In Focus

Staying connected at Handmaker

Handmaker resident Lois Waldman follows along with Facebook live Passover Festival services from Temple Emanu-El, April 9. (Photo: Angela Salmon/Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging)
On April 17, the day after Passover ended, Handmaker management distributed specially wrapped chocolate bars to show appreciation to the staff, including Elizabeth Kariuki, a Handmaker caregiver for 16 years. (Photo: Andrea Ramirez/Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging)

Digital apps and dedicated staff have been helping Handmaker residents stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic. For Passover, Handmaker provided all interested Jewish residents with dinner, seder plates, wine or grape juice, battery operated candles, and Haggadot for one or two seders, depending on their request. Some residents joined online celebrations with local synagogues, others joined family through Zoom or other apps, and some “just did their own thing,” says Nanci Levy, Handmaker outreach coordinator. “It was not ideal, but most really appreciated the effort and felt that something was better than nothing during these trying times.”

On Saturday, April 18, via Zoom, Handmaker residents participated in the bar mitzvah of Jonas Valdez Leonard, whose family has been attending services at Handmaker for a decade. Mel Cohen and Dan Asia led the service along with Jonas, who celebrated in his home with his parents, Shay Salomon Leonard and Nigel Valdez, and his younger brother, Rafi.