Thanks to Better Together, Handmaker is the beneficiary of two Intergenerational Programs that began this fall. Rabbi Cantor Emily Ellentuck from Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA) applied for and received a Grant from Better Together to plan four, year-long Intergenerational programs with THA’s 7th and 8th Grade classes and Handmaker residents. Libby Bacal, the Tucson J’s BBYO City Director, also applied for and received a Better Together Grant to plan four, year-long Intergenerational programs with BBYO teens and Handmaker residents.
Together, THA, BBYO, and Handmaker have created a calendar of once or twice-monthly meetings with the teens and Handmaker residents to connect and build relationships. And they all look forward to three more years of Better Together Intergenerational Programs ahead!
Both groups have already met at least once with the residents. THA visited during Elul to blow the shofar and introduce themselves and the program to residents, and then came again earlier this month, meeting with residents in pairs to learn more about one another. BBYO had their first meeting with residents last month during which they were given a list of facts about the attending residents. They then spent time speaking to each resident as they tried to figure out who went with which fact. It was a fun way for them to get to know each other. One of things that surprised the teens was the age of Handmaker residents. They guessed that most of the residents were in their sixties, while in fact their ages range from the early sixties to late nineties! The residents continue to be so impressed with what good conversationalists the teens are. Many have commented on how refreshing it is to see such polite and friendly teens, in contrast to what they sometimes hear about on the news.
All of the BBYO and THA teens will be coming to Handmaker next month for a Pre-Hanukkah gathering with residents on Sunday, December 11. They plan to play dreidel and other games, reflect with each other about past holiday celebrations, and strengthen their connections to one another.
Residents are also looking forward to the THA Hanukkah show that some of the younger students will be performing at Handmaker, as well as a visit from Rabbi Malcolm Cohen and Cantor Janece Cohen from Congregation Kol Ami to sing songs and light candles during Hanukkah. The Levy Sisters will be singing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs on Christmas again this year, which happens to fall on the last night of Hanukkah. There will be lots of latke eating and dreidel spinning at Handmaker as well. If you and your family would like to come to Handmaker one night during Hanukkah to light candles with the residents, generally between 3:30-5:30pm, please contact Nanci Levy at [email protected].