Community connections are vital at every age—for mind, body, and spirit. That’s why, upon moving to Woodbridge in 2012 following 30 years in New York and San Francisco, Linda and Jesse Cedarbaum’s top priority was to build strong local ties.

Nowhere was the Cedarbaums’ involvement more welcome than at Tower One/Tower East (The Towers)—a diverse, active, affordable senior residence in New Haven founded upon Jewish values and traditions. From launching an intergenerational outreach program, to funding better transportation initiatives for residents, the Cedarbaums have made doing mitzvahs at The Towers a major part of making greater New Haven their home.

“Coming into an area where I had no ties—it was important for me to get involved right away,” explains Linda. “I was thrilled to discover The Towers. It’s truly an extension of the region’s robust Jewish community; its residents are foundational to Jewish New Haven overall.”

Shortly after discovering The Towers, Linda initiated an innovative outreach program called The Art of Baking Hamantaschen. Driven by her strong belief in doing intergenerational mitvah dor l’dor—together with her desire to help Jewish families embrace long-held, heartfelt traditions—this vital project enables local families to bake Hamantaschen together while sharing the fruits of their labor with Towers residents.

For Mark Garilli, President and CEO of The Towers, the Hamantaschen baking project fills an important need; isolated seniors become personally connected to the community, and the younger generation stays connected to The Towers. “The value is priceless,” he says.

Subsequently, upon moving her own mother to The Towers in 2013, Linda discovered that accessible transportation was missing from Towers living—which could help residents better enjoy all that New Haven offers.

“Towers residents are living longer and interested in politics, art, people and nature,” says Linda, “but many don’t drive, thus limiting their options for experiencing the breadth of New Haven and leading richer lives.”

In establishing an endowment through the Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven expressly for transportation resources at The Towers, Linda and Jesse intend for residents to take full cultural advantage of their home city.

It’s a benefit that goes far beyond the latest show at the Shubert. “Our residents are educated and intellectual,” says Mark, “and there’s nothing like seeing live theater and art galleries around town. But without the ability of handicapped-accessible transportation, we can’t go. As a not-for-profit, our rent structure simply covers expenses—making Linda and Jesse’s contribution, and all funds received through the Jewish Foundation—so vital.”

“By providing for The Towers and getting involved personally and financially, we become a stronger community,” says Linda. “As for Jesse and I, we look at our giving as an opportunity to say thank you. I’d urge everyone to get involved with The Towers—I guarantee they’d feel the same.”

Linda and Jesse also established a PACE fund at the Jewish Foundation as an endowment for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven.


Type of Fund/Area of Need: Funds for Local Jewish Agencies

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