2023 Jewish Elderly Grants

Senior Jewish man walking with young female caregiver

Since its establishment in 2020, the Jewish Senior Task Force Initiative has made a significant impact awarding $620,000 to various Jewish organizations and agencies for innovative projects and programs that enhance the quality of life for the Jewish Elderly in the New Haven community.

In 2023, the initiative continued its positive impact, by awarding $176,000 to three deserving agencies: Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, The Towers at Tower Lane, and Chabad of the Shoreline, all previous grant recipients. The funds enable the agencies to develop new and innovative programs that address needs of the Elderly in the Greater New Haven Jewish Community.

The population of Connecticut is aging: between 2013 and 2025, the share of Connecticut residents 60 years and over will grow by 44 percent. Nationally, 90 percent of older adults would prefer to “age in place” – to stay in their homes and communities as they grow older.* (Source: As the elderly population grows, the need for resources and support for older adults becomes even more significant. The Jewish Foundation’s Grants for the Jewish Elderly is dedicated to serving and funding this need, thanks to the generous contributions from the former Jewish Home Building Fund Corporation and several funds of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, including the Isaac & Mary Liveten Fund, Marion Litsky Fund, Irvin Shiner 75th Birthday Fund, Benjamin & Freda Cohen Memorial Fund, Eva Kahn Fund, Harry Braffman Fund, and the Leo Links Fund.

“We are thrilled to continue supporting the Jewish Elderly in Greater New Haven through the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven grants. The $176,000 awarded to Jewish Family Service, The Towers at Tower Lane, and Chabad of the Shoreline reflects our dedication to addressing diverse needs as the aging population grows,” said Craig Sklar, Chair of the Foundation’s Jewish Elderly Grants Committee. “We are honored to collaborate with our partners, promoting innovative programs for food support, socialization, and social work services, ensuring joyful, dignified, and independent golden years.”

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven was among the recipients of the grants, supporting their Care Navigators Program. This program welcomes aging adults from all walks of life, regardless of socioeconomic status, faith, culture, or race. Care Navigators offers assessments, referrals, and support to ensure elderly individuals can safely stay in their homes or helps them find appropriate new housing. Many seniors feel as if they are losing a sense of dignity as they age, and Care Navigators aims to promote both physical and emotional overall well-being of program participants.

“We are deeply grateful for this grant from the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven supporting our Care Navigators Program,” said Alissa Wurtzel, Executive Director of Jewish Family Services. “With this funding, we can embrace elderly individuals from diverse backgrounds, offering evaluations, references, and crucial assistance to ensure their security and honor as they age.”

Woman gardening at The Towers at Towers Lane
Gardening at The Towers at Towers Lane
Senior Jewish woman reading a book outside

The Towers at Towers Lane is utilizing its grant to create a new Community Garden on its campus. This transformative project replaces a decaying and unusable basketball court with an accessible garden space. The garden will feature a fruit and vegetable garden, equipped with wheelchair-accessible beds for seniors to plant while seated; an herb garden; a chicken coop for fresh eggs; water feature; reflection area; shaded gathering area; bocce court; dog run, and a playscape for grandchildren’s visits.

“Thank you to the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven for providing that grant for the 2nd year in a row. These funds allow us to embark on an exciting project at The Towers at Tower Lane, which is scheduled to start in September,” said Jen Bayer, Associate Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. “This project exemplifies our dedication to creating a thriving and inclusive community at The Towers, where our seniors can enjoy nature, cultivate their interests, and connect with people of all ages. We are deeply grateful for this opportunity and look forward to seeing the Community Garden flourish in the months ahead.”

The Community Garden will be just that—also serving as a hub for educational workshops. Partnering with Morrison Living, programs on nutrition and food prep with healthy and fresh ingredients from the garden with be offered to school-aged children. Opening up the garden to school groups, camps, and locals to volunteer their time promotes community engagement and a bridges the gap between seniors and the younger generation, who in many cases may not have the opportunity to network together.

Chabad of the Shoreline received a grant for its Smile on Seniors (SOS) program, pairing volunteers with homebound or lonely elderly individuals for weekly visits. The program aims to bring joy and stimulation to seniors, reducing isolation and increasing socialization. Additionally, SOS organizes Intergenerational jewish projects that provide both the elderly and volunteers with uplifting and enriching experiences.

“As the spiritual leader of Chabad of the Shoreline, my hope is the match every Jewish senior in need on the Shoreline with a dedicated volunteer who understands the importance of companionship and friendship for our cherished elderly,”said Rabbi Yosef Yaffi. “Amidst the disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic, this program’s impact is immeasurable. With the financial support of Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven, we can create a more connected and caring community for the Jewish Elderly population in the Greater New Haven community.”

“Through the Jewish Senior Task Force and Jewish Senior Initiatives, The Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven welcomes the opportunity to providing funding and support these initiatives,” said Lisa Stanger, Executive Director of the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven. “Our goal is to ensure that the golden years of our elderly are filled with joy, fulfillment, and independence. We look forward to continued support of our partner organizations.”


*Source: Agency of Aging of South Central CT. ‘The Age-inclusivity of New Haven and Connecticut’