WHAT A WORLD-WIND BIRTHDAY WEEK

Whew! Today I am a bit tired but VERY happy…It all started a week ago when Herby and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary by going up North to the Canaan Spa Hotel near Tsvat which I found out later does not allow children…it was so nice, calm with music, healthy food and a wonderful get-away…We are lucky to celebrate both Hebrew and English birthdays so that between my Hebrew one(25th of Sivan), Monday and the June 22nd English one it was a world-wind week of reunions with friends and family, a granddaughter’s dance recital which reminded me of my dance days(I took ballet for 11 years along with some toe and modern dance), went to wonderful classes culminating last night with the Melabev Sunset Walk(thank you to the many sponsors who helped this organization which helps Alzheimer’s victims and their families) at which I along with our wonderful guide who also had the same birthday date got a delicious surprise cake made by the best baker, Herby!

Nearing the end of another decade can be a bit scary…but in reflecting on life, I am so very thankful to still have the energy to continue to be so active in swimming 3 times a week which I love, helping with grandchildren, volunteering, attending wonderful classes, doing a bit of work-geriatric counseling…I do make an effort to take care of myself health-wise, be preventative and positive….

My tip of this time of year is to face life with cheer-Be thankful for what we can still do-only the positive do view!

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

Pensioner’s Pesach(Passover) Preparations…..

Why is this year different from all other years?  Most of our children are going to their in-laws for Seder…it was just one of our kid’s turns to come to us; he had just gotten married last year and went to his wife’s family when everyone else came to us. He did not want to be alone with us “old foggies” so that this year, he is again going to the other side so that next year we will all be together. Meanwhile, this year we are going to our daughter’s in Even Shmuel. In my opinion Seders are for the children and I am so happy to be with our lively 4 grandchildren there! Husband Herby is more than happy to hand over the Seder leading to our wonderful son-in-law who will surely keep it moving right along so that we will end earlier than usual wee hours!

Having a husband who loves his profession has meant that even though the “chometz” bakery is winding down to closing during the holiday, he is excited to try and bake all kinds of exotic Pesach recipes at home. For the first time ever, we are getting our kitchen ready a week earlier than usual so that he will have days to bake and even sell some of his goodies….that means I will be cooking dishes on top letting him have the oven…

Meanwhile, I am enjoying organizing the house and cleaning so thoroughly which happens at this once a year time-throwing/giving away what is not needed; appreciate the help of students for much of the really hard work(windows, ovens, etc)..Even though we are told that Pesach cleaning is not “spring cleaning”…how many of you really do such cleaning at any other time?

Wishing y’all a very Chag Kasher V’samaach(A happy, healthy Pesach to all)….

Chanuka….a time for Memories and Miracles….

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As we approach this “Holiday of Lights” it is a time to bring light into our lives by thinking of all of the miracles that have befallen us…last night I heard a very emotional miracle story of a woman who woke up from a clinical death experience, after being in a coma for several weeks….she spoke of how song, prayer and love surrounding her surely helped this miracle to happen; family, friends and acquaintances from years gone by were constantly at her side encouraging her. These miracles are so worth sharing that I must again share my own especially at this time of year…

I was born at the end of the 6th month weighing just 1 pound and 12 ounces.  My mother had had several miscarriages before me and one after. Later it was found out she she placenta previa which today can be treated. However, more than half…

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Fires, Flames, Funerals, Finality…Future…

What a truly “bitter” month the Hebrew month of “Mar Cheshvan” was….Exactly 2 weeks ago, as I was preparing a Thanksgiving dinner…while fires were flaring in so many parts of our small country…I got a call with such sad news that my daughter who was due to give birth in a few weeks, felt no movement of the baby, flew to the clinic in her area where she was told that unfortunately there was no heart beat and that she would have to have a still birth…Many “angels” directed her toward Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, experts and sensitive in this area; to someone who had started a support group after it happened to her 11 years ago, who dropped everything and came Thursday evening to meet with them and explain what to expect…I dropped everything, cancelled guests and went down to be with their 4 children while they were away for the 4 days. My husband brought down the Thanksgiving food that luckily I had prepared the day before for Shabbat. Their wonderful new community where they had just moved in the summer pitched in with help with children and meals for 2 weeks. I was comfortable being able to come and go to my various obligations as I knew that they had such a strong support system. In fact, I had gone back up to Jerusalem to participate in a panel at AACI on “Optimal Aging”(My topic was “Aging in Place”), leaving early the next morning to go back down South to help some more…

And then…another “blow”….my neighbor, good friend Fern, who had just turned 66 passed away after such a fast decline from a melanoma cancer that had spread so rapidly.  It was such a shock to our whole community as she had been the model of “health”…our exercise teacher, the sport teacher at the local high school, herself on a very healthy diet…Again feeling that I could leave my daughter and family in helpful hands, I flew back to Betel for the funeral and to help at the shiva house…

Having just returned again from my daughter’s home I am today again preparing a Thanksgiving Shabbat meal with my other children here…I feel that we must get together and appreciate each other as often as possible, live every day to the fullest and again to quote my friend, Fern, Z”l(May her memory be a blessing), ” Show gratitude, say thank-you, appreciate what we are given, be positive”…she was a true inspiration in her life and dying days…As I gave a talk on “Aging in Place”…although she was not “aged” I must take my hat off to her family who provided a “home hospice” set up to make her final days more comfortable…

Although we may be sad about past challenges in life, we must look ahead to the future, be thankful, positive and just do whatever we can with and for family and close friends to keep going “up”….

 

 

Connection Between Senior Citizens’ Month in Israel and Our 30th Anniversary of Aliya…..

Exactly 30 years ago on a rainy 9th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvon(11/11/86) we arrived in Israel with 3 children, ages 4, 2, and 10 months After spending almost 2 years in the Mevatzeret Zion Absorption Center, we moved with a 4th child of 5 months to Betel where my husband Herby started his now famous bakery(Herby’s Bake Shop). To gain Israeli experience in the field of Gerontology which I had studied, I volunteered in the Melabev Senior Center(especially for those with Alzheimer’s or other related dementia’s) eventually becoming a counselor there as well as opening a Seniors’ group in Betel.

Now 30 years later with 6 wonderful children, 14 plus grandchildren, we are ourselves “seniors”….Herby works as hard as ever at his job(which he loves). It began as a hobby in Memphis where he was a lawyer. He realized his dream of opening a successful bakery in Israel providing “American” products popular in many of the Anglo communities which now exist in Israel. I as a “pensioner” am enjoying my senior life volunteering, helping with grandchildren, having reunions with good “old” friends and doing a bit of work at the bakery and geriatric counselling which I love.

The idea of making Aliya(moving to Israel)  as well as Aging can be a bit frightening….We are examples of being very thankful to have raised a wonderful family in our land; thankful to have reached an age and stage in life when we can relax a bit, enjoy the “fruits” of our labor, continue to learn and grow by the many cultural and learning opportunities which exist.

It is especially meaningful that we moved to Israel right after the “Chagim”(High Holidays) in order to spend them with family. We arrived just before a Shabbat when the Torah portion of “Lech Lecha” was read just as it is now…We are grateful to have followed in the footsteps of the first “Oleh”, our father Abraham whose challenge of leaving his land, family and birthplace is felt by us “olim”…The “end” surely justifies the means of the “challenges” involved in both the physical aspects of Aging or Aliya as well as the spiritual well being which is felt by being in our land as well as “growing older and wiser”….

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

In Honor of Senior Citizens’ Month in Israel-It’s Great to be a Senior, However……

We are now in the midst of Senior Citizens’ Month in Israel when there are special programs, discounts, activities, etc…How wonderful it can be to be a “senior”…from age 60, I was able to travel for half price, get wonderful discounts in museums which I now have more time to go to as well as other wonderful cultural events, classes of all kinds, etc…The ability to just pick up and go to my various children to help with grandchildren from various parts of Israel gives me such satisfaction in following in my own wonderful mother’s footsteps…There is more time to do some geriatric counselling which I love as well as helping out a bit at my husband’s Herby’s Bake Shop….

However, there is a very big “down” side which I am feeling these days….not only have I begun to feel some “senioritis” with various aches and pains but have also been going through major emotional “downs” of being with some very sick friends and family…the “loses” of aging have begun to hit hard….

To quote my friend, Fern who so desperately needs our prayers now(Tsipora Faiga bat Leeba Bracha), we must always be looking at the positive and be thankful for what we have…so I try to smile, be thankful for my wonderful friends, family and community, for the ability to get up and go, to help, to hope that cures will be found, that there will be true inner and outer peace for all….

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

A First-Spending a Holiday at our Grand/Children….

A new age and stage…when children prefer to spend the holiday in their own home and community…to me, one of the main customs of the holiday of Simchat Torah is dancing with grandchildren, grand/fathers carrying the small “tots” who are waving flags as they ride their fathers/grandfathers’ shoulders.  Since this holiday there would be no grandchildren in our community to do this, I said that we must go where the grandchildren are…we therefore headed “down South” to the new community of Even Shmuel where we spent a very lively holiday…

Even Shmuel happens to be an older settlement of mostly “Tsfardic” Jews which just a few years ago was “flooded” with an influx of new immigrants, mostly Ashkenaz from the West….there is now a new very “Anglo” neighborhood of young families.  As I sat with the “savtas” some who live there and some like me who came to visit for the holiday, I felt such “deja vu”….going back 28 years when we had moved to Betel as a young family of 4 children as my daughter has now with a “savta” visiting for holidays….

What a wonderful feeling watching both communities dance with their various kinds of Torahs together in the outside sun; what fun for the children who were counting their candies which had been thrown at the various “chatanim” who had been honored…

I couldn’t help think of “As the World Turns”….Customs that get handed down from generation to generation…and am very thankful that in our generation we were able to continue such traditions in the Holy land of Israel…which is truly “home” wherever we are celebrating such “simcha” together…

Everything is for the Best(“Hakol L’Tova”)!

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About a week ago, I, along with 2 granddaughters, were very excited about a tiyul(trip) that was supposed to have taken place-a tour of Yafo with area grandparents and grandchildren…I had been on a similar such one last summer to the Old City(of Jerusalem) with the same wonderful tour guide who, together with an actor, made history come alive in such a delightful way for all of us…the same was supposed to have happened in Yafo…I had made such an effort to get all of us together from 3 different locations, to meet from Betel and Beit Shemesh in Even Shmuel down South the night before; we would take a train(part of the “yom kef”-day of fun) and then a bus to meet at the “old clock” in Yafo)…and then 2 days before, I got the notice that not enough folks had signed up and it was cancelled….

We continued…

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Everything is for the Best(“Hakol L’Tova”)!

About a week ago, I, along with 2 granddaughters, were very excited about a tiyul(trip) that was supposed to have taken place-a tour of Yafo with area grandparents and grandchildren…I had been on a similar such one last summer to the Old City(of Jerusalem) with the same wonderful tour guide who, together with an actor, made history come alive in such a delightful way for all of us…the same was supposed to have happened in Yafo…I had made such an effort to get all of us together from 3 different locations, to meet from Betel and Beit Shemesh in Even Shmuel down South the night before; we would take a train(part of the “yom kef”-day of fun) and then a bus to meet at the “old clock” in Yafo)…and then 2 days before, I got the notice that not enough folks had signed up and it was cancelled….

We continued with the plan of my Beit Shemesh daughter and family coming to visit the new home of my daughter and family in Even Shmuel; the 2 girls, ages 7 and 9 from Beit Shemesh slept over so that all of us could do something else fun the next day…and fun it truly was…we ended up taking the train from Kiryat Gat to Beersheva and then a bus to the new Lunada Children’s Museum which was simply amazing, wonderful, highly recommended-various and sundry activities ranging from topics of “tools of everyday life” to emotions, budgeting, space, art and music, language and culture, the world of emotions, etc, etc….all done through games, computers, movies, etc…  An extra treat was that it just happened to be on a Tuesday which is a free day for grandparents(with an “Ezrach Vatik” card) at many museums all over Israel…not only was it free for me but also my daughter and the girls all got in for a cheaper price!

So, the Tip for Today:  Don’t despair if things don’t go your way, something else will come up to make it a better day!

 

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com