Celebrating the Jewish Holidays at Parker
By Fern Marder
Harry Glazer (center) presides over the Passover Seder at Parker at Monroe
Parker loves to host well-orchestrated events for our residents, and religious holidays aren’t an exception. Our holiday parties in December are elaborate affairs for residents and their families and friends. Our sumptuous Easter dinner draws a large crowd too. This year, it was my pleasure to help my colleague, Senior Manager of Communications Harry Glazer, officiate at Purim celebrations in two homes and Passover Seders in three locations: Parker at River Road, Parker at Monroe, and Parker at Stonegate assisted living residence.
Parker is sensitive to our residents’ religious needs and tries to accommodate them as best as we can. We have two staff members who provide pastoral services for Parker residents – Father Andrew in Parker at McCarrick and Sister Ann Casserly in Parker at River Road – but many religious services are provided by our dedicated volunteers. Harry has volunteered to lead Jewish Sabbath Services for Parker at Stonegate for the past ten months, so officiating holiday services was a natural next step.
For Purim, Harry found an abridged version of the Book of Esther, and assigned the parts of Haman, Mordechai, Queen Esther, and the King to staff members who boldly volunteered to participate. While Harry and I took turns reading the book, the actors pantomimed events as described in the text, much to the enjoyment of our residents. For Passover, Harry reviewed and combined elements of three Haggadahs (the book read during Passover Seders) into one version, which also included the traditional rituals and songs that have been beloved for centuries. The residents in all three homes enjoyed their Seders, many of whom remarked about how much it reminded them of the celebrations they enjoyed in their younger years.
However, it takes a village to celebrate a holiday at Parker. It wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Parker’s dining services, housekeeping, maintenance, IT, and recreation teams, whose hard work ensured that our residents enjoyed the holidays in comfort and with traditional foods.
Volunteering our time to celebrate holidays with the residents was such a rewarding experience that Harry has already begun pondering about what we can do to celebrate other Jewish holidays on the calendar. We welcome your suggestions and hope to see more volunteers assist at Parker’s religious celebrations.