The Coastal Star

Finding Faith: Mitzvah program brings High Holidays to homebound seniors

Residents of The Tradition of the Palm Beaches, the senior residence on MorseLife’s Katz Seniors Campus, participate twice a year in the Homebound Mitzvah Program, as part of  their commitment to giving to people less fortunate. From left: Rosalie Shapero, Hal Bogdanoff, Sylvia Mandell, Carolyn Patterson, Yetta Pearlman and Minnie Grosman. Photo provided

By Mary Thurwachter
Not everyone who wants to experience the joys and traditions of the High Holidays is able to do so. With them in mind, MorseLife Health System Homebound Mitzvah Program will come to the rescue of Jewish homebound seniors on Sept. 29.
    The High Holidays begin with Erev Rosh Hashanah on Oct. 2 and continue with Yom Kippur beginning on Oct. 11 and ending at sundown on Oct. 12.
    The mitzvah program, financed through community philanthropists and a grant from the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County, relies on 400 volunteers to prepare Homebound Mitzvah Program packages for delivery throughout the county, including the coastal communities between South Palm Beach and Boca Raton.
    “I know of no other organization that does this here,” said Greg Goodman, a spokesman for MorseLife. “We are the only ones that deliver free packages that include not only kosher meals and wine, but also prayer books and DVDs of services led by Rabbi Alan Sherman, chaplain at MorseLife, along with caring volunteers who spend quality time with recipients. In fact, organizations that serve seniors, including independent and assisted living residences, synagogues, the county jail and others, rely on us.”
    The program has been around since 1987. It was founded by Marilyn and Stanley Katz, who had nurtured a similar program in New York.
    “The challenge for many of our community’s seniors is the passing of loved ones and friends, or the distance they are from their children, and this is particularly evident over the holiday,” said Linda Sevich, MorseLife’s director of community services. Sevich has been in charge of the program since it began.
    “It has been such an honor for us to be able to bring the joys and traditions of the Jewish New Year to them on what could be the loneliest time of the year for them. It is truly a beautiful mitzvah.”
    MorseLife also delivers kosher meals-on-wheels year-round, a program that has been around for almost 20 years.
    Mitzvah volunteers will meet on Sept. 29 to make deliveries at Temple Torah at 8600 Jog Road in Boynton Beach and on the MorseLife Campus at 4847 Fred Gladstone Drive, off Haverhill Road in West Palm Beach.
    Anyone interested in volunteering — or receiving packages — should call Sevich by Sept. 18 at 282-5388.

    Janis Fontaine, who writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events, is taking a month off. Contact her at

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