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Author: Sydney Clevenger

Our Torahs are Home!

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

They’re back! Yes, after 2.5 years in Florida, the two Cedar Sinai Park Torahs out for repair are back on campus and ready to ring in 5784.

“The Torahs have had a wonderful vacation in Miami, and now they’re back!” said Eddy Shuldman, board trustee and spiritual life committee chairperson. “We are the people of the book. Our story as a people, and the guidelines for how we should live our lives, is contained within those scrolls. It’s hard to describe the emotions we feel welcoming our Torahs home again.”

Cedar Sinai Park’s three Torahs were inspected by a sofer for the first time in 2019, thanks to the generosity of Marcy Tonkin. Suffering from cracks and smudges, two of the Torahs were taken by plane for repair by Rabbi Menachem Bialo, who checked one Torah (without its staves), and packed the other Torah in his carry on bag.

Plans for Rabbi Bialo or another sofer to bring the repaired Torahs back to Oregon kept getting waylaid, primarily due to Covid, and so it was decided that the Torahs should be mailed back instead.

We are grateful to Rabbi Michael and Cantor Ida Rae Cahana, and Aki and Devora Fleshler, who generously provided the postage to help us get our Torahs safely across the country!

One of the Torahs just repaired is a “vuv,” a 21-inch heavyweight Torah scroll written in a Good Bet Yoseph Sephard script approximately 50 to 60 years ago in Israel.

The other Torah repaired is our 16.25″ lightweight Torah scroll written in a Good Bet Yoseph script approximately 120 years ago in Germany.

“The Torahs needed repairs to fix cracking and faded letters, as well as “airing out” in a climate-controlled space,” said Eddy.

The Nudelman family generously donated one of the Torahs in 1997 in memory of Alysmae Nudelman, and “the fact that there are Nudelmans living with us now, makes the Torahs coming home even more special,” said Eddy.

The latter Torah, the smaller one, had to be reassembled upon arrival, since its staves were removed for the flight to Florida, and were still off for the trip home.

Staff and residents used sinew and instructions provided by Rabbi Bialo to re-attach the parchment to the stave through three small holes.

“My dad was a tailor,” said Eddy. “I should have been paying attention!”

Then, the group carefully rolled the Torah through the five books of the Old Testament to re-attach the stave similarly on the other end.

“What an experience!” said resident Jeanine. “This is an honor.”

Agreed resident Ruth: “Isn’t this something? This is so moving.”

Noted resident Eve: “I have read from Torahs that aren’t nearly as legible. I’m impressed with the writing. This is so readable.”

Finally, the group put the Torahs in their beautiful covers, and placed them back in the ark in Cogan Chapel.

“There’s something lovely about this gathering because it integrates the holiness of sacred work with having fun,” said Spiritual Life Director Cathy Zheutlin. “This experience is priceless.”

All are welcome to attend a special celebration/re-dedication of the two repaired Torahs, at a Saturday, October 7, Simchat Torah observance in Zidell Hall that begins at 7 p.m.

We still have one Torah on campus that needs repair! There is now a dedicated Torah/Judaica Fund to which people can contribute for the religious and spiritual upkeep of the Torahs and prayer books, through the Cedar Sinai Park Foundation.



What to Consider in an Elder Community

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

By Sydney Clevenger

First impressions count, and that’s an adage especially true when searching for an elder living community.

To truly recognize a community as home, there are several elements one should experience when first walking through the door of an elder living facility, said Cedar Sinai Park Community Program Director Jennifer Felberg.

The first perception, said Felberg, should be the environment.

“Many of our visitors to Rose Schnitzer Manor immediately comment on the lightness and brightness and homey-ness of our active assisted living community, which sets the tone for the rest of the experience,” she said. “You want an environment that’s uplifting and warm, with small and large spaces for privacy, comfort, and personalization.”

To be known, have a sense of well-being and fulfillment, and to have a voice are essential tenets at Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living, and those values should be felt walking through every beautiful space, said Felberg.

“People in a tight-knit community know one another, and are known by others,” she said. “If I were looking for a promising elder living community, I’d observe whether the leadership is visible. I’d also pay attention to whether staff smile and greet each other, which indicates they know and support one another, and are integral members of our community.”

Knowing each person is a core value of the Pioneer Network, a New York -based advocacy group championing a culture of aging in which individual voices are heard and choices are respected, no matter the environment.

“You want to see that residents and their home are honored and respected,” said Felberg. “Our community of residents should always feel comfortable not only in the privacy of their apartment, but in all of the public spaces, as well.

“Is there somewhere folks can look out the window at the beautiful gardens, visit over a cup of coffee in a comfy chair, or do a puzzle?” asked Felberg. “Group activities are important, too, but a fully engaged life is demonstrated by how people are choosing to spend their unstructured time, or have opportunities for spontaneity.”

Felberg said communities should strive to ensure elders feel like they belong, and are developing meaningful relationships with the people sharing their living environment.

“Look for whether residents and caregivers also are developing joyful connections,” she said. “Connections are what creates a culture of community, and the importance of a community’s culture cannot be underscored enough.”

Noticing whether a community is welcoming and whether there are people of all colors and nationalities and religions is another view to take when touring a community.

Added Felberg: “A welcoming, diverse community with the Jewish values of love, honor, and respect are the backbone of our culture of community, and it is a difference you can feel.”


Pets Bring Joy at Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

By Sydney Clevenger, with research from Arlene Layton

When resident Elaine was looking for active assisted living, she was adamant that her poodle-mix, Nettie, was coming with her.

“I got Nettie when she was 10, and I’ve had her five years, so she’s 50,” said Elaine, of her apricot-colored fluffy friend.

Nettie often attends singing with the Mazel Tones, politely resting under Elaine’s chair, blinking sweetly at other residents and is unperturbed by the piano.

“She’s the only daughter I have,” said Elaine. “She is good company, and brings love to everyone here at Rose Schnitzer Manor.”

According to a recent study sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons, more than half of older adults (55%) reported having a pet. Pet owners said their pets help them enjoy life (88%), feel loved (86%), reduce stress (79%), provide a sense of purpose (73%), and help them stick to a routine (62%).

Respondents also reported that pets connect them with others, help them stay physically active, and help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms, including taking their mind off pain.

Resident Marie brought her seven-year-old adopted shelter cats, Cricket and Panda, to Rose Schnitzer Manor when she moved in, and said having pets was definitely a factor in her decision about where to live.

“It was definitely a benefit,” said Marie, with a laugh. I’m not sure which was more important: having the cats, or having intelligent people!”

Marie agrees that her animals help with socialization.

“My cats communicate with me, and they will tell me what they want and what they need. I was down on the first floor one day, and there was a whole group of people having a great conversation about my cat,” said Maire. “People also come up to my room to see the cats. The cats love to lay on the carpet and look out the window at the birds.”

Having a cherished pet should not be a barrier to moving to assisted living, said Rose Schnitzer Manor Administrator Rachael White.

“Elders should be assured that the right facility will welcome their pet,” she said. “At Rose Schnitzer Manor, we have 27 acres upon which residents can walk their pet, and we also allow pets in residents’ rooms. We even allow pet visitations if a resident is caring for someone else’s pet.”

Rachael added that pets become part of the community and are not only a comfort to residents, but also to the staff.

“Our team loves to hear the cats purr and to pet the dogs. It’s truly like being in the comfort of home.”



The Joy of Downsizing

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

We all have precious mementos and items collected over the years. How can we downsize to create a life with room for what matters?

Rose Schnitzer Manor Assisted Living presents Stephanie Brandt, marketing manager for Soft Landings Solutions for Seniors.

Stephanie will share steps for how to get started with downsizing, along with resources for donating and selling possessions, and relatable examples of seniors who have downsized.


Rabbi Barry Cohen Offers Connection, Support

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

The Jewish community chaplain, Rabbi Barry Cohen, is going to be spending more time at Cedar Sinai Park!

“Before Covid, Rabbi Barry used to come to breakfast once a week to spend time with the residents and have conversations,” said Spiritual Life Coordinator Cathy Zheutlin. “Now that Covid is on the wane, he will be here for one-to-one visits throughout the campus every Monday. In addition to occasionally leading Shabbat and other holiday services, he’ll offer some educational opportunities.”

Rabbi Barry grew up in Memphis, but was in the Midwest for school and much of his career. He and his family moved to Oregon in 2018, and Rabbi Barry joined the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland as its community chaplain.

Besides Cedar Sinai Park, Rabbi Barry visits seniors at 11 other retirement communities in the Portland area.

“A lot of people feel like they are on the outside looking in when they are Jewish living at a non-Jewish facility,” he said. “There are definitely times during the year when Jewish residents in non-Jewish facilities feel very lonely.

“In elder communities all across the city, people are really looking for connections. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the same or different religion, most elders are looking for someone to spend time with them.

“You never know what kind of interaction you’re going to have,” added Rabbi Barry. “Sometimes, it’s surface level, and other times it’s a very engaging conversation, and then once we have a personal connection, it can go deeper into the spiritual arena.”

“What I’m offering is support, where I’m present and actively listening, being as compassionate as possible.”

Robison Jewish Health Center/Harold Schnitzer Center for Living resident David Cohen (no relation to Rabbi Barry) said the Rabbi’s visits are wonderful. “I never really went to synagogue, but it’s nice to be able to talk to a rabbi,” he said.

“This is a good place,” said Rabbi Barry. “I like how it’s filled with a diversity of residents, but at the same time, you know you’re walking into a Jewish space.

“When you meet the residents and find out where they’re from, it doesn’t take long before you’ve made a connection. And then that connection leads to a conversation with someone else, and then that leads to a class you’re teaching on a Jewish topic or a worship service you’re leading, and the conversation goes from there.

“It’s hard to quantify, but when you walk into Rose Schnitzer Manor, it feels different here.”


The Importance of Socialization for Seniors

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Even for elders blessed with a large family providing regular support, peer to peer socialization is a critical aspect of senior health that many people overlook.

“Seniors living alone often struggle with depression,” said Deborah Elliott, longtime marketing consultant in the senior living industry. “We see this often when a spouse dies, and the isolation brought about by Covid did not help our aging parents feel connected if they were living at home alone.”

Senior living communities provide an opportunity for regular social interaction, as much or as little as seniors decide they want and need.

Elliott remembers a prospective resident who was in post-acute care at Robison Jewish Health Center after a significant cardiac event and was ready for discharge. She was advised not to go home by herself, and her family wanted her to have access to medical care around the clock, treatment they could not provide.

“She had a great big family, all living in the Portland area, really supportive, and they all brought her over to Rose Schnitzer Manor to meet with me,” said Elliott. “And after our tour, the mom said to me privately that she was not moving in. She said she’d stay for a month or two, and then she was going home.

“So, we made that ‘the plan.’ I told her she could drive the bus, so to speak, and make the decision regarding how long to stay with us. As long as the healthcare team was confident about her returning home to live on her own after a month or so, she could do so.

“The family did a great job decorating her apartment to make it feel like home and I saw her almost every day,” added Elliott.

“After a couple of months, I found her in the art studio painting. I reminded her that she had been with us for more than two months, and asked what happened to her going home.

“She looked at me and said, “I know. I really like it here. Is it okay if I stay?

“It reminded me that even though the resident had the support she needed from the health services team and her family, what was essential for her mental and emotional and spiritual well-being were the relationships that she forged while she was in assisted living.

“She was so busy meeting and helping others, that her kids couldn’t get her on the phone, which is exactly what they had wanted for her because she had been isolated and alone before her heart event.”

The lesson, said Elliott, is that elders need regular socialization with their peers, beyond the love and support of family or caregivers. Elders who have experienced the recent loss of a partner or friend, are especially susceptible to depression. Other signs of intense sadness that may need medical intervention include feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.

The need for socialization is one key indicator for seniors when they and their families are determining whether it’s time to move to assisted living.

Late-life depression affects about six million Americans ages 65 and older, according to WebMD, but only 10 percent receive treatment.

“Even in the most loving and attentive family, seniors can feel adrift and lonely if they do not have access to people their own age to whom they can relate and connect with day to day,” said Elliott. “It’s important to remember that depression in older people can be overlooked when dealing with the effects of many illnesses, disabilities, and medications.

“It’s important to be watchful of a sadness that lasts longer than usual, and to seek medical help if there are any doubts.”




Margaret Leontyev: A Working Interview

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

It’s not always easy to chase down Margaret Leontyev. She not only moves fast, but the longtime catering manager has many different projects that she is working on, all at the same time. We ended up chatting while Margaret multi-tasked.

“Events are a big part of my job,” said Margaret, as she moves toward her computer.  “We organize and prepare everything, set up, and then clean up afterwards.  For some events we will also help serve as well.”

Margaret opens her spreadsheets to share the hundreds of invoices she codes, signs, and tracks monthly for both sides of campus, and then sends to accounting.  Margaret loves crunching the numbers. Each month she also creates reports on spending.

Human Resources Director Geneva Dougal says people are always talking about Margaret’s wonderfulness and how amazing her spreadsheets look. “If Margaret’s ears are itching,” said Geneva, “it’s because people are always saying nice things about her. She is brilliant.”

Margaret and her husband Andrey came to the United States from Lithuania in the late 1990s to join Andrey’s six sisters and two brothers who had earlier moved to the states.  In 2014, Andrey’s mother (who is now 93), also joined the rest of her family as she flew in from Ukraine.

Cedar Sinai Park was the first job offer that Margaret received in the United States.  Formally trained as a civil engineer in Lithuania, Margaret started as a server at Rose Schnitzer Manor when it opened its doors in January of 1998.

Ten years ago, Margaret became catering manager, and in January she celebrated her 25th year at Cedar Sinai Park.

“I like it here,” said Margaret. “The philosophy of Jewish facility to respect, to love, and to be kind; I truly support what we stand for.  And the friendships that we have formed with everyone truly makes this job so fulfilling and rewarding.”

Was there ever a time in 25 years when Margaret wasn’t busy?!

“No, never,” she says. “It’s not in my character to not do something. I like people who work hard and who pursue goals.”

Did the 25 years go fast?

“Yes, very fast. We have had hard times, and we have had good times,” Margaret says, smiling.

It’s probably no surprise that when Margaret leaves Cedar Sinai Park for the day, she goes home to cook.

“I’m always cooking,” she said. “We have a big family [three grandchildren now] and a fruit tree orchard. We are planting tomatoes and cucumbers, and I am canning, making sauerkraut for winter.”

“Margaret is always helping, even if you don’t ask,” says Dusanka, over the whirr of the blender.

Dusanka has also been with Cedar Sinai Park in food service for many decades, and added: “Margaret is so dedicated. She always jumps in to help and she makes sure everything is done. I’ve seen her line up tables and tablecloths in Zidell Hall; and they have to be just right before she is satisfied.

“Margaret will never walk away from an event until it’s perfect. She really deserves to have her story told.”






Volunteer Brings Joy to Residents Through Music

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Watching our slender volunteer Alan Moses lug his 21-pound accordion through the halls of Cedar Sinai Park to then set it on his knee for a playing and singing session with the residents is truly a lesson in dedication.

“It still feels like I’m wrestling an octopus every time I strap this thing on,” said the self-deprecating Alan, with a chuckle, as he nibbled an apple between gigs at our Home. “I found some great videos on accordion ergonomics, and I’m working my technique, but I think the main thing is just not to play too many hours in one day.”

Alan is typically at Cedar Sinai Park once or twice a week, in between playing for a hospice group, and helping to care for his pre-teen grandchildren.

“Knowing viscerally that you have made a difference in a person’s life is a great experience,” said Alan. “I knew as soon as I retired that I wanted to find an avenue to give back.

“I like to envision myself as helping, but it’s such a great feeling for me; it just feels good to do.

This National Volunteer Week, please thank our beloved Cedar Sinai Park volunteers, like Alan, who help us daily with the care and support of residents.

Alan grew up in the Santa Barbara area in a musical family, and learned to play the piano as a child, participating in bands and other group settings. As a young parent attending camping festivals, he was frustrated that his given instrument was not portable and that he couldn’t participate. Then in the early 1990s, his wife Nancy Friedland found him an accordion.

“The right hand of the accordion is similar to the piano,” said Alan. “The biggest difference is that the accordion is a wind instrument. So, if you run out of breath in the bellows, it doesn’t make any noise. So that took me a while to get my head around. And then the left-hand buttons are quite different than anything I’d ever used.

“My right hand feels at home, and my left hand feels lost. It’s kind of an interesting challenge. I still feel like a bit of a duffer.”

Alan’s audiences certainly don’t agree with that assessment. “Oooohhh, I love that song,” said Ruby, as Alan charges into a rousing verse of Yankee Doodle Dandy.

“The accordion looks funny,” said Alan. “It puts people at ease.”

Alan and Nancy used to perform at senior centers in California (Nancy plays the mandolin). The couple moved to Portland in 2014 with the birth of their second grandchild. Both retired—Alan said he was in “middle management at a university”—he began volunteering as a musical companion for bedside visits to a hospice organization.

“My mother moved at the same time we did. She said ‘you can run, but you can’t hide!’ Eager for a change since Alan’s father had died a handful of years previously, Marilyn Moses called Rose Schnitzer Manor on her own and made a reservation for a guest visit. After two weeks, she said, ‘do I have to go back?’”

Marilyn lived at Rose Schnitzer Manor from 2014 to mid-2020 when she unexpectedly had a stroke.

She loved the place, the quality of care she got from everyone,” said Alan. “This place does an incredible job of staffing so she had a last good phase of her life while she was here. I am just so impressed with this organization.”

After Marilyn passed, Alan began volunteering for Nancy Heckler [Adult Day Services Director] on the Robison side of campus, and he has steadily bumped up his volunteer time ever since.

“It’s not performance; it’s about getting everyone to participate and comfortable with the singing, and the chatting in between,” said Alan.

“Being able to bring music to people in various times of their life is very gratifying. The benefits of music become really visible.

“When my wife’s dad was in cognitive decline, we would play for him. He was no longer able to remember Nancy’s name, but he could recall every word of the folk songs. We were able to see how much the music brought to him. At a time when he was confused, he could sing a song and feel competent.

“I learned a lot of the songs from my parents,” added Alan, “so there’s a feeling of connection there with my family, too.

“I feel connected to this place, as well. It’s one of the things that keeps me coming every week.”




Sonia Liberman

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

It’s Doctor, Actually

Sonia Liberman, a diminutive great-grandmother living at Rose Schnitzer Manor, quietly lives her life as a national treasure. Unassuming and dainty at 4’9”, you might imagine she is a delicate flower; demure and quiet. But her life story belies her appearance.

She is one of less than 100 Holocaust survivors whose oral history has ever been archived at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Her extraordinary story is also immortalized in Washington, D.C., at the United States Memorial  Holocaust Museum.

Yet this remarkable story is not all that makes Sonia shine. What she accomplished and became—in the wake of such a history—makes her truly extraordinary.

Sonia— then Sonia Berkowitz—was born into the dark world of early 1930s Poland. Her family, owners of grain mills, served as leaders in the Jewish community of Kletsk. (Kletsk, not often known, is actually within Minsk, where so many Ashkenazi Jews claim ancestry.)

In 1940, Sonia’s family’s mills and income were misappropriated by the Nazis, and the entire Jewish community was forced into a ghetto. Her parents, filled with foreboding about what was to come, moved Sonia and her two older siblings to the farm of a family friend—“Uncle Kashemish.”

Kashemish, though not Jewish, was a progressive teacher who had previously lived with the family while running a school in Kletsk and had grown to care deeply for the Berkowitz’s. Sonia’s parents fervently hoped she and her siblings would be safer on his rural farm. Her father extracted a promise from Kashemish: that he would do all he possibly could to care for the children and ensure their survival.

Initially, Sonia and her two siblings were safer on the farm. But in the autumn of 1940, her older brother and sister decided to return to their parents’ home in Kletsk simply for the High Holidays. Sonia, they felt, was too young to travel through treacherous forests by night with them. They left the farm and never returned. Along with Sonia’s parents, they were rounded up and brutally murdered by the Nazis between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur,. Sonia, now orphaned, was only seven.

Somehow, Kashemish always “stayed three steps ahead of the Gestapo.”

Kashemish kept his word and somehow, “always stayed three steps ahead of the Gestapo,” Sonia reports. At his own peril, Kashemish shifted her from farm to farm and family to family throughout the War, a young, grammar-school-aged Jewish girl undercover, pretending to be a Christian.

Sonia slept in the woods of the Black Forest, learned to gather milk and eggs from cows and chickens, moved quietly and quickly in the night, and was shuttled from convents to orphanages to worse—families dependent on her for grueling child labor but withholding all but an occasional crusty bread.

Somehow, she survived. Yet once liberated following the war, her story did not become appreciably easier. As an orphan, she was transported through Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, each in turn rejecting her and children like her, until she finally landed at an orphanage in France.

Sonia ultimately made her way from there to Israel, finding distant relatives of her parents. As a young adult in then-Palestine, she met her future husband, soon married, went on to have three children, and eventually made her way to the United States with a growing family.

“I felt I have to survive.”

It would make sense if someone with Sonia’s history became embittered, distrusting, pessimistic. Instead, Sonia determined she had to bring good into the world.

“I felt I have to survive,” she says. “I wanted to start my own family to replace the family I lost. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know if it would happen, but that was my plan.”

Sonia had never learned to read and write as her would-be school years were all spent in hiding. But she learned. She received her bachelor of arts degree at University of Judaism the same year her son Gershon received his (aka Gary, Technical Services Director for Oregon State Hospital). “My father told me I would be a good teacher,” she says simply, “so that’s what I did.”

She went on to acquire a master’s in Judaic Studies and became a one-woman Jewish teaching institution. She instructed day school and Hebrew School students for 50 years across Los Angeles. She moved to Portland in 2017 to be closer to Gary and his wife Esther (a bead artist and member of ORA Northwest Jewish Artists), and into Rose Schnitzer Manor.

Instead of becoming cynical and disillusioned with humanity, Sonia’s dark youth intersected with a scrappy, discerning personality, tenaciously turning her into someone always seeking to be a mensch—a good human.

“I am not the best person in the world,” she admits, “but I try to be good to people. G-d gave us good and bad,” she adds.

“When I see someone who is homeless, for instance, I don’t judge. We are not better, smarter, than they are. We shouldn’t judge. We need to ask, ‘What happened to them to make them this way?’ There is always a reason,” she insists, having long been traumatized and homeless herself.

Ever the master educator, Sonia now visits students at local high schools, sharing the history and truth of the Holocaust. She offers messages we would all do well to heed:

“If you strongly believe in justice, fight for it. Stand up. Not with your fist—if you are able to do so, talk and reach resolution. Talk. You have to try. But,” she raises a finger as a caveat, insistent, “in Judaism you only have to ask forgiveness three times. If the third time someone is not willing to forgive you, that’s their problem, not yours!”

She lives her words and has been known to “get in trouble” for ceaselessly defending others. She will take someone aside and tell them, “’That was not right, you embarrassed that person in front of other people. You should apologize. I will nag you until you apologize!’ And you know what? They do. They apologize!”

“’Ima, do you have to fight so much for justice all the time?’” she says her son Gary asks her, “’Can’t you leave it alone, even sometimes?’”

“I can’t,” Sonia confesses, shaking her head. “I am a human and I have rights too. if I am here in this world, I should at least speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Prep Cook Appreciates Cedar Sinai Park Love

Written by: Sydney Clevenger

Trevor Richen grew up in Portland in the food world. His great grandfather owned Griffin’s, a 1970s “cafeteria” in downtown Portland, where his parents and extended family worked before Trevor was born. The prep cook/dietary aide considers himself a foodie.

“I like everything,” said Trevor, wearing one of his stylin’ baseball hats and duds after a shift. “I’m a sucker for pizza, but I also love branching out. I love Mexican food, Thai, Chinese. And I like to cook.”

Trevor even took a 16-week culinary class, which brought him to Cedar Sinai Park in December of 2021.

“My culinary class was led by Chef Jon who used to work here, and he recommended I apply for a job. I already lived here [at Kehillah] and he put in a good word for me with Andy [Staggs, culinary services director].

“Andy contacted me and scheduled an interview, which was literally right after I graduated from the class.

“I love it here,” said Trevor. “It’s the best decision I ever made. And the second-best decision was living at Kehillah.

“I love being around the people, coworkers, and the residents. I think being amongst a community that’s full of good vibes and love is really big. It makes things easy.

“And my parents can tell I’m happy, and they are truly indebted to this place.”

Trevor grew up in Portland and attended Madison and Wilson (now Ida B. Wells) High Schools, the latter of which was a family tradition (his grandfather was in the first Wilson graduating class).  He moved into Kehillah when it opened 10 years ago for adults with developmental disabilities. Located on the Cedar Sinai Park campus, Kehillah supports resident inclusion within the community through social activities and employment assistance.

Previous to Cedar Sinai Park, Trevor worked as a dishwasher at St. Honore Bakery, and had to get up at 5 a.m. to take the bus to Northwest Portland. Covid closed St. Honore, and Trevor was out of work for a few months, then returned to St. Honore from May to August 2021, until he began his culinary course.

“I like that I can walk now literally straight up the hill, and don’t have to take the bus to work,” said Trevor.

Trevor’s favorite part of Cedar Sinai Park?

“I like working with people and getting to know everybody. Seeing everyone smiling because of the food we make is great. And I really like the vibe here; everybody’s just really, really nice and is in good spirits.

“Everybody’s always good to me. I can’t really pinpoint one thing. This place is really amazing for me. I love working here. I think my parents can see that I’m happy, and working in a place that I love.”

Trevor typically works Thursday through Monday. During the recent snowstorm, he had no trouble getting to work so he picked up extra shifts and hours for colleagues who could not make it in.

In his off time, Trevor loves to write and paint and listen to music such as classic rock, reggae, or hip hop. He is an avid exerciser and goes to the Jewish Community Center to lift weights and shoot baskets. He loves to talk hockey!

What’s the best meal on campus?

“I really like when we do the spaghetti with meat sauce,” said Trevor. “I’m a sucker for meat sauce.”

Trevor is a favorite on campus if you want a hug or a good listening ear.

“All of the people here are really cordial and sweet,” he said. “I enjoy it here. It’s probably one of the best places to work.”


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