South Hills club brings sunshine to seniors
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Senior livingChabad of the South Hills

South Hills club brings sunshine to seniors

“It is really just to bring them happiness — sunshine and a smile,”

Reuben Abromowitz and Hilda McNabb enjoy their time together at a summer seniors luncheon at Chabad of  the South Hills. (Photo courtesy of Batya Rosenblum)
Reuben Abromowitz and Hilda McNabb enjoy their time together at a summer seniors luncheon at Chabad of the South Hills. (Photo courtesy of Batya Rosenblum)

It’s called “The Sunshine Club,” and it’s making a difference in the lives of senior citizens in Pittsburgh’s South Hills.

Batya Rosenblum is the spouse of Rabbi Mendy Rosenblum, with whom she co-directs Chabad of the South Hills. The concept of the Sunshine Club, she said, is simple: to organize visits and gift drops with Pittsburghers living in senior care facilities.

“It is really just to bring them happiness — sunshine and a smile,” she said.

Though the visits and delivery of gifts slowed during the height of the pandemic, they are gradually coming back, facility by facility.

Another senior program Rosenblum has championed is “A Taste Of,” as in “A Taste of Shabbat” or “A Taste of the High Holidays.” Each program includes a craft or the singing of relevant songs, as well as a nosh on foods related to the particular holiday.

“That’s been something that we’ve been doing a while. and it’s been very nicely received,” she said.

Chabad of the South Hills also hosts monthly senior luncheons, where they welcome older Pittsburghers who are still able to drive to its Mt. Lebanon location.

Shabbat care packages for seniors from Chabad of the South Hills (Photo courtesy of Batya Rosenblum)
“It’s something we started as a place for seniors to have an outing and a luncheon, a kosher luncheon,” she said.

Chabad of the South Hills also has hosted informational events with organizations such as the Mt. Lebanon Police Department and held miniature immunization clinics, she added.

One of Rosenblum’s main projects, though, is creating and delivering baskets. She organizes them around a theme — say, a Shabbat meal — and includes little must-haves like grape juice and a loaf of challah. She delivers them to older Pittsburghers living in care facilities and always makes sure to follow whatever COVID-related rules are in place.

The message of sharing Jewish-themed items with the elderly has deep roots for Rosenblum. When she was growing up, she frequently visited senior care facilities and sang for audiences there.

“It was something I saw make such a big difference,” she told the Chronicle. “It’s really bringing the joy of Judaism to a wider demographic.”
Rosenblum is always looking for volunteers, particularly now as she is preparing her High Holidays-themed baskets.

“Support from the community,” she said, “will make that go farther.” PJC

Justin Vellucci is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh.

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