DeWitt 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.