Coleman House
BGI fellows and their peers organized a special Shabbat dinner for Russian-speaking residents of the Coleman House, a Jewish-affiliated assisted living home in Newton, MA

On March 28, BGI students, in partnership with JCHE staff, organized a special Shabbat dinner with twenty Russian-speaking residents of the Coleman House, a Jewish-affiliated assisted living home in Newton, MA. Eight volunteers from Brandeis University helped make the event a true success!

Liz Zharovsky, BGI Fellow, and Karina Gaft, BGI Fellow '14, reflect on their experience:

We all came with the purpose of engaging in meaningful and educational conversations with the residents of the Coleman House. Understanding our roots is essential to understanding ourselves. Therefore, we wanted to learn from the residents as they represent pieces of our own history.

Very quickly we established a personal connection with the residents and our conversation flowed naturally. We were able to relate to these accomplished, experienced seniors in unimaginable ways. We shared stories about immigration, traditions and more. Most importantly, we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. It felt really good to dedicate time and attention to a demographic that normally does not get as much of it as it deserves.

Both the students and seniors only had positive things to say about the conversations they led over dinner. By the end of the evening, it seemed as though no one really wanted to leave. All in all, this Shabbat dinner created unforgettable memories, and we hope to continue upholding our strong ties with the elderly Russian-speaking community.