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We thank Peter and Debbie Friedmann for their inspiration and support.
We thank Neil and Emily Kishter for their generosity and caring.
Moving into an assisted living or other facility can be upsetting for all involved. Sometimes our fears about the transition are unrealized as the new resident is presented with opportunities to be social, relieved of responsibilities, and offered better access to health care. The transition can sometimes improve the quality of life for seniors. In addition to psychological and health care benefits, the new resident may find opportunities to engage in faith based activities such as prayer services and holiday celebrations. For family and friends, we can reach into Jewish wisdom to offer support at this time.
Today I may feel some ambivalence.
I don’t want to lose my autonomy.
It’s not easy to accept care.
Help me, God, to see this change
not as a diminishment in circumstance
but simply my next chapter.
Cultivate in me gratitude
for those who prepare meals
and keep track of medications.
Open me to friendships
with the other residents, each one
a unique reflection of You.
Attune me to unexpected blessings
and awaken me to Your presence
here and everywhere, now and always.
Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.
I said to myself: let me watch my habit
And not sin with my tongue;
Let me set a lock on my mouth
As long as the wicked one opposes me.
I kept my silence; even good things I don’t talk about.
By my pain got ever more troubled;
My heart burns in me.
My thoughts are inflamed – I can’t help but talk.
Tell me Yah! Where will it end?
What is the measure of my days?
At least I will know how long my suffering will last.
You measured my day by hand breadths;
My life seems of no consequence to You.
We are all stuck in human folly;
Most of us just follow the crowd,
Flowing along with the tumult,
Amassing more and more stuff without an aim –
For whom are we saving it? . . .
Yah, hear my prayer! Listen to my pleading.
Don’t disregard my tears; my life with You is just a short sojourn.
Remove your anger from me and I will be strong again;
Please do this soon – before I disappear and am no more.
based upon a translation by R’ Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l
I seek refuge in You, O LORD; may I never be disappointed.
As You are beneficent, save me and rescue me;
incline Your ear to me and deliver me.
Be a sheltering rock for me to which I may always repair;
decree my deliverance,
for You are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of the unjust and the lawless.
For You are my hope, O Lord GOD, my trust from my youth.
While yet unborn, I depended on You;
in the womb of my mother, You were my support;
I sing Your praises always.
I have become an example for many, since You are my mighty refuge.
My mouth is full of praise to You, glorifying You all day long.
Do not cast me off in old age;
when my strength fails, do not forsake me!
For my enemies talk against me;
those who wait for me are of one mind,
saying, “God has forsaken him; chase him and catch him,
for no one will save him!”
O God, be not far from me; my God, hasten to my aid!
Let my accusers perish in frustration;
let those who seek my ruin be clothed in reproach and disgrace!
As for me, I will hope always, and add to the many praises of You.
My mouth tells of Your beneficence, of Your deliverance all day long, though I know not how to tell it.
I come with praise of Your mighty acts, O Lord GOD;
I celebrate Your beneficence, Yours alone.
You have let me experience it, God, from my youth;
until now I have proclaimed Your wondrous deeds,
and even in hoary old age do not forsake me, God,
until I proclaim Your strength to the next generation,
Your mighty acts, to all who are to come,
Your beneficence, high as the heavens, O God,
You who have done great things; O God,
who is Your peer?
You who have made me undergo many troubles and misfortunes will revive me again,
and raise me up from the depths of the earth.
You will grant me much greatness,
You will turn and comfort me.
Then I will acclaim You to the music of the lyre for Your faithfulness,
O my God; I will sing a hymn to You with a harp,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips shall be jubilant, as I sing a hymn to You,
my whole being, which You have redeemed.
All-day long my tongue shall recite Your beneficent acts,
how those who sought my ruin were frustrated and disgraced.
Blessed are they who understand
My faltering step and shaking hand.
Blessed are they who know my ears today
Must strain to hear the things they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know
My eyes are dim and my answers slow.
Blessed are they who look away
When my tea was spilled at the table today.
Blessed are they who with a cheery smile
Will stop to chat for a little while.
Blessed are they who never say
“You’ve told that story twice today.”
Blessed are they who know my ways
And bring back memories of yesterdays.
Blessed are they who ease the days
And care for me in loving ways.
Blessed are they who make it known
I’m loved, respected and not alone.