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By Ava Block Super

As Maxine Fromkin says of her brother Jay :” My brother Jay lived at home until he was 25 years old, and then moved into the first Shalom Residence on Cathedral Avenue almost 30 years ago.  At home the household revolved around Jay, and admittedly he was spoiled.  We did not know how he would react to being moved out of our home.  He would call us every day, for about a week, and then the phone calls became more sparse.  We picked him up every week-end, and he was happy to see us, but would look at his watch, and when it hit 8:00 p.m. he would tell us it was time for him to go home to Shalom!  He said he wanted to be with his “friends”.  His social life is extremely active – he is a party animal – attends concerts, socials, and will NOT miss going to work at Versatech, no matter how ill he may be that day.  He will always say he is “fine”.  We never expected such a smooth transition, and he is HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY.  I pick him up every Sunday, but if I call in mid-week to take him out, he flatly refuses to see me.  My day is Sunday, and the rest of his days are devoted to his friends at Shalom.”

Marsha Friedman, whose brother Barry lives independently in an apartment, echoes similar sentiments:

“Shalom provided Barry with a new lease on life , a quality of life that he never knew before, I am thankful for Shalom’s  menchshlachkeit and fortitude in improving Barry’s life; his life has a purpose and  a structure that it never had before”.

Fay Mount recalls her daughter Jocelyn moving in to Shalom residences at the age of 18:  “There were lots of issues to be ironed out, much education had to happen on both sides. Our very skillful director, Nancy Hughes and Jan Levitt (House Manager )as well as dedicated staff were instrumental in making this happen with no regrets. I worried a lot! “    
Faye goes on to say:  “She has been living with the same group of people for 15 years , She has best friends, people who she cares about, and who care about her, to share birthdays, and lots of social interchange. There is someone to give her a hug everyday.

Shalom Residences Inc. has been committed to improving the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities through community living services since 1978.
Founded by a group of parents and other dedicated volunteers to offer homes within a Jewish milieu, Shalom has grown to support twenty-seven men and women in six houses and four apartments. Many residents are employed.   Each person is assisted to become as self-sufficient as possible and to live a full and active life as part of the mainstream community. Residents of Shalom are regular participants at both Etz Chayim and Temple Shalom Synagogues.  Many residents are employed, and can be seen riding city buses independently to their various places of employment. 

An organization is only as good as the people who run it. Shalom Residences  enjoys a loyal  devoted staff, a cohesive board, and a steadfast, capable,  long term administration at the helm, without whom Shalom  would not have  the  reputation of excellence that it has. 

Provincial government funding covers basic operating expenses for Shalom’s homes and the support of The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg are greatly appreciated.  However, Shalom’s fundraising efforts, such as the Cabaret are essential to ensure the continuation of a high level of service, including committed, caring, trained staff, quality housing, comfortable furnishings, observance of kosher dietary laws, holiday celebrations, vacations and a range of leisure options.    

Building on the success of Cabaret 2009, Shalom will again create a memorable and entertaining evening featuring the local musical talents of The Solutions, along with dancing, a silent auction, snacks, desserts and a cash bar.

On Saturday, November  27th, the” Cabaret “offers an opportunity for the community at large to support Shalom Residences and enjoy a lively, sociable evening at the same time.. As the song says ” come to the cabaret”.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.