Board Member Spotlight – Ivan Greenstein

 

For this month’s Board member spotlight, we sat down with Ivan Greenstein, Treasurer of the Wilf Campus for Senior Living Board of Trustees.

Ivan Greenstein has been involved with The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living for many years — having seen much of its growth first-hand. It all began over 20 years ago when he attended a charity casino night in New York and left with a renewed sense of self. Inspired by the generosity of those around him, Ivan decided to get further involved at the Central New Jersey Jewish Home for the Aged along with his wife, Susan. The Jewish Home was the beginning of what is now the Wilf Campus. The couple began volunteering there at Bubbie’s Bistro and the gift shop every Sunday. While there, they saw the need to improve the lives of the surrounding Jewish senior community.

Ivan was there to see the eventual leasing of The Jewish Home to The Regency Heritage and Rehabilitation Center, and the naming of the campus (which also included Wilentz Senior Residence) as The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living. Ivan was later invited to join the Wilf Campus Board as Treasurer. During his time with the campus, he has both witnessed and contributed to the construction efforts of Stein Assisted Living, the addition of Stein Hospice and the recent addition of the Education and Resource Center.

Ivan’s mother in-law was in fact the third resident to live at Stein Assisted Living — where he says her quality of life was improved greatly, “My mother in-law lived at Stein from age 85 to 92. I can honestly say that she lived longer than we expected because of the care she received there. I’d like to especially thank Anna Simmons [Director of Stein Assisted Living] for that.”

The dedication that Ivan has to our campus and its residents is present in each interaction to be had with him. He has planned many fundraisers for the campus, ranging from theater trips to NYC to the 25th Anniversary Dinner Dance. Over the years, Ivan’s commitment to the Wilf Campus has been highlighted in a number of ways. In 2005, he received The Seymour St. Lifer Leadership Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding vision, commitment, leadership and hard work. He and his wife Susan were also honored during the Wilf Campus’ 40th Anniversary celebration.

When asked about his future vision for the campus, Ivan had this to say: “Overall, I’d like to increase our footprint in the work that we do for the Jewish elderly. We must answer to the community. When it comes to taking care of our seniors, I look at it this way — who will, if we don’t?” Ivan Greenstein is a true example of the values of our campus — someone who we appreciate and are grateful to have on board.

Employee Highlight: Sally Gelpke-Page, Director of Dementia Services

Sally Gelpke has been a nurse for over 28 years, spending 15 of those years at Stein Assisted Living. Sally’s passion for providing care to our residents shines in everything she does. This month, we are highlighting Sally for her contributions to not only the health, but the quality of life of our community here on the Wilf Campus and in the Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood at Stein Assisted Living.

Sally began her time at Stein Assisted Living working as a staff nurse, eventually moving on to become the Director of Dementia Services in Jaffa Gate. Jaffa Gate offers specialized care and support for seniors with memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sally truly enjoyed providing care to the residents at Jaffa Gate. So much so that, despite being promoted to Director of Nursing of Stein Assisted Living, she eventually went back to her role at Jaffa Gate. “Although I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be Director of Nursing, I really missed that hands-on connection with the residents—being able to interact with and care for them one-on-one throughout the day,” Sally explains.

The passion that Sally has for improving the lives of our memory impaired residents shows not only through her nursing skills, but through her creativity! Sally came up with the idea of our relaxation room, which provides a calming environment for residents who may feel confused or uncomfortable — or simply need a place to relax. Aromatherapy, peaceful music and professional massages are all perks of the relaxation room. The residents truly enjoy this room and that’s just one of Sally’s great concepts.

Sally loves to plan bigger events for the residents about once a year. A few years ago, she planned a fashion show and this year, Stein Assisted Living had a 50s party that was unforgettable. “We had a good time preparing for the 50s party. We practiced dance routines with the residents about twice a week for two months. It was really exciting for them. They would always ask, ‘Is there practice today?’ and they loved seeing each other dressed up and having a good time,” Sally recalls. From outfits, to instruments, it was evident how much Sally enjoyed putting the party together.

Outside of her life at Stein Assisted Living, Sally has two children in their 20s — a daughter in nursing school and a son in the United States Marine Corps. She and her husband enjoy antiquing and playing tennis in their spare time.

The community here at the Wilf Campus truly appreciates Sally and her dedication to our residents. We can’t wait to see what more is in store.

Sally can be reached at SGelpke@wilfcampus.org.

Board Member Spotlight – Adrienne Rogove

Adrienne Rogove has been a member of The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living’s Board of Trustees for a number of years — becoming President of the Wilf Transport Board in 2014 and as of this year, Vice President of the Wilf Campus Board.

Adrienne has been an attorney for 34 years, focusing her practice on commercial and chancery litigation. She regularly ligitgates construction claims among a number of other concentrations. Adrienne is the Chair of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility Rule, among many other memberships.

When Adrienne first decided to join the Wilf Campus, she had been experiencing difficulties in finding proper care for her aging mother — an issue that many adults unfortunately encounter in their lifetimes. The experience strongly increased her interest in senior care issues and influenced her decision to join the board.

“I wanted to do something not only good, but different — something outside the scope of my usual work in construction law. So becoming a part of the board was a great way for me to do that,” Adrienne explained.

After becoming an executive member of the board, she felt that she had gotten a fuller picture of what the Wilf Campus is all about and wanted to delve further into contributing to its growth. During the construction of the newest addition to the Wilf Campus, our Education and Resource Center, Adrienne was able to combine her work and role on the board by lending her knowledge of construction law.

“With the construction of the new Education and Resource Center, we are able to host events and become better known for providing care to Jewish seniors,” Adrienne said. “My goal with the campus is to create a more substantial and solidified presence in the community,” she said.

Outside of her career and role on Campus, Adrienne is a gourmet cook. She refers to herself as a “serial recipe-reader” and finds it to be a very relaxing creative outlet. She also enjoys spending her free time with her now 97-year-old mother. This year, Adrienne and her husband will be celebrating their 38th anniversary. They have a son and daughter who both live in the Boston area and are currently preparing for their daughter’s wedding this October — signaling an exciting time for the family!

Finding Emotional Connections With the Past

by Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner
Wilf Campus Chaplain

Tisha B’Av, the 9th of Av, is the day on the Jewish calendar that memorializes the tragedies of Jewish History. Jewish tradition explains that the Two Temples that stood in Jerusalem were destroyed on that day. Jews view the destruction of the Two Temples, the first in 586 BCE and the second in 70 CE, as watershed moments that encapsulate all subsequent tragedies of Jewish history. The customs of the day include the reading of the biblical book Lamentations, the words of the prophet Jeremiah upon seeing Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, and poems of elegy which are read to provide reflective texts that express the pain of various tragedies in our collective past.

In reflecting on communal tragedy and suffering, each of us is challenged to emotionally connect to events that seem to be mere relics of history. While Tisha B’Av is a day of memory that encompasses all tragedies past and present, and for many, there is opportunity to search out and speak with those around us who have survived displacement, destruction, persecution and forced migration, it can still appear to be an impossible task to truly grasp the depths of pain felt.

To create this emotional connection allowing one to truly mourn one’s collective past, the compilers of these elegies read on Tisha B’Av included one whose focus moves away from the communal to share the story of one family’s tragedy. Two Roman slave owners meet and decide to marry off their two newly acquired young slaves in marriage. Seeing that the male slave was handsome and the female was beautiful, the owners presumed that the matrimony would lead to high quality children that will garner a high price on the slave market. The two slaves are put together in the same room to await the wedding the next day. Throughout the night leading to the forced marriage, both slaves cried out over their forced fate. When dawn arrived, and they could see each other for the first time, they discover that they are really brother and sister. The story ends with them dying in each other’s arms.

In reading this episode, one begins to grasp how a communal tragedy really is a series of individual tragedies rolled into one. When looking at events as having merely occurred in the past, we often lose sight of individual suffering, only seeing the big picture. The goal of Tisha B’Av for the Jewish community is to be a day when collective mourning transforms into an individualized sense of how tragedy effects each of us. May Tisha B’Av be a day of meaning and may we each see the fulfillment of the penultimate verse of the book of Lamentations, “Return us back to You, G-d, and we shall return, renew our days as of old.”

Employee Highlight: Brad Fassett, Director of Dining Services

Brad Fassett, our Director of Dining Services is well known and loved on campus by employees and residents alike. This month, we are highlighting Brad for his dedication and hard work here at The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living.

Having started cooking at age 17, Brad got his first job as a kitchen supervisor when he was only 18 years old. His boss at the time had noticed how great he was as a food expeditor and how well he knew the menu. Thus, he was given the opportunity to cook orders for a day and his culinary career took off from there. “I fell in love with cooking and there was no looking back,” Brad explains. “I learned everything I know about cooking while on the job. I owe everything to the people I’ve worked with along the way.”

After working at various restaurants and kitchens early on, Brad brought his talents to Stein Assisted Living where he started as a line cook. “It was a really great job for me. It gave me the time I needed to spend with my family,” Brad says. He then went on to become the Kitchen Production Manager and eventually obtained the certifications required to become Director of Dining Services for the Wilf Campus in the fall of 2014.

As Director of Dining Services, Brad does it all. From cooking, to washing dishes, to waiting tables — he is ready to take on any task. Brad is also very appreciative of his staff, who he says is willing to step in wherever help is needed.

Brad’s staff prepares three delicious meals per day to meet our residents’ needs, while at the same time accommodating special diets. Meals are served restaurant style in the Stein Assisted Living dining room. Special snacks and refreshments are also prepared for various programs such as a recent strawberry festival, happy hours, and other programs. Although most of Brad’s responsibilities center around Stein Assisted Living, the Assisted Living kitchen also prepares dinner for our residents at Wilentz Senior Residence and caters for educational and special events organized by the Wilf Campus.

“Wilf Campus is fortunate to have Brad Fassett as our Director of Dining Services,” says Anna Simmons, Executive Director of Stein Assisted Living. “Brad brings his culinary talents to Stein Assisted Living and works tirelessly to make sure that our residents have delicious, nutritious and kosher cuisine. He seeks out input from our residents via resident council meetings, through a resident food committee and by frequently walking through the dining room to get real-time input,” Anna adds.

“The residents are definitely my favorite part about working here,” Brad says, adding, “It’s a great environment full of happiness between our residents and staff. I enjoy talking to them and hearing their feedback about the food and how to make it better.”

“I have a six-month-old son at home and some of the residents have even knitted him blankets and scarves. We’re all close here,” Brad explains.

One of Brad’s favorite dishes to cook is Chicken Murphy, and he also enjoys running the made-to-order omelet station.

Brad has had a great impact on the lives of our residents at Stein Assisted Living and we are very fortunate that he is part of our team at the Wilf Campus.

Brad can be reached at Bfassett@wilfcampus.org.