2017-01-18 / Voice at the Shore

For many families, Christmas at SGLC is mitzvah—and a tradition

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore editor


Volunteer Jerry Gordon (standing) with residents Freda Somers and John Goodwin. Gordon gave a talk on his new book, “From its Beginnings: The Jewish Community of the Atlantic City Area.” Volunteer Jerry Gordon (standing) with residents Freda Somers and John Goodwin. Gordon gave a talk on his new book, “From its Beginnings: The Jewish Community of the Atlantic City Area.” Residents of Seashore Gardens Living Center in Galloway enjoyed a festive Christmas day—with bingo, manicures, entertainment and a delicious dinner—thanks to the help of a crew of 70 volunteers, including many Jewish community members who help out every year. Also thanks to these volunteers, fifteen SGLC staff members were able to spend the day at home with their families, said Janice Cambron, SGLC’s executive director, who spent Christmas day at the facility.

Judy Landau, a member of Beth El Synagogue, has volunteered on Christmas at SGLC along with her husband for the past 20 years. A trained nurse, she works with residents who need assistance with feeding. Her husband, Jim, works in the kitchen.


Resident Isabelle Hernandez got a Christmas manicure from Lulu Waxman, who volunteered at SGLC along with her siblings, parents and grandparents. Resident Isabelle Hernandez got a Christmas manicure from Lulu Waxman, who volunteered at SGLC along with her siblings, parents and grandparents. “The reason we go is that it’s a mitzvah. Some aide is now home with their family because they counted on me to feed people. That’s why I go,” said Landau, who also feels she is “paying forward” to the day that she might need assistance from a caring volunteer.

Landau is one of many members of Beth El Synagogue who have made a tradition of volunteering on Christmas at SGLC. That tradition was started by the late Lowell Gluck, who was then president of Beth El Synagogue as well as active at Seashore Gardens. Beth El clergy members also make a point of stopping by to visit residents on Christmas. “Rabbi [Aaron] Krauss always comes on Christmas. The cantor [Ralph Goren] was there too with his dog,” said Landau.

Other Jewish community members now volunteer for the festivities as well, some making it into a family mitzvah day. The Waxman family came out in force, with three generations. Vicki Waxman and her daughters, Lulu and Tatiana, gave residents manicures, while their brother Elliot, dad Adam, and grandparents Barbara and Marvin helped run Bingo.

“It was very special,” said Barbara Waxman. “It’s our blessing that we could be here with them today.”

Another volunteer, author Jerry Gordon, gave a talk on his new book, “From its Beginnings: The Jewish Community of the Atlantic City Area.” Afterwards, he spent time chatting with 100-year-old resident Freda Somers, who happened to go to school with Gordon’s mother.

The festive atmosphere created by the many volunteers made it a fun day for everyone at SGLC. “I have staff who want to work today because they love to see the volunteers,” said Cambron. s

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