The Story Of A Day In The Klein JCC

Left to Right: Angela Stewart, certified registered nurse practitioner in the Klein JCC Wellness Center, Abram K (Israeli visitor), Dr. Harvey Spector (DO), Einstein Healthcare primary care physician in the Wellness Center.

— by Andre Krug

Last Saturday morning an elderly gentleman walked into Klein JCC carrying a suitcase and accompanied by a cab driver. The cab driver explained to a person at the front desk that he picked up the gentleman at the airport and that the gentleman flew to Philadelphia from Tel Aviv. He proceeded to say that the man didn’t speak any English, only Hebrew and Russian and that the relatives who reside in Philadelphia have refused to take him in. When the gentleman mentioned he was Jewish the driver took him to the only Jewish place he knew: Klein JCC. With that, the cab driver left. The gentleman (Abram K.) told the bi-lingual staff at the front desk that he left a paralyzed wife in Tel Aviv to come to the US to seek medical care for his glaucoma because the waiting time to see a doctor in Israel is far too long and he’s going blind fast.

To make the long story short, we immediately sent a social worker on Saturday morning to see Abram. With the help of the bi-lingual front desk staff she explained to Abram his options, made reservations to a near-by hotel and gave him food that we serve through our Cook for a Friend program.

More after the jump.
Our social worker picks him up in the morning from the hotel and brings him to our Russian senior services program that provide a lunch and various classes to our Russian-speaking seniors. We contacted his wife in Tel Aviv to tell her he was fine. Tomorrow he will see a specialist from the Wills Eye Hospital as a part of the collaborative program we run with that hospital and the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging for our seniors. He’ll also be seen by Dr. Harvey Spector in our Wellness Center. Abram will stay here until January 22. Klein has evolved from being a typical “gym and swim” to something that’s much greater than that — the agency that profoundly affects peoples’ lives.

Some Pennsylvanians Need Not Wait To Nov. To Vote For President

Philadelphia area Russian citizens vote in Russian Presidential Election at Klein JCC, Saturday, March 3

Russian citizens residing within the Philadelphia area will cast their ballots in the Russian presidential election through a special voting center set up in Room 218 at the Klein JCC, located at 10100 Jamison Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia, on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Candidates in this presidential election are:

  • Vladimir Putin (United Russia),
  • Gennady Zyuganov (Communist),
  • Sergey Mironov (A Just Russia aka Social Democrat),
  • Vladimir Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democrat), and
  • Mikhail Prokhorov (Independent).

The special election center is being established through the Russian consulate in New York City. Voters in Russia will go to the polls on March 4.

Saving the Stiffel Center

“Save Our Stiffel” is the name of a newly-formed group dedicated to keeping the Jacob & Esther Stiffel Senior center, 604 Porter Street in South Philadelphia, from closing due to lack of funds.

Programs held at the Stiffel Center include classes in Yiddish; art, poetry and music classes; cultural and travel experiences; health and exercise programs; traditional holiday programs; daily hot kosher lunches; fitness and wellness classes; medial and legal advice; chaplaincy services; and a thrift shop.

Laurel Katz, actor and radio host, is part of the effort; “No one had organized,” she recalls, “a committee to raise the funds that are needed, because we found  out fairly recently that that Stiffel is operating on a $200 thousand annual deficit, and they need $200 thousand by June 30th, and a promise for future funding, because they want to close it.” The Stiffel Center is a branch of the Klein JCC.

More after the jump.
“There were sort of reasons why,” the Stiffel clients were late in being informed of the closing, adds Katz, “It’s a little confusing and unclear, but the way I went into this is to not think about what happened in the past and what brought us here, but what can we do now, immediately, right away, to remedy this problem, to keep the center open, and that’s my sole focus.”

The committee to save the Stiffel, says Katz, has formed very recently, and “We since have a press release, and we are called ‘Save Our Stiffel’, SOS. No one had really organized something, there wasn’t any organized group, and now there is, and the word is out. We are organized, and we had a very encouraging meeting with a lot of very passionate people, and also people that are very plugged into assorted places in the community. We’re in the process of drawing up a packet to present to people who have the ability to write decent checks, because really, $200 thousand is not a lot of money. If someone wants to write a $200 thousand check, we’ll name the auditorium after them.”

The packet, says Katz, will tell the history of the Stiffel Center, “with the immigrants of South Philadelphia, not just Jews, (but including) the Italian community, and we’re going to get that out to whoever we can.” The packet will focus on people who can write big checks. Along with this will be a more grassroots approach, with such ideas as a concert at the center and a silent auction. “It’s going to be like a blitz,” says Katz, “it has to be because of the time issue.”

Stay tuned to the Philadelphia Jewish Voice for further developments as they occur.