JC staff members experienced a rather different lunch break on Monday, serving members of the Michael Sobell Community Centre at Jewish Care’s Golders Green campus for our Mitzvah Day project.
Among the 150 people enjoying lunch was Julias Berman, 91, who said his life would be “quite lonely” without the community centre.
As well as chatting to friends and volunteers, he could “have a really good meal for six or seven quid. I don’t really hear very well so my social activity is limited and I don’t get to go out much. So it is nice to come here. I sit with different people every day and get to see the comings and goings.”
Iranian-born Joseph and Benjamin are lunch regulars at the centre and love talking to the volunteers.
“We have been friends for 70 years,” said Joseph, 94. “I like coming for the food — it is really good. We have lunch and then do an activity. I always read the paper and ask myself what is going on.
“Things are always changing. I don’t understand the story about children who want to change gender. I don’t know how that can happen.”
Benjamin, 84, said that were it not for the centre, “we would be bored at home not doing much.
“It gives us something to do in the week together. I get picked up by the Jewish Care bus and brought here so it is really easy.
“The volunteers are nice. They talk to us and help us with our plates if we need.
“It is just a nice, busy place to come to with a lot going on.”
Violet Cohen lunches once a week at the centre with her friend Sonia Greenwald, 88.
“It’s a nice thing to do,” she said. “I like talking to the volunteers because they are young and keep us young.
“After lunch I do tai chi. It isn’t like a proper class, all jumping around and fighting, but it is good exercise.
“We need stuff that keeps us busy and active.”
Sports editor Danny Caro was among the JC staff who served meals, cleared plates and chatted to diners. For him, Mitzvah Day is an opportunity to “give something back.
“I mingled with a group from Westcliff who were on a day trip. One of the visitors was a keen cyclist and an avid reader of the JC’s sports pages. We shared stories about sporting injuries as he is currently out of action with a sore back. He spoke proudly about his busy family life, including his children, grandchildren and his wife, who resides in a care home on the coast.”