The sale of Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging to MED Healthcare Partners was finalized on January 26, 2021. The name of the organization will not change with the sale, nor will its commitment to quality care for the elderly in our community.
The Handmaker Board, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona (JFSA), has been in talks about a sale for more than a year to create a more sustainable future for the business. The Handmaker Board hired a marketing team to search nationwide for the right buyer with the know-how and resources to operate in this competitive field.
“The Board and I, as well as the community, undertook the search for a buyer of Handmaker with careful consideration,” Phil Bregman, Chairman of the Board of Handmaker. “We wanted to make sure that whoever we sold Handmaker to, understood the significance of Handmaker to our community. We are happy to have found MED Healthcare Partners, and I believe that we are leaving Handmaker in good hands who will continue to honor our Jewish values.”
Our New Partners
MED Healthcare Partners is primarily Jewish-owned and has a track record of carrying on faith-based relationships for Jews and the broader community alike.
They have already demonstrated themselves to be strong community partners. When the Handmaker Director resigned suddenly after an agreement was approved, MED Healthcare Partners offered to step in as operator. They managed operations through the pandemic, found new ways to drive profits, and completed the sale under some of the most challenging economic circumstances in the past century.
“The thirteen months prior to the transaction that I have been able to serve as Handmaker’s CEO have been a true blessing,” said Elie Pollak MED Healthcare Partners CEO along with Mordy Lahasky. “I have had a chance to understand what the name Handmaker means to the Jewish community of Tucson and the greater healthcare community at large.”
Over the past number of years, the Jewish community provided considerable financial assistance to Handmaker at times of particular need. The recent sale has enabled proceeds to repay both Handmaker’s underlying bank debt and monies borrowed from the Jewish community. Over one million dollars in cash assets remain for future senior services in our community. JFSA has established a task force of Handmaker and Federation leaders who will undertake a community-based process to determine how to best leverage these dollars to serve our older adult community in the future. In the interim, funds are held at the Jewish Community Foundation and preserved for older adults in need.
Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, a Beneficiary Agency of JFSA for many years, has transitioned from this status, because of the sale. Nevertheless, Handmaker will remain an important community-based organization in its newly reimagined form. Handmaker, MED Healthcare Partners, and JFSA have a Board reconstitution agreement, in the interest of preserving community involvement in the organization’s governance. Members of Handmaker’s community advisory board include Phil Bregman, Elie Pollak, Allison Wexler, Bruce Ash, and Brian Kohn. As an outgrowth of the sale, Handmaker now also has a profit motive and designates funds accordingly through their management agreement. Thus far, the new structure has ensured high quality care, contribution to the community, and continued commitment to Jewish values, services, programming, and Kosher food. Handmaker has given every indication that it intends to continue to serve and impact our community and will be interested in securing philanthropic support for the non-profit aspects of the work it maintains.
If you have questions about current or future support for Handmaker, please contact the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona at [email protected] for additional information regarding the implications of the new, for-profit and non-profit, ownership structure.
History in Our Community
Founded in 1963, the idea for a facility like Handmaker began when Bregman’s great Uncle I. H. “Murf” Handmaker and his wife Mae could not find a facility for Mae’s mother, Pearl Bloom, who suffered from dementia. She was an observant Jewish woman who kept kosher, and they needed to place her at a facility in Arizona where she could observe religious rituals and kashrut and receive dementia care.
Finding none in Tucson, they decided to send her back to New York to find a place that met her needs. After this experience, Mae and Murf began talking with other community leaders about building a Jewish nursing home in Southern Arizona.
With the help of the Tucson Jewish Community Council, the forerunner of JFSA, and the generosity of the Tucson community, including a donation from the Charles Wilson family of seven acres of prime real estate on Rosemont Boulevard, the Bregman’s vision was made a reality.
“My great uncle brought the community together to start Handmaker almost 60 years ago,” said Bregman. “I am so proud of what we have been able to accomplish since 1963.”
The sale to MED Healthcare Partners represents an evolution in the long history of Handmaker Jewish Services for Aging in our community.
“We have been inspired by the leadership and management of the new Handmaker team and their commitment to continue the Jewish character, programming, and services that have been a hallmark of the Handmaker experience,” said Deborah Oseran, Board Chair, and Graham Hoffman, President and CEO of JFSA. “We look forward to founding a new partnership with Handmaker to continue providing respect, dignity, and Jewish life for our seniors.”
As to Handmaker’s new ownership, they are thrilled to become a part of the organization’s historic journey.
“Mordy and I are excited to continue to maintain the very bedrock and foundation of Handmaker which is a commitment to quality healthcare together with true Jewish values,” said Pollak. “This new chapter will be one of continuing to further the resolve of the Jewish mission of Handmaker since 1963.”