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 

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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

MORE OF LIFE’S UPS AND DOWNS….

Moving is a one of life’s biggest  challenges. About 2 weeks ago, I spent the week helping my daughter and family pack and prepare for the big move from the “big settlement” of Betel to a much smaller one down south. Right in the middle of that week I got a phone call which shook me up to the core…A good friend also from the “South” of this country  called to give me some hard news to hear…another mutual friend with whom we were all in youth group together from our teen days, an active person in varied organizations was quite suddenly discovered to have the “C” disease in a place for which she was about to have hours of surgery, reconstruction, have to undergo extensive therapies, etc…The modern age of “whatsapp” was enabling us friends to not only have a support group for her, be able to be informed of how she was doing but also to say Tehillim(psalms) together…

While packing, saying Tehillim, constantly looking and writing on the whatsapp…the end of that week brought more shocking, hard to hear news of two terrible terrorists attacks: the teen stabbed in her bed while sleeping and the very next day, the father of 10 killed…

Continuing to say Tehillim, dedicating shiurim in memory of and for Refuah Shlaima(a quick recovery of) …makes us feel like we are doing something to help….our friend writes that she gets strength from all of us whom she feels is surrounding her; not only do the families of those killed get strength from those coming to the shiva(mourning house) but they also give strength to those coming…we get strength from our friend….

Last week I went down South to visit my daughter and family in their beautiful new home; relieved to see the children happily playing with new friends which they had made instantly; I felt the sincere “Southern Hospitality” of the folks there welcoming a new family…A new start…hope…we must appreciate and dwell on the positives in life….

Tip for the Day:  When life looks down, look around…search for the good…it will put you in a better mood, then keep on going “up”(progress) as you should!

 

 

 

Life-changing Events Can Cause a Change in Us….

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Life goes on in a routine way and then suddenly, a big SHOCK….like losing a very close cousin who most of her almost 65 years was “full of life”…very active, in fact, the day before, playing and playing with her visiting Israeli grandchildren, running here and there, being the one to help and advise not only her 3 married children and grandchildren but also her husband who so recently was diagnosed with the dreaded “C”…one early morning, “here” still in bed saying good-by to her husband going out to early morning prayers, only a while later not being able to be awakened…As those of us far away got together to “mourn” and listen to a meaningful lesson in her memory, we realized that for her, it was a fast “good” death…for those left behind a terrible shock which is hard to come out of….

This causes viewing life through different “spectacles”…appreciating…

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Life-changing Events Can Cause a Change in Us….

Life goes on in a routine way and then suddenly, a big SHOCK….like losing a very close cousin who most of her almost 65 years was “full of life”…very active, in fact, the day before, playing and playing with her visiting Israeli grandchildren, running here and there, being the one to help and advise not only her 3 married children and grandchildren but also her husband who so recently was diagnosed with the dreaded “C”…one early morning, “here” still in bed saying good-by to her husband going out to early morning prayers, only a while later not being able to be awakened…As those of us far away got together to “mourn” and listen to a meaningful lesson in her memory, we realized that for her, it was a fast “good” death…for those left behind a terrible shock which is hard to come out of….

This causes viewing life through different “spectacles”…appreciating being with children/grandchildren even more; trying to get together not only with family but close friends whom we seem never to have time to see…Taking a better care of ourselves…it is a “coincidence” that while all of this has been happening, I who cannot swallow pills have been referred to a homeopath with a more “holistic” view in care…there “happened” to be a health seminar being offered which I have been participating in-it has given me a whole understanding on eating and living healthier!

Finally we can look at the positive characteristics of those who have “left” for a better place for them and try to incorporate these into ourselves….I am now trying to laugh, help, go with the flow, look at the positive, keep in touch with family and friends more…

As the Yiddish expression so aptly states, “man plans and G-d laughs”….we don’t know what’s in store, so I guess the best is to try to do is “more”…..

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy Summer with much laughter,many reunions and meaningful life events…

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 

Passover, A Time for Memories…..

This year I simply loved the Pesach(Passover) preparations with getting the house sparkling clean, not only getting rid of clutter but also finding many valuable items which we had forgotten existed as well as invaluable memory items-one of these was some “old fashioned” tapes; As I went walking this morning to rid myself of the many calories gained from this holiday, I listened on my also old fashioned walk man which I am thankful I had not thrown away. I picked the tape of an interview of me from 17 years ago by Liora Silverstein on the Arutz 7 “Aishet Chayil” show in honor of Senior Citizens Month in Israel.  I along with my colleague Bernie Shwartz spoke about Aging, Dementia, what happens to our memory and the many positive activities that can help retain our strengths….

Going out to clubs such as the Melabev Memory Club(being social as opposed to isolation which leads to depression), exercise(physical as well as mental) are examples of what can help maintain our minds as well as our bodies.  During this holiday vacation season is a good time to play those memory games with grandchildren(banana-grams, scrabble, lotto, those cards that have questions and answers on the back about the holiday, etc)

Tip of the Day:  Don’t despair if your memory seems lost; Just remember that you are the boss! You can reach back to days gone by, sharing memories with grandchildren will give you all a “high”!

Happy Holiday to y’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