by Ozzie Nogg
Rose Blumkin Jewish Home Residents, staff, volunteers, friends and family gathered in the Silverman Auditorium on November 26 to honor Lois Wine, Director of Volunteer Services, at her retirement party. The event was hosted by the Home to mark Wine’s long career with the Federation and the RBJH.
“I appreciate all the support extended to me by Michael Silverman, Josh Gurock, the L.O.V.E. Board of Directors, fellow staff members and ‘my’ volunteers during my tenure,” Wine said. “I’ve given my heart and soul to this Campus for thirty-one years, and naturally I’m sad about retiring. But I do look forward to spending more time with my husband Norm, our sons, and our grandchildren.”
Wine was presented with a print by Mordechai Rosenstein, internationally known Judaica artist and Hebrew calligrapher. The work is titled, From Generation to Generation: L’dor v’dor. “The print is very meaningful to me,” Wine said, “and I will treasure it forever.”
Wine has also been active in off-campus volunteer work. She sat on the Friend’s Board of Children’s Hospital from 1975 to 1977, and served as President of the National Board of Associates of Jewish Homes and Services for the Aging from 2005 to 2008. Wine’s experience with senior volunteer management at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home led to her 2002 appointment by Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns to the ServeNebraska Commission. In 2008, she was reappointed by Governor Dave Heineman. Currently, Wine is Vice Chair of the Commission and chairs the Advisory Fund Sustainability and Infrastructure Committee. The ServeNebraska Facebook page carries this post: ServeNebraska Commissioner Lois Wine’s simple, direct advice for getting involved in your community, “Think about the cause that interests you and then make a phone call to volunteer.”
Colleagues praised Wine for her up-beat nature and professionalism. Jewish Federation of Omaha CEO Mike Silverman said:
“Lois has been a mainstay at the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and across our Campus for many years. She will truly be missed by Residents, family, staff and our Omaha Jewish community. Lois is always filled with energy, fun, and a willingness to do anything to help the Home. We wish her the very best in her retirement.”
Joanie Bernstein, who served as MC at the retirement party added, “Lois is a dedicated, caring member of our community and the only Volunteer Director RBJH has ever had. We worked together turning L.O.V.E. into an auxiliary to raise funds for the Home. Lois is a wonderful friend to all who know her.”
RBJH Director of Facility Services, Josh Gurock, said, “In her role as our Director of Volunteer Services, it’s incredible to think about how much Lois has been able to accomplish. In just the past couple of years she produced the new Shabbat and High Holiday prayer books for the Home; helped develop education classes for Residents; arranged Friday night dinners and coordinated grandparents’ day events; supervised The Gift Shop and worked with L.O.V.E. to secure donations to fund the Home’s courtyard awnings as well as medication laptops for the nursing staff. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Working with Lois has been a pleasure, and I’ve learned a lot from her. We all wish her good luck in the future.”
Kudos also came Wine’s way from her friend and fellow volunteer Judy Brookstein, L.O.V.E. past president, board member and advisor. “Lois is a big message that comes in a small package,” Brookstein said. “She has blessed those around her far more than she knows. Many of the simple things she has done affected all of us more than she realizes – her love of her work, her willingness to listen generously and her warm smile. She has strengthened the lives around her through her friendship, kindness and compassion. She has always been, and will continue to be, passionate about the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and those who call it their home.” To underscore Brookstein’s words, Jim Wax, current L.O.V.E President said, “Lois has been our auxiliary’s right-hand lady. We will not lose her, so we elected her to the L.O.V.E. Board as Gift Shop Co-chair.”
In a past issue of the Omaha Jewish Press, Wine described the depth of dedication shown by Jewish Senior Services and Rose Blumkin Jewish Home volunteers in these words of thanks to the group: “Countless hours are spent by our volunteers for the benefit of our Residents and staff. Staff can come and leave; family and friends come to visit. Staff is paid; family is duty bound. But the volunteer’s role is very different, in that they bring the special gift of self and time. Volunteers come because they want to, and this is what makes volunteering unique. I personally want to thank all of you for what you do, for the joy you bring. May God grant you the strength to continue your service to the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home and Jewish Social Services.”
Lois Wine may be retired, but she’ll remain a presence. “After spending the winter in Florida with Norm, I look forward to returning to the Blumkin Home as a volunteer,” she said.