Jewish Retirement Residence

The decision to move into an assisted-living residence is never made lightly. It helps when the choices include these Jewish retirement residences in the Bay Area. These facilities make sure everyone feels right at home and has the opportunity to stay connected to Judaism and the community.

Rhoda Goldman Plaza in San Francisco has been earning top marks for excellence for years. The facility has been around for more than a decade, providing levels of assisted care from help with bathing and dressing to transportation services. Tasty kosher meals are served every day, and residents are offered many activity choices. “We have lectures and art and theater classes and movies,” says executive director Susan Koster. “And we have a high level in terms of quality of food, using organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible.”

At the Esther and Jacques Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living in Danville, a full-time rabbi, a synagogue, college courses and an art studio are just a few of the activities and services available to residents. The community offers levels of care and includes a nursing facility, a memory care unit and assisted-living apartments. Executive director Dr. Janice Corran says residents like “the joy of living in a Jewish environment and also continuing to thrive and learn new things all the time.”

The Peninsula/South Bay winner, Moldaw Family Residences, prides itself on being vibrant and unique. And who are we to argue? It offers a fitness center, performing arts forum and fine dining for all tenants. The Palo Alto residence, which opened in 2009, offers flexible services and a number of support programs. Religious programming, a summer camp at the adjacent Oshman Family JCC and events that keep seniors active with their family and community are all part of the Moldaw experience.

L’Chaim House in San Rafael won in the North Bay, where it is known for its highly personalized care giving. “We have as many as three hands-on caregivers on duty during waking hours to attend to six residents,” says co-owner Manny Kopstein. He and his wife, Cary, have run the facility for six years, making sure residents’ every need is met 24/7. “We offer virtually all of the services for assisted living, with a kosher kitchen and Jewish-oriented programming,” Kopstein says. “A very high percentage of families who place their parents with us are medical families — doctors, nurses, people in the medical profession,” he says. “They know their parents will get a very high level of care.” Massages, piano and guitar lessons and memory games are just a few of the activities offered. A rabbi and nurse are on staff.

San Francisco

Rhoda Goldman Plaza

(415) 345-5060

East Bay

Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living


(925) 648-2800

Peninsula/South Bay

Moldaw Family Residences

Palo Alto

(650) 433-3629

North Bay

L’Chaim House

San Rafael

(415) 492-8390


Nonsectarian Retirement  Residence

Seniors looking for a sense of community, culture and fun in one location need look no further than this year’s winning residences.

San Francisco Towers wants to liberate its older clients from some of life’s daily stressors. One way it does that is by facilitating trips to the opera, ballet, symphony and museums. And for anyone who doesn’t feel like touring the city, plenty of in-facility programs are offered as well, such as lectures, computer and art classes. San Francisco Towers also has extensive independent, assisted and skilled programs and services.

Chaparral House in Berkeley started in 1978 to care for residents with multiple needs. “We regard Chaparral House as our residents’ home,” says admissions director P.A. Cooley. “The people that are here, they’re not patients, this is their home, and they get that respect. We emphasize treating them as a whole [person].” The facility can accommodate 50 people. Among the activities offered are outings to local attractions as well as on-site theme parties, such as Mardi Gras.

St. Paul’s Towers in Oakland offers a number of on- and off-site amenities for its residents. Watercolor and exercise classes are popular, and many residents are active and volunteering around the community. “The sense of community is really impressive,” says Adrianne Kohler, director of sales and marketing. “People from all different ethnic and education backgrounds live here.” Residents can attend concerts and visit museums in the area, with transportation provided by the facility.

You’ll find residents at the Forum at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino taking part in a variety of activities, from cruises to day trips to jewelry making. “There’s a cruise for Hawaii and Alaska, and the residents take trips to San Francisco, Carmel and other beautiful places,” says executive director Nancy Kao. Kao says the facility is very engaging and new friendships form all the time. “The residents can start a whole new life here and integrate with the community around them,” she says. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

Residents at Palo Alto Commons have plenty of wonderful options to entertain themselves and bond with others. Taking courses at nearby Foothill College, playing video games and going on scenic hikes are some of the things to do. Residents have access to several levels of care, including assisted living and focused attention for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents in the Meadow Wing unit.

Springfield Place in Petaluma is a planned community with 87 apartments, including studios, one- and two-bedroom units, with full kitchens and expanded cable TV. Onsite are a travel agency, library, activity room and full-service salon. Trips to San Francisco, nearby wineries and other destinations also are available for residents.

San Francisco

San Francisco Towers

(415) 776-0500

East Bay

Chaparral House


(510) 848-8774

St. Paul’s Towers


(510) 835-4700

Peninsula/South Bay

The Forum at Rancho San Antonio


(650) 944-0100

Palo Alto Commons

Palo Alto

(650) 494-0760

North Bay

Springfield Place


(707) 769-3300


Alzheimer’s Care Center

Sensitivity and specialized care are essential at Alzheimer’s care centers. These winning Bay Area facilities go above and beyond in offering top-notch service.

The winner in San Francisco, Rhoda Goldman Plaza — also named the city’s best Jewish retirement residence — offers “activities that are designed for folks that have memory issues,” executive director Susan Koster says. An entire floor of suites is dedicated to residents with dementia, and daily programs are designed to help them focus on what they can do, rather than on what they can’t. “People are helped individually and in groups,” says Koster. “They are helped without any shame or judgment.”

AgeSong at Lakeside Park in Oakland maintains a holistic approach to caring for tenants with dementia. Caring for mind, body and spirit is one of the hallmarks of the facility. Poetry and arts and crafts classes are available, and local student volunteers come in to play games and music and socialize with the residents. Full-time care and individualized support are staples at AgeSong, with multiple locations.

Memory Care Suites at Moldaw Family Residences, also a winner for best Jewish retirement facility, wants any activities offered to residents to mean something. “We want our residents to do activities with a purpose,” wellness manager Krista Roman says. “We want to challenge our residents and give them the opportunity to grow.” On the menu are trips to farmers markets and classes in ceramics, French and Spanish. Medication programs, dressing and bathing assistance, reminder services and transportation are available as well, so residents can live active lives. “Our caregivers are very professional,” Roman says. “They’ve all had special training with dementia. Right now our care level is our proudest [accomplishment].”

San Francisco

Rhoda Goldman Plaza

(415) 345-5060

East Bay

AgeSong at Lakeside Park


(510) 444-4684

Peninsula/South Bay

Memory Care Suites at Moldaw Family Residences

Palo Alto

(650) 433-3600


Senior Activity

The Bay Area has a number of programs to help seniors who want to get out and about or maintain a social life.

Everyone should have a friend or someone to talk to. Engage As You Age serves San Francisco, the North Bay and South Bay. Created by Ben Lewis, Engage pairs people with like-minded seniors. “We want people to have meaningful conversations and activities,” Lewis says. “There is a lot of care and attention given.” Engage goes to the client’s home to get to know the senior casually before making a match. Lewis says the service is great for anyone who is lonely and looking for good conversation. Activities can include making art, writing life histories and taking walks in the park. “I love what we do,” Lewis says. “I make a living making people feel good. Not many people can say that.”

SilverRide of San Francisco offers transportation services, from medical appointments to social outings. A typical day might include a museum visit or a trip to Half Moon Bay or Napa. “Sometimes it’s really hard to get there, so we encourage them to come,” says client relationship manager Caroline Cua. “It’s always good to get out.” Drivers are part time and come from all walks of life, with special training with seniors. And, of course, they are fully licensed.

The Adult and Senior Programs at the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center in Walnut Creek have been serving seniors in the East Bay for 35 years. “We offer weekly lectures with a wide variety of topics and lecturers from the universities and visiting speakers, too,” says program director Shoshana Eliahu. “They speak about politics, social issues, art and other things.” Trips to area museums and San Francisco destinations are common, as are classes on topics such as opera or modern history. The best part, Eliahu says, is that “seniors have the opportunity to come together with their peers and socialize. The possibility of meeting other people in their age group is great.”

Get Up & Go at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City has been popular for quite some time, and for good reason. Program coordinator Betty Burr says the goal is for seniors who no longer drive to get reliable transportation and opportunities to socialize. One daughter of a senior told Burr, “If it weren’t for your program, my mother would not be able to live alone.” Three days a week, seniors in San Mateo County get transportation to the grocery store, medical appointments and other important day-to-day activities. The PJCC program also offers day trips and social events for seniors. “We don’t just go to the curb and pick them up,” Burr says. “We get to their front door and we help them to the bus.”

Bay Area

Engage As You Age

(415) 690-6944

San Francisco


(415) 861-7433

East Bay

Contra Costa JCC

Walnut Creek

(925) 938-7800

Peninsula/South Bay

Peninsula JCC

Foster City

(650) 212-7522