|Editor's note: Portions of the following letter were published in "Community chaplaincy funded, Kivel kosher cut," Jewish News, Feb. 3.|
Although we respect the difficulty in making allocation decisions, we regret that the Jewish Community Association committee has essentially abandoned Kivel and its mission.
For more than 50 years, Kivel has provided services to our community's most vulnerable population. We are the only facility where low-income Jewish seniors can find a place to live and feel comfortable that they will be treated with respect, dignity and in the Jewish tradition; a place where they can enjoy the company of other Jewish people, have a kosher meal without feeling excluded and continue to celebrate Shabbat and Jewish holidays as they have throughout their lives.
Kivel is the only Jewish senior-living community in Arizona, except for one facility in Tucson. To not fund Kivel's rabbi is, we believe, a very short-sighted decision. Rabbi Martin Scharf has been serving our Jewish elderly population as a spiritual leader for 18 years. He visits our residents in the hospital, participates in Jewish programming, performs services on Friday nights and Saturdays, as well as all the Jewish holidays, and officiates at High Holiday services for more than 100 people in our community.
In addition, for the JCA committee to conclude that Kivel needs to basically phase out our kosher-meal program in order to receive minimal funding is, again, short-sighted. Kivel has been a kosher facility for more than 50 years. It is our Jewish tradition, an essential part of what makes Kivel a Jewish community. It enables us to be inclusive of everyone who wants to remain kosher and be at Kivel and allows us to celebrate Jewish holidays the way they should be celebrated. In fact, we serve most meals to our assisted-living residents, the majority of whom are Jewish.
The token allocation for Kivel from the JCA is indeed regrettable. Current and future Jewish seniors at Kivel deserve a higher priority in the apportioning of available funds.
Kivel is committed to maintaining its kosher-meal program and the services of Rabbi Scharf. We ask the community to support Kivel and to help us maintain our Jewish traditions, our quality care, our mission and the ability to provide a Jewish home for the Jewish elderly.
Ira Shulman, CEO
For the Board of Directors
Kivel Campus of Care