Celebrating the holidays at Handmaker

Hanukkah at Handmaker

Hanukkah came early this year! The Sunday night after Thanksgiving was the first of eight nights and days of celebration in every neighborhood in Handmaker.

Hanukkah celebrations included nightly candle lighting and Hanukkah song singing, as well as lots of dreidel playing and holiday cookie decorating. The scent and taste of freshly fried potato latkes always brings back memories, and residents enjoyed eating plenty of them as well as sufganyot (jelly donuts) and delicious holiday cookies.

Residents were treated to several visits from members of the Jewish community as well. The Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA) sixth graders came by one beautiful Hanukkah morning to light a large menorah and sing Hanukkah songs in our resident parking lot, while residents sat enjoying the visit and the warm sun. Rabbi Yossi Shemtov from Chabad Tucson also celebrated one night with our Rubin Assisted Living (AL) residents. He told a few stories, lit the menorah, and sang Hanukkah songs, including one very traditional and beautiful Hanukkah song in Yiddish. For the last five Hanukkahs, the Jurkowitz family (Dan, Lisa, David and Michael) have been coming to light candles and sing songs with residents one Hanukkah night. Last year the visit had to be virtual, so residents were excited to have them in person this year again, singing along to Dan’s guitar playing and Michael’s drumming.

Residents received gifts of treat-filled dreidels and cards from THA, beautiful cards from the JCC’s J-care, handmade Kippot from Shabbat service virtual-attendee Susan Berry, and a screening of the wonderful Tucson Jewish International Film Festival movie, “Itzhak”. It was a Hanukkah filled with light and song, something greatly needed during this time, and we are grateful to all who added to our celebrations.

And Christmas too

Some Rubin AL residents experienced the joy of giving this holiday season! A group of them made cards and put together holiday treat bags for Handmaker staff who worked on Christmas. The residents had fun putting them together and felt good knowing that they were doing something special for the wonderful staff. In return, those staff-members were grateful for the treats that greeted them in the lobby. Thanks to Julie, our amazing pastry chef, who must have set a record for baking holiday cookies this year!

On Christmas day, residents were treated to Christmas carols in every neighborhood sung by Rachel and Maya Levy. Kim and Allie from the Activities Department passed out holiday cupcakes made by Julie, and beautiful holiday cards made by the Baker family. We also were happy to pass around some holiday cards made by staff at the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona.