by Susan Schnur

Shabbat at the Nursing Home

An exceptional mother-daughter volunteer team

Four years ago, Carole Jo Dalton’s dear friend (and once-nanny to Carole’s daughter Rachel) entered a Methodist nursing home in New York. Eleanor Banks, Methodist herself, was 62, on kidney dialysis and blind. The nursing home was dull, Eleanor explained to Carole, so she spent a lot of time “covering the bases” at different worship services: Bible study on Thursdays, Methodist services on Sunday mornings, Catholic mass on Sunday afternoons, and Jewish Sabbath services on Friday afternoons. “Shabbat services are really nice,” Eleanor told Carole and 10-year-old Rachel. “A different minister leads us every week. You should come.” The nursing home sponsored a generic Christian pastoral care internship program, so rotating student-ministers led all religious services—Christian and not.

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