November 17, 2018

Party celebrates Jewish Home residents who are 100 years young

You could say it was the party of the century. 

On Sept. 22, National Centenarian Day, the Los Angeles Jewish Home in Reseda threw a birthday party unlike any other: a celebration of its residents ages 100 and older.

And it was a bigger party than you might think — 36 women and two men ranging in age from 100 to 105 were feted for their accomplishment in aging gracefully that puts them in the same ballpark as the Jewish Home itself.

“The home is 104 years old this year,” said CEO Molly Forrest, who spoke following a blessing by Rabbi Karen Bender, Los Angeles Jewish Home director of spiritual life and Grancell Village rabbi. “We thought it was appropriate to take a moment to think about what a long time 100 years is. Out of those who live in the Jewish Home on a long-term basis, 5 percent of our residents are over 100. We believe that every day of life matters and that you take hold of each day with zest and interest and a great attitude.”

The Jewish Home has held its annual Walk of Ages in honor of its centenarians since 2000. This year’s event is slated for Nov. 20 at Woodley Park in Van Nuys. But the birthday bash was a first.

Because even one 100th birthday is a big deal, this occasion merited some serious fanfare. The Schulman Activities Center at Grancell Village was decorated in white and gold balloons. White and gold linens and vases of fresh flowers dressed up round tables where the guests of honor — dressed to the nines — mingled with family members and staff while a pianist played. 

The 36 women honorees wore colorful corsages on their wrists. The men donned boutonnieres. Waiters served scones and berries plus slices of chocolate birthday cake.

In addition to Forrest, speakers included California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Encino), as well as representatives for Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who each presented every centenarian with special certificates. 

“Unbelievable!” said Albert Weber, 102, upon receiving his certificates. “I hope I’m deserving.”

Like many of the centenarians, Weber credited his long life not principally to exercise or diet but something more intangible. 

“It’s not what you eat,” the former entrepreneur said. “It’s what’s eating you. Attitude is very important. Every word that comes out of your mouth should be positive.”