In the Jewish religion, 13 holds special significance. That is the age when a boy has his bar mitzvah and a girl her bat mitzvah.
In Summerlin, 13 is significant in another way. This year marks Temple Beth Sholom’s 13th year of hosting its L’Dor V’Dor outreach program, which opens its doors to homebound and assisted living seniors for a free luncheon.
L’Dor V’Dor means generation to generation. It’s a way to honor seniors. The next one is set for 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Sept. 17 at Temple Beth Sholom, 10700 Havenwood Lane.
The event offers seniors socializing and a free, catered lunch provided by Spiedini Ristorante owner and master chef Gustav Mauler. On Sept. 17, attendees will be entertained by students and a professional entertainer still to be announced. The event includes transportation.
Although it’s put on by a Jewish temple, L’Dor V’Dor is open to people of all faiths. In fact, 60 percent of those who attend are not Jewish.
“A lot of people are reluctant because they think it’s going to be Jewish, and they’re afraid they’re going to be embarrassed because they don’t know what to expect,” said Shel Kolner, who has been the L’Dor V’Dor coordinator since it was established. “But I’d tell them, ‘Just come and relax. We don’t do anything special. We just want you to have a good time.’ ”
This year, more than 200 people are expected. One year, more than 250 attended.
Dozens of people help organize the event. Assisted living facilities must be contacted, shuttle buses arranged, the social hall prepared and volunteer greeters, escorts and food servers signed up.
The program used to be held as many as six times a year, usually around events such as High Holy Days, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot, “but we can’t afford to do it as much as we used to,” Kolner said. “We used to do it around High Holy Days, and about two weeks after that would be a harvest celebration … we don’t do that anymore because there’s really no time to recover. We did that for four or five years like that, and then we realized we were killing ourselves.”
While most guests arrive on the provided buses from the various residential facilities, individual rides are provided for those who are unable to get to Temple Beth Sholom on their own.
“We register everyone who comes in the door, and we give them a name tag so we can call them by name,” he said.
Why is it important to make people feel welcome?
“Because as they get older and lose family and have friends move far away, it’s nice to have someone say, ‘Welcome, how nice to see you,’ ” he said. “ It’s so important that these people who have lived in their communities for a number of years, that they get some sort of respect.”
If someone has a birthday, it’s announced over the loudspeaker by Elaine Jacobs, a program volunteer.
To find seniors, the temple sends faxes and emails to about 65 assisted living communities in Las Vegas. Plus, more than 100 individuals who are homebound receive letters announcing the event. Kolner said the team needs to know of people who are homebound. Those are the hardest ones to learn about so they can be invited.
“We know of some of the housebound, but there has to be a lot more out there that we don’t know about,” he said.
Reservations are required by Sept. 12. If you are a homebound or facility-bound senior, or if you know of one who would like to participate, call Elaine Jacobs, L’Dor V’Dor volunteer, at 702-228-0247.
When making a reservation, indicate if transportation is required. Individuals who arrive on their own must have a reservation.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.