Jewish Life at Aviva: Living Our Legacy

March 28, 2017

“Jewish Life at Aviva: Living Our Legacy” is a monthly series by Campus Rabbi Emerita Barbara Aiello

“Oh, the Seders We’d Make!”

In the weeks before Passover a group of Kobernick at Aviva Independent Living residents, all of whom were women, joined me in the Rotunda to share memories of Passover celebrations in days gone by.

“Oh, the Seders we’d make,” said Helen. “I’d set the table for so many of our family and friends. One year 21, another year almost 30.”

Rita chimed in.  “My mother’s Passover dishes were stored in a barrel in the basement. Taking them out each year was a joy.”

“And the matzah ball soup was to die for, and my Auntie’s tzimmes, so good. My father led the Seder,” recalls Annie, “but we kids were waiting for the Passover dinner!” These Passover memories, and so many others, are shared with joyful nostalgia.

At Aviva, our staff value the personal and cultural significance of providing our residents the opportunity to “make the Seder.” Administrative staff at Kobernick Independent Living, Anchin Assisted Living, and Benderson Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation transform the our formal dining rooms across campus into a Passover festival reminiscent of the Seder experiences residents so lovingly designed in their homes years ago. Beautiful flowers grace deach table while individual Seder plates, one for each resident, were prepared by our kitchen staff. Traditional book of prayers, songs, stories and blessings (Haggadot) were on hand for each resident to enjoy during the Passover service.

This year’s Seder was truly a family affair as it was led by newly appointed CEO Jay Solomon and his son Matthew. The festival candles were lit, blessings made, and traditional songs were sung. Cantorial Soloist, Rosalie Leon, led the traditional songs at Kobernick at Aviva’s first Seder.

“And it wasn’t too long either,” agreed several Kobernick residents, one of whom recalled that, at six years old, he spent the last hour sitting under the Seder table!

“This year I had my children and grandchildren with me,” kvelled a resident who remarked, “We carried on our traditions that I shared with my grandchildren. And I didn’t have to do the cooking!” She went on to say that when she lived alone, making the family Seder became a task that she could no longer accomplish on her own. “I thought my Seder days were over,” she said. “Then I came to Aviva and look, we have a Seder, with friends, family and a delicious meal – with tzimmes, too!”

Living Our Legacy is written by Rabbi Emerita Barbara Aiello and features anecdotes about Jewish life at Aviva – A Campus for Senior Life. You can contact her at  

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