July 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Jewish Home At Rockleigh: The Next 100 Years

Rockleigh—Gearing up for its centennial celebration, The Jewish Home Family, organizational parent of Jewish Home at Rockleigh, looks to its past to guide its future. “The founder wanted to create a place where they imagined themselves as the future occupants,” according to its chairman of the board of directors, Eli Ungar. “This has been the thread woven through every endeavor—however large or small—since the home opened in Jersey City almost a century ago.”

Built on love, attention and respect, Jewish Home at Rockleigh has provided high quality care to thousands of North Jersey elderly Jews since 1915, and it is still thriving and making a difference, Ungar attributes continued success to the accumulated wisdom of founders, board members and outstanding professional teams. “We are well positioned today because board member’s efforts over the last decades, in conjunction with some professionals in the organization who really thought about how to position this organization as a long term facility.”

In the business of servicing people, measuring success for the Jewish Home is much more than crunching numbers. “Whatever business you are in, if you do it expertly with an attention to detail, it will resonate with customers, financial planners and donors. What permeates our organization is the mission to do what we do properly and expertly.”

This type of focused, thoughtful caregiving takes many shapes, but at its core, it is meeting the needs of the residents that is the Home’s overarching mandate. “When you think about taking someone who has been living in their own home and now needs the support of being in a facility, like the Jewish Home at Rockleigh, you realize it’s not just a question of who is providing this person with their medication—but also who is filling in for the friends he or she played bridge with on Wednesday nights.”

Concentrating on social and cultural satisfaction is a defining factor at Rockleigh. It’s that feeling of being at home that they strive to emulate since opening their doors. It takes a village to raise a child, and the Jewish Home believes it takes a community to care for the elderly. “There are unbelievable opportunities for young people with skills in technology, and we invite them to help us figure out how to make the digital world accessible to people who did not have a computer in their prior life and don’t know what Skype is or don’t have an iPad. But if the tools are put in place they could visit with their grandchildren every night, even if their grandchildren are living on the other side of the country.”

Getting old is clearly not easy and is not something on people’s radar when they are 20 or 30 or 40—yet those are exactly the demographics Jewish Home at Rockleigh is looking to attract. “Someone without geriatric-related experience, who has a background in technology, could have an enormous impact immediately. We need really smart people sitting around the table putting their heads together and really good things can happen.”

A 40-something-year-old himself, how did Ungar become so passionately involved at the Home? By all accounts, he was a wildly successful large-scale real estate developer, a family man with active membership in Kehilat Kesher of Tenafly/Englewood and Beth Shalom in Teaneck. Why dedicate himself to this organization? Ungar said it took only one visit to become a supporter and invites others to come visit and see the magic that happens every day. “Being born Jewish is one of the luckiest parts of my life. It is a rewarding and defining element of who I think I am. This is a modest investment of time, and for that, I get to work with incredibly intelligent people who have given of themselves to the passion of caring for our elders.”

An agile team of professionals accommodates every level of observance and the vastly differing physical, recreational, social and cultural needs of diverse populations from the active to the health-challenged. Jewish Home Assisted Living is an elegant, comforting facility with 24-hour nursing supervision—with rehabilitation, restorative and therapeutic care available in Rockleigh. The Home is a vibrant environment filled with enriching programs for the more active. If someone is not ready for fully assisted living, there is Jewish Home at Home program designed to help seniors remain at home, well-cared for and secure while they maintain the highest level of independence and quality of life.

Says Ungar, “Receiving a letter of thanks from a family member or spouse for making a home for that parent or spouse is our report card.”

Is Ungar overseeing a form of “changing of the guard?” Given his age and campaign to attract a multigenerational lay team of technical and creative people to innovate and support new meaningful engaging social programs, one might reach that conclusion, but Eli Unger is quick to say “Absolutely not. It’s more like an expansion of the guard. I’ve never seen anything like it before. I am grateful for being introduced to this organization. Part of my job now is to introduce others to it. For me it has been an unbelievable experience.” Ungar points to the inspiration that comes from many visiting students from area schools and youth organizations like the local NCSY, as well as financial support from many private donors of varying Jewish backgrounds and participation from synagogues of all levels of Contemporary Orthodoxy, the culturally affiliated and everything in between, and says there is still room for more volunteers and programs.

One hundred years after it was founded, The Jewish Home Family continues to uphold a place of dignity and respect for the aging as they move the needle forward toward the next one hundred years.

For more info or how to become involved [email protected]

[email protected]

By Elyse Hansford

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles