Sep 29, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
Mary Ellen Bloodgood, chief executive officer of Menorah Park, knows firsthand that the DeWitt retirement home and assisted living facility is not “just for Jews.”
She, herself, identifies as Episcopalian. But she learns from those around her — she said the local rabbis have been very generous in bringing her up to speed.
“And it’s unusual for a Jewish home,” she said. “I can tell you that I’m probably one of three [non-Jewish CEOs]. But I’ve been embraced, not only by this association, but by this community.”
Menorah Park is non-sectarian and welcomes people of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures. Bloodgood came on as chief financial officer 26 years ago and has been CEO for the past 11 years.
“We have a very loyal staff and I feel very fortunate that I’ve been involved in Menorah Park for these 26 years,” she said.
She’s thrilled to be a part of the organization’s 100-year celebration, which culminates with a gala on Oct. 27 at Temple Adath Yeshurun in Syracuse. The theme is “Honor Our Mothers and Fathers,” one of the tenets of Judaism.
“When Menorah Park was founded 100 years ago in 1912, the founding mothers and fathers came together to really make a home for their parents that were frail, perhaps didn’t have any other place to go,” Bloodgood said. “Still using that as our main mission over the next 100 years is something that is extremely strong and extremely important to us as an organization. Certainly when I look at my own parents and my own grandparents and how I would want them treated at the end of their lives, that’s really important to me as well. So it’s personal, but it’s also the mission of the Jewish home.”
The gala’s program will be light on speeches and instead focus on the rich history of Menorah Park, which started as the Jewish Home for the Aging in 1912, with mementos conveyed through videos and collages. Dr. Irving Goldman, the grandson of one the home’s founding fathers, will share his personal connection to the home’s history as a guest speaker.
“Dinner dances are wonderful and their gorgeous,” Bloodgood said, “but we want people to walk away thinking, ‘Oh, I remember that’ and, ‘My mother was part of that’ or, ‘I’m part of that.’”
WHAT: Menorah Park’s 100th Anniversary Gala
WHERE: Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Road, Syracuse
WHEN: 6:30 PM Saturday, Oct. 27
DRESS: Black tie optional
TICKETS: $150 each; call 446-9111 ext. 118.
Bloodgood also hopes people will come away thinking about what the next 100 years could hold for Menorah Park, which she said includes offering more care to people in their homes, and expanding the internship program in order to attract more young people to the field of geriatrics.
“An opportunity to work with seniors is something that’s our passion, and we want to be able to bring that younger person into the field and say this is a great opportunity for you, you can get back as much as you give,” she said.
Bloodgood is confident that Menorah Park will continue to move forward and find new and improved ways to fulfill its mission — to assure maximum independence and dignity for seniors through the highest quality of health, residential and community services.
Before even coming to Menorah Park, she saw that the volunteer board of directors was visionary.
“I knew a lot of things were going to change for the better over time, and it just didn’t strike me, this organization, as a facility that was going to stay the same,” she said. “The status quo’s not good enough. There’s always more to do and new ways to provide better care, so that’s what really drew me to the Jewish home.”
Tickets to Menorah Park’s 100th Anniversary Gala are $150 per person, and all are welcome to attend. The event is black tie optional, and will feature dinner and dancing to the music of the Stan Colella Orchestra. To make your reservation, call 446-9111 ext. 118.