From the Rabbi's Desk November 2017

Rabbi Carla Freedman

Part of my regular responsibilities includes visiting congregants in hospital or in various facilities around the community. The hospitals are always very busy places, and one quickly gets the sense that people are being treated and sent on their way, so that there is room for the next batch of patients.

The other places I visit usually provide services to two different populations: those being rehabili-tated after an injury or after surgery, and those who are long-term residents in need of skilled nursing care. The latter population can be very discouraging. And it is hard not to imagine myself in such a place, waiting for attention from a staff too busy to be able to provide it in a timely manner.

So when I visit Amy Mogil at Palm Garden every week, I am always amazed by her cheerful attitude. Though she is dependent on that staff for so much, and they are indeed busy with lots of other residents all the time, Amy is always grateful for their help, and she says so.

Most of the people around Amy are decades older than she is, and many are not mentally present. There is a small cadre of people in Amy’s age bracket (under 60) who are also long-term residents and to some extent they do chum around together. But in fact, all they have in common is their age and present location. In her working life, Amy was an air traffic controller, mostly in southern Florida. Her accomplishments and interests make her very different from the other residents.

And of course, she is Jewish. Amy first contacted the temple because she was being proselytised by visiting Christian clergy, though she had made herself very clear in declining their attentions. Since we have been visiting her on a regular basis, all that has stopped.

We now have people visiting Amy six days a week, and she has another visitor on the remaining day. When the facility was on "lockdown" recently because of an aggressive version of the common cold making its way through the residents and staff there, it was like the old days for Amy, when she saw no one. We know that our visits bring her great joy, something and someone to look forward to, and a disruption of the daily routine. She appreciates the food we bring (especially Barbara Grossman’s chicken soup and other Jewish delicacies), the aviation magazines and technical know -how of Dan Barwick, the kaleidoscopes that Janet Corin collects, the attention from Linda Mumford and her dog, Fauna, and the many things that Barbara Nova does to make life more comfortable for Amy.

Amy does not get out of Palm Garden very often; sometimes there are trips to a restaurant in Sun City Center, or to Walmart. Therefore it is a highlight of the month, for Amy to join us for a Shabbat morning service, Kiddush lunch, and Torah study. We always make sure she goes home with a "doggy bag" of goodies from the lunch, so that the break in routine can extend beyond just that morning.

But getting to a Jewish service once a month is a real priority for Amy. The critical factor is transportation, because Amy uses an electric wheel chair which is too heavy for many vehicles that otherwise move folks around the area. For various reasons, she cannot attend Friday evening services, so we get her to temple on the last Shabbat morning of the month. The round trip costs $78.00 each time.

So once again I ask you to make a donation to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund to help us transport Amy to and from Temple. Please mark your cheque "For Amy’s Transport", and I will make sure it is used accordingly.

And come to the Shabbat morning service at the end of the month, any month, and meet the person in whose life your generosity makes a huge difference. Todah Rabbah