Small group seders will be held in some Jewish Senior Life communities, conducted by local musician Avi Schreiber, as well as staff and volunteers.

During Passover last year, residents of Jewish Senior Life (JSL) were restricted to their individual apartments to help prevent the spread of COVID.

Group dining and other activities, as well as visits from family members, were eliminated. As a result, a few residents chose to leave JSL and move in with family members. These strict precautions were mandated by the state because the age and medical status of many JSL residents made them especially vulnerable to COVID.

The situation has improved greatly as Passover approaches. Eighty-two percent of JSL’s 650 residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID. According to Nancy Heinrich, JSL CEO, health statistics are carefully monitored. She says there hasn’t been a resident COVID case at JSL in some time. As a result, small groups of residents are able to eat together and enjoy activities while wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance.

Avi Schreiber will lead small group seders at JSL this Passover.
Avi Schreiber will lead small group seders at JSL this Passover.

Visitors are permitted at its four JSL independent living communities – Prentis and Teitel Apartments in Oak Park and Hechtman and Meer Apartments in West Bloomfield. At its assisted living communities (Fleischman and Coville), visits are permitted for those who test negative for COVID.

Transportation services are being restored. Residents can leave JSL for outside visits and, in most cases, not be required to be tested for COVID upon return. As a result, Passover should be much less solitary this year. Residents have been reminded that they should take recommended CDC precautions, such as limiting seders to no more than 15 people from no more than three households.

“We are restarting slowly because there is still a risk for transmission. We are anxious to get residents engaged and active,” Heinrich said.

Passover meals will be delivered to each resident, along with a seder plate for the first two nights of the holiday. In addition, gift bags with Pesach candy and ingredients to make charoset will be distributed.

Small group seders will be held in some JSL communities, conducted by local musician Avi Schreiber, as well as staff and volunteers. A special socially distanced model seder will be held for residents of the Memory Care Pavilion. In addition, where available, a livestreamed seder will be broadcast in-house and an audio version will be available by phone.

Most important this Passover, many JSL residents will be able to see their children and grandchildren, even if masks are still required and elbow bumps substitute for hugs.

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