Since 1972, Temple Emanuel has provided special programming through the Friendship Circle for its senior members and others in the community who are at least fifty-five years young.
Today, there is a menu of choices for seniors. On the first and third Thursdays of each month, participants can join their friends, old and new, for a variety of activities. Beginning at 11:00 AM, there are Early Bird Specials from which to choose: 1) One-on-one visit with the congregational nurse, Gilda Friedman, 2) Sing-a-Long with Barry Strulson, 3) Chairercise, 4) Special Friends Time with the children enrolled at the Early Childhood Enrichment Center and 5) starting this Fall, walkercise with water (inside or out). At 11:30 AM, check-in begins with appetizers and fresh fruit to enjoy. At Noon, programming begins with a D’var Torah by Rabbi Guttman or Rabbi Koren as they help seniors preserve Jewish culture, traditions, values, beliefs and their relationship to current events. At 12:15 PM, lunch is served with a salad bar, home-cooked entrees and sides. Assorted desserts are available to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Following lunch, members enjoy an entertaining or informative program. An Extended Day Program of games is available for those who wish to stay until 3:00 PM. On the second, fourth and fifth Thursday of each month, there is a “Seniors-on-the-Go” program. Seniors can join each other at a different restaurant each time to enjoy a dutch-treat meal and the company of others.
On the third Friday of each month, members may choose to have a Shabbat dinner at the K & W Cafeteria at 5:00 PM and then proceed to the synagogue of their choice for Shabbat Service. Thanks to anonymous donors, there is no fee for those members who use the Jewish Family Services van for transportation that evening.
This past year, a new program has been added. With a very generous grant from the BJH Foundation for Senior Services, the Friendship Circle has been able to form its own Mitzvah Corps. This new endeavor is reaching out to serve those seniors who are living in senior living residences that provide assisted, nursing or memory care help with “A Taste of Judaism” through holiday foods or favors. In addition to this mitzvah, Rabbi Guttman has asked Friendship Circle’s Mitzvah Corps to help enhance the lives of the Jewish senior Russians living in Greensboro.
The Friendship Circle is very grateful to the BJH Foundation for Senior Services, the William A. Stern Foundation, the Strasser family and many others who make donations throughout the year that enable the Friendship Circle to continue to expand the menu of opportunities for the well-deserving seniors in our community.
For more detailed information or to be put on the mailing list for the quarterly newsletter, please contact Leah Strulson, Director of Friendship Circle, at 336-288-3050, or email [email protected].