Residents at Home create book fund for synagogue youth

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Rabbi Barry Ring, religious director at the Home for Jewish Parents, sent each of the two synagogues a check and a letter on behalf of the home's residents, explaining the gift.

"One of the things that makes my life special today is that I have five grandchildren. When it comes to the little ones, anything that helps [their] education is tops," said Rebecca Ferber, 82, who lives at the home.

Both Temple Beth Abraham and Temple Isaiah welcomed the opportunity to expand their children's libraries. These temples were chosen because both regularly send groups of youngsters to visit the home, staffers said.

Temple Beth Abraham was able to buy an array of titles including "Mrs. Katz and Tush," "Picture Book of Anne Frank," "Grandma's Soup" and "Partners." Most of these volumes feature characters who are grandparents.

The synagogues purchased Jewish- as well as non-Jewish-themed books.

"Temple Isaiah sent us a glowing thank-you letter and expressed their great appreciation," said Beth Mostovoy, activity director at the Home for Jewish Parents.

Temple Beth Abraham staffers organized a special thank-you trip to the home.

"I wanted to make [the gift] more concrete for both the kids and the residents," said Adina Hamik of Temple Beth Abraham's education department.

In April a group of second-graders from Temple Beth Abraham's Hebrew school arrived at the home with their new books. The books proved a perfect icebreaker.

"The children bought these books and they were radiant having us sign the books," said Cecile Aronson, 82, a resident at the home. "It was a joy to have them here."

Having the students visit also offered the seniors a chance, Mostovoy added, "to recognize that the Jewish community is made up of all ages."

The kids and seniors held a party, and together listened to passages read aloud from some of the books.

Not only did the exchange let residents of the home see their tzedakah in action, but it also allowed the children to meet the people who bought them the books.

"Our kids came back [to Beth Abraham] and said, `This is the best trip we ever had,'" said Hamik.