Help for Seniors

Audrey Berens, left, with Rabbi Levi Levertov, the co-director of Smile on Seniors of Arizona at Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona.

photo courtesy of smile on seniors

Thanks to a number of area Jewish agencies, homebound seniors don’t have to miss out on High Holiday celebrations.

Ladles of Love, for instance, prepares and delivers kosher meals to elderly and homebound individuals one Sunday a month. A partnership between the East Valley JCC, Valley Beit Midrash and the Bureau of Jewish Education, Ladles of Love will bring this month’s delivery to recipients on Sept. 17, the Sunday before Rosh Hashanah.

Then there’s Smile on Seniors of Arizona, a volunteer program run by Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona, that pairs seniors with volunteers who visit them once a week. Founded in 2009, Smile on Seniors serves those in assisted-living facilities as well as those who live alone, offering a mix of companionship and access to group activities.

From Sept. 11 through Sept. 18, as part of its High Holiday programming, Smile on Seniors will offer senior-living residents discussion groups about High Holiday customs and lore — along with a traditional High Holiday snack.

Valley synagogues are also partnering with the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix to provide a limited number of free tickets to High Holiday services for those who don’t have the financial means to pay. Chabad, too, offers free attendance at High Holiday services.

The Jewish Federation Senior Rides Program, a partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and Envoy America, helps seniors confront transportation challenges.

The program offers four subsidized rides per month to Jewish individuals ages 65 and up. Senior Rides drivers assist program participants with everything from walking from their home to the vehicle to pushing their grocery cart while shopping and even loading and unloading groceries.

Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix subsidizes 75 percent of the cost, and the minimum payment for participants is $6. Round trips are limited to three hours.

The program began operating in January 2016 with funds provided by the Friedel Family Foundation and Randi and Alan Jablin. Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix took over administration of the program in September 2016.

If an individual wants to attend Rosh Hashanah services but has no independent transportation, he or she can be dropped off at their place of worship by Senior Rides and picked up after the service ends. JN

High Holidays resources for seniors:

Ladles of Love:


Smile on Seniors:


Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix:


Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona: 602-944-2753,

Jewish Federation Senior Rides Program/Envoy America: 1-888-375-5558

Duet: 602-274-5022