Dear friends,


We are excited to be opening new exhibits of our Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program across the entire Jewish Home Family.  OMA is a program that was designed for individuals with dementia, using creative expression to enable them to continue to make choices and share ideas.  While art is a product of the work, it is really not a program about art—it is a program about enriching the lives of our residents and participants.  The fact that amazing art comes out of it truly makes the program a joy for all of us.  Each OMA session is conducted in a very specific and well defined way.  The projects are inspired by real art and they are adult in level and designed to be failure free.   Participant artists would with a volunteer, a consistent person for the entire semester and that volunteer facilitates but does not do the work for them.  We teach our volunteers how to help effectively, sometimes by just putting a paint brush or a glue stick into someone’s hand.  We also teach them to use “art talk,” which again elevates the level of the experience.  We don’t say “good job” or “that’s pretty,” we talk about the use of color and contrast, we mention composition and texture and, at the end of each session, we use a mat to frame the work and share it, with permission, with the others in the room.  I have had the privilege of watching OMA for more than eight years and each time I see a session I have only one comment, that it is like watching “magic in action” as people reach beyond their disease and disability to do something that makes them feel accomplished and proud and capable.


Our new OMA exhibits were hung this week both at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh (in multiple locations for both the JHR and Gallen programs) and in Memory Lane at Jewish Home Assisted Living.  On Sunday morning at 10:30 AM we will have our premiere party at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh and the room will, I know, be packed with participant artists, volunteers and family members.  We recognize each artist and volunteer and will do so at that session for both Rockleigh and Gallen.  The same sort of opening event will take place in the afternoon at Jewish Home Assisted Living at 2:30 PM.  We hope that you’ll join us if you are able and we hope that you’ll take some time to experience the OMA art, and the OMA program.  It will be time well spent!

Our Jewish Home at Rockleigh residents enjoyed some great programs this week.  Students from the JCC’s Thurnauer Music School gave a wonderful concert, an event that has become a beloved annual tradition.  And on Monday, a group of residents and staff headed to the movies to see “The Greatest Showman,” a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum.  They had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed the film.


Film was also on the agenda for Jewish Home Assisted Living this week. Residents had an outing to see “The Post” and it was such a hit that a second outing is planned. Assisted Living residents also enjoyed a concert by classical soprano, Sigal Chen, on Sunday and another great interactive program with the Cleveland Museum of Art on Tuesday. The always popular Professor Ian Drake was back on Friday and this week’s topic was “What’s Trumpism?” as well as the future of the Republican party.

In the Gallen Center, we had our second full week of our specialized Parkinson’s day program which continues to grow. We also celebrated “National Soup Month” and the residents and staff made Italian wedding soup that was a big hit with all. Some music and dancing rounded out the week and we even found time for a “spa afternoon” which everyone loves.


All the best,

Carol Signature

Carol Silver Elliott
The Jewish Home Family


Volunteer Opportunities




  • Personal shoppers needed on Wednesdays, 11:30 - 2:00, at JHAL in River Vale
  • Rock Steady Boxing for residents with Parkinson's Disease
  • Opening Minds Through Art for residents with dementia

    Contact Stacey Orden, Director of Volunteer Services, at 201-518-1175 or