Bet Alicia Nursing Home

Bet Alicia Nursing Home is a medium sized residential facility for older adults, in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. Bet Alicia has an educated, diverse population of 95 residents, including many Russian speakers. A nursing home setting allows ongoing relationships with care recipients and potentially some learning/experiential programs such as group sessions on film, literature and Biblical themes, which can elicit personal reactions and lead to exploration of the themes of aging, loss and meaning.

Raya Tsalyuk, a native Russian speaking pastoral caregiver, spends one day per week at the home visiting individuals and small groups, offering culturally sensitive support in Hebrew and Russian.  Her cultural familiarity has elicited trust and openness from the residents.  She has developed relationships of trust and respect with residents whom other staff could not reach.  The Home is eager for her to continue and even expand her services.  They pay a fee that covers half of the cost and as part of the Idan chain of nursing homes, their feedback can open doors to other sites as well.

In 2014, with the sponsorship of the Good People Fund, we started a series of Kabbalat Shabbat and pre holiday services and workshops to expose residents to their Jewish identity in a joyous and participatory way.

Facilitated by Raya Tsalyuk and led by Hazanit Saralee Shrell-Fox they encourage participation by residents with singing and musical instruments.  The theme relates to the time of year and includes Russian songs the residents recognize as well as Hebrew and Israeli songs that they are getting to know.  The music is interspersed with discussion about the residents' lives and memories and creates a community atmosphere that staff and family members also  join.