The Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation is proud to be celebrating 50 years of service to our community. To mark this milestone, the Foundation is sharing features about the agencies that make a difference to our lives. This submission focuses on the Bess and Moe Greenberg Family Hillel Lodge.
The Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation was created by a group of caring community philanthropists who wanted to make sure that Jewish Ottawa would always be protected and have the necessary resources to care for its community members. None of those founders could have foreseen that 50 years into its creation, the Foundation would now be helping to protect the community during a pandemic.
And among those most at risk are our beloved seniors. Thankfully, our community is home to the Bess and Moe Greenberg Family Hillel Lodge – the Ottawa Jewish Home for the Aged.
Founded in 1955 by members of Ottawa’s Jewish community, Hillel Lodge opened its doors with 29 beds in 1965 at 125 Wurtemburg Street in the Lowertown neighbourhood in which much of Ottawa’s Jewish community had been concentrated before the community started to spread out across the city.
In 2000, the Bess and Moe Greenberg Family Hillel Lodge moved to its new 100-bed facility – the Joseph and Inez Zelikovitz Long-Term Centre – at 10 Nadolny Sachs Private on Ottawa’s Jewish Community Campus. In 2011, the Lodge expanded by 21 beds to reach its current capacity of 121 residents.
This is a unique long-term care home and the only facility in the city with a mission to offer its services in a traditional Jewish environment. Over the last decade, the Hillel Lodge has received more than $1.5M in allocations from the Foundation. This funding helps keep residents safe and also helps support its unique Jewish environment.
As Ted Cohen, chief executive officer of Hillel Lodge, explains, “The funding we receive from government and from residents to pay for their accommodations covers only a small portion of what we do and the important differentiators that make Hillel Lodge such a special place for our residents – many of whom are the community’s bubbies and zaidies – really comes from donors. It is absolutely critical for us to be able to provide the quality of care, the quality of activities, the quality of food, and the overall Jewish programming to have this funding.”
“Much of the funding we receive from the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation is not tied to any particular project but is allocated to the Jewish character of the home. That may be particular activities that allow us to bring in Jewish folksingers, Jewish activities where children come in from the schools, or the kosher food program.”
The kosher food program, which Cohen says, is funded from a number or sources [including the Foundation], “is one of the biggest differentiators that allows us to operate a Jewish home and have food of a much higher quality than we’d ever be able to have [without the funding], which is one of the few things our residents have to enjoy on a daily basis – and is such an important part of their lives.
“In addition, the increasing needs of our residents for their care could not be met without having donations from all sources, including the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation. We do use some of the Foundation funding to help provide some of the additional care we offer that you wouldn’t find in other long-term care homes. We just could not do what we do without that funding. We are so grateful at Hillel Lodge that the Jewish community has taken us to their hearts and continues to value what we do and to help us fund it... The funding from the Foundation helps us in everything we do.”
Donors who have an endowment fund at the Foundation and direct dollars each and every year to Hillel Lodge, have a variety of motivations. Many have or have had loved ones at the Lodge, but not all. Some are motivated by their love for a cherished Savta or Saba even though they never lived at the Lodge, and others simply have a strong desire to ensure that the most vulnerable receive a high standard of care. Regardless of the reasons for the gift, the funds are supporting the people who need it the most.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the Foundation is hosting a Speakers Series.
Register here to join the talk with Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO, Azrieli Foundation: "A Family Legacy of Philanthropy and Resiliency," Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 4 p.m.
Register here to join the talk with Mark Wilf with Roger Greenberg: “NFL meets CFL and so much more.” A conversation between Mark Wilf (Minnesota Vikings) and Roger Greenberg (Ottawa Redblacks), Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 4 p.m.