Rabbi Michael Wolff
Maimonides and Jewish Eldercare
Respect. It pervades every exchange Rabbi Michael Wolff has with residents and their families, say the staff who are privileged to work with him at Maimonides and Jewish Eldercare.
“His demeanor towards residents is always kind, gentle and caring,” says Lucy Bridgeman, a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Maimonides. “He treats every resident with dignity.”
In addition to organizing and conducting synagogue services as chaplain for both Maimonides and Jewish Eldercare, Rabbi Wolff has been providing spiritual support and guidance for residents, families and staff for nearly two decades. As he continues to implement new programs based on the ever-changing needs of the people he meets, he sees his role within the long-term care centres clearly. “God wants me to be here. Everyone has a job in life and this is where I am supposed to be,” he says. “This is the place where I belong and can make a difference.”
One of the most cherished programs he leads is the Chanukat Habayit (Housewarming). Rabbi Wolff welcomes each arriving resident with a special visit one month after they have moved into their room. He offers a blessing with wine, sweet treats and a flowering plant to brighten their new living space. “The Chanukat Habayit has a positive effect on residents,” he says. “They perk up and socialize more with staff.” The rabbi’s Chanukat Habayit program was recognized with an award for Jewish Programming by The Association of Jewish Aging Services, representing long-term care centres across North America.
Not only does Rabbi Wolff provide comfort to residents, he also concerns himself with the well-being of staff. Joanie Robidoux, the former Chief of Patient Experience, worked in close partnership with Rabbi Wolff. “He developed the concept of the Healing Circle as a way for staff to mourn the loss of a resident or sudden death of a colleague,” she says. Rabbi Wolff customizes each Healing Circle with songs and readings.
Ms. Robidoux says she was proud to work in partnership with Rabbi Wolff: “His passion and commitment foster a sense of community in our residences. He is devoted to bringing staff and residents together.”
Thank you Rabbi Wolff for making the difference!
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