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Live a full and vibrant life with fun and stimulating activities each day. Enjoy delicious meals, and relish in the camaraderie that makes Los Angeles Jewish Health special. There is always something to do at Los Angeles Jewish Health, whether you want to take a class and learn something new, join a book club or engage in games and other social events.


Events Spotlight

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At Los Angeles Jewish Health Love Knows No Bounds

When 94-year-old Jack Schlaifer agreed to officiate at the wedding of his grandniece, Alison, and her fiancé, Daniel, he was building on a family tradition: months earlier, he had performed the marriage ceremony for Alison’s father (his nephew Charles) in the backyard of his Westlake Village home. Jack was honored when Alison asked him to do the honors for her wedding as well. They laid out plans for a similar ceremony, in the same venue, on New Year’s Day—until life got in the way. “In November, I had a fall, and I fractured my L5 [a region between the lumbar and sacral spine in the lower back],” Jack says. “Suddenly, I was living in a rehabilitation facility, and all bets were off. I called Alison and told her, ‘You can’t count on me for the wedding.’ I was sad about it, but what could I do?” Alison knew exactly what he should do: proceed full steam ahead. "She said, “Uncle Jack, I don’t care where you are; I want you to marry us. We’ll come to wherever you are!’” he recalls. “I was incredibly moved.” All that was left was to coordinate with the staff at Los Angeles Jewish Health. LAJH is a place that Jack, a native Angeleno who had raised his family in the Valley, had long known and loved. “I joined The Guardians (a support group of LAJH) in 1980, and when they formed The Executives, I was a founding member and, later, president,” he said. “I served on The Executives’ board for 30 years.” Jack reached out to Los Angeles Jewish Health staff, and everyone enthusiastically leaned in to ensure all details were arranged. On January 1, 2024, in a cozy family room on the Grancell Village campus, Jack gathered together with Alison, Daniel, and an intimate group of family to give the couple his blessing and pronounce them “man and wife.” “It was an amazing wedding, and it brought me a lot of naches [joy],” Jack says, smiling. “After it was over, the family went for sandwiches to Brent’s Deli, which is Alison and Daniel’s favorite place. It was perfect.” Once the ceremony was complete, it was back to the hard work of rehab. Every day Jack has both physical and occupational therapy, and every day he gets a little bit stronger. While the road to recovery is long, he is grateful to be walking it at Los Angeles Jewish Health. “I’m lucky to be here,” he says. “The care is wonderful, and the people are great.”
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Norma Crafts Photoshoot 3

At Los Angeles Jewish Health, Celebrating the Art (and Craft) of Creative Possibility

Ninety-year-old Los Angeles Jewish Health resident Norma Garber is passionate about her craft. Trained as a dressmaker during her youth in England, Norma has spent a lifetime honing her sewing abilities – skills she deploys with stunning results as one of the most prolific artisans at work in the vibrant Arts and Crafts Room on the Eisenberg Village campus. Norma’s creations take a wide variety of forms. “I’ve made clothing, table runners, placemats, bottle bags for wine or any kind of liquor, challah covers, matzo covers, and more,” she says. “I dedicate about five hours each day to the Arts and Crafts Room, and it is absolutely my happy place.” For Norma, the effort is its own reward. “I do it for love, plain and simple,” she says. “It also allows me to give back to LA Jewish Health because I sell the things I make, and the proceeds get reinvested, so we always have a steady stream of supplies to use.” Radka Falk & Norma Garber All visitors to the campus have access to this wonderful trove of incredible handicrafts, notes Radka Falk, the longtime creative force behind LA Jewish Health’s arts and crafts activities. “Everything we make is available for purchase, and it’s all one-of-a-kind,” she says. Radka emigrated from Bulgaria in 2000 and found her way to employment at Los Angeles Jewish Health six years later. As an expert craftsperson in her native country, the job in the Arts and Crafts Room fits her like a beautifully sewn glove. “I feel blessed to work here and to spend time with our amazing residents; I love them, they love me – and love is always inspirational,” she says. “Doing all this stuff I’m passionate about is such a pleasure. When my daughter came to work with me one day and saw the Arts and Crafts Room, she said, ‘It looks like they created this job just for you!’” Whether it’s sewing, knitting, or designing, “Radka can do anything – you have no idea how talented this woman is!” Norma says. “She’s the number one reason I come to the Arts and Crafts Room every day; she’s what makes it so special.” The feeling, says Radka, is mutual. “Norma gives her heart and soul to this place, and the things that she and the other residents produce are truly extraordinary,” she enthuses. Radka, Norma, and the rest of the Arts and Crafts Room crew often take their show on the road, setting up displays at Los Angeles Jewish Health support group luncheons and other events to advertise their offerings. “Our items sell beautifully,” Norma says. “The most popular items are probably the things we make for babies.” But interested shoppers need not wait for a special event to peruse the Arts and Crafts Room wares. “Especially as people start to think about buying holiday gifts, they should know they can come see us anytime,” Radka says. “I’m here Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4 pm, and I’m always available to show people around!” Norma Garber
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Mariliyn

Los Angeles Jewish Health Empowers Extraordinary Recovery

Life is a joy for Marilyn Poliskin. The 88-year-old Los Angeles Jewish Health resident delights in diverse activities (jewelry making, painting, playing bingo, exercise), advocating for her peers (she serves as Fifth Floor Ambassador for the Joyce Eisenberg-Keefer building), and spending quality time with friends. But Marilyn didn’t always see things through such rose-colored glasses; just 18 months ago, she was fighting for her very survival. When asked about the dramatic turnaround, she credits the “incredible people and environment” she found at Los Angeles Jewish Health. Born and raised in Patterson, New Jersey, Marilyn moved west with her husband and three children in the early 1970s. After the kids graduated from Beverly Hills High School, she and her husband separated, and she put down roots on her own in Santa Monica. It was then that she began a fulfilling, multi-decade career as an accounting supervisor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a “dream job” that allowed her to be part of an organization that was making a tangible difference in sick children’s lives. Unexpectedly, one of Marilyn’s own (now adult) children, her daughter Amy, fell ill herself, with breast cancer. In order to be as present as possible for Amy – a single mother to a young son, Elias – Marilyn retired from Make-A-Wish after 23 years and focused on trying to help Amy heal. Tragically, the cancer ultimately took Amy’s life, and Marilyn became a full-time caregiver to eight-year-old Elias. “I lost my daughter, my mother, and my husband (we separated but never divorced) in the same year, and suddenly I was raising my grandson all alone,” she says. “It was obviously a difficult time, but I was determined to be there for Elias and to give him everything he needed.” It was after Elias had grown up and left the house that Marilyn developed a serious health issue. It took months to diagnose the problem (pneumonia, and a cascading series of complications that resulted from it), during which her son, Scott, who lives and runs a business in Indiana, took up temporary residence with her for eight months and tirelessly advocated for her as she underwent countless tests across multiple medical facilities. In the interim, Marilyn lost 86 pounds, and her blood pressure began to dip dangerously low. “My blood pressure kept going down, and I would pass out,” she says. “It got so bad I couldn’t even stand up, and eventually I was bedridden.” As time passed, Marilyn sunk into a devastating depression. “Honestly, it began to feel like I couldn’t go on,” she recalls. “What was the point if I wasn’t ever able to get out of bed and walk again?” But Scott refused to let her give up, and through his determination they secured an open spot at Los Angeles Jewish Health. When she arrived, a switch inside her flipped. “My son and the therapy department at LAJH saved my life, no question,” she says. “I didn’t think I was capable of recovering, but Scott got me here, and the therapists, certified nurse assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and everyone else encouraged me in the most remarkable way and encouraged me to push myself. I kept thinking of Elias, and how he had already suffered so much loss, and how much I wanted to continue to be a presence for him. So, I took a deep breath, and decided to try.” A year and a half later, the results are nothing short of astonishing. Marilyn is up and about every day, chatting with friends (“There isn’t any floor here where people don’t know me,” she laughs), decorating her room, and investing her energy in making life brighter for those around her. “My main wish now is to be healthy for other people,” she says. “I don’t like to see them depressed because I was there, and it makes me so happy when I can make someone else happy.” Marilyn also attributes her recovery to the love and assistance of family: Scott, her other son, Tuvia, and her grandchildren (Sara, Erez, Isaiah, Elias, and his wife, Lily, whom she considers a fifth grandchild), who motivated her to find the will to keep on going. “I’m so proud of all of my grandchildren, who have been successful at such a young age,” she says. “They inspire me every day.” She says having the privilege of waking up at Los Angeles Jewish Health is another big motivator. “Living here is the most positive turn of my entire life,” she enthuses. “When I look out my window, I can see the sunrise, the moon, and the stars, and it’s all so beautiful.”
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