By Kavod Senior Life Chaplain, Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav
In Torah, the 50th year is very meaningful. In Leviticus 25, it says: “You shall count off seven weeks of years – seven times seven years…and you shall hallow the fiftieth year. You shall proclaim release (freedom/liberty) throughout the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee (Yovel) for you; each of you shall return to his holding and each of you shall return to his family/clan.”
What this means is that every 50 years, basically 7 x 7+1 years (which falls once in a generation), we take a close look at where there are barriers or restraints to meeting needs and provide “freedom” or a lifting of those barriers. It is a time to forgive debts and reconnect with family. These are revolutionary concepts.
Now that Kavod is looking at its 50th year, it is a time for us to reflect on how we are doing with these ideas for the older adults we serve. It has been hard to provide a lot of relief this year due to the pandemic. Our focus has been on safety and protection. And yet, we know we have done our best in 2021 to make our residents’ lives as joyous as possible through our affordable apartments, family-like atmosphere, health and wellness services, active lifestyle, and more.
It is amazing to think that fifty years ago, a group of philanthropic individuals in the Jewish community saw how they could make a small – but significant – difference by founding Kavod, establishing us as a quality housing community for older citizens regardless of their financial resources. Seeing where we are now, it is radical that not only did they do this for their parents’ generation, but we are now continuing this legacy for a second generation. Our founder’s efforts – along with those in the years to follow — have made Kavod truly a “L’Dor V’Dor” or multi-generational, transformational project.
I have been at Kavod for over a decade now, and I must say that everybody who works here is indeed transformed by the experience of being a part of such a sacred and visionary project, and of course, by our residents themselves.
A parting word: when we finish one chapter of Torah and prepare to move on to the next we say: “Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchacek.” As Kavod prepares to move on to the next fifty years, to everyone in our wider community I similarly say, “May our history give us strength to become an even greater force for good in the future.”