“I knew I’d feel most comfortable living with people who shared my faith. They celebrate
all the Jewish holidays here, and the High Holidays are especially nice.”

Eliane’s life is one of faith — faith in G-d, faith in humanity, and faith in herself.

“I was born in Antwerp, Belgium on February 11, 1926,” said Eliane. “By the 1930’s, my parents understood what was happening in Europe. They sent my two older brothers to America, and had plans for the rest of us to join them. Unfortunately, the Nazis invaded Belgium on May 10, 1940, just before my parents and younger brother and I were to leave. We had already given up our apartment, so we had to stay for months with my aunt until we got permission from the Germans to leave the country. We finally left in October 1940 when I was 14 years old. We were lucky to get out when we did.”

Eliane and her family settled in NYC, and Eliane graduated from George Washington High School in 1943. She graduated from Hunter College in 1946 with a BA in social work. “After what we had been through in Belgium, I wanted a career where I could help people,” said Eliane. “I got a job as a social worker in St. Luke’s Hospital at 113 th street. It was hard work, but there were so many people who needed help after the war.”

Eliane’s younger brother was very active in the Boy Scouts, and arranged a scouting reunion after he graduated from medical school. It was at this reunion where Eliane met her husband, Joe, and they were married in December 1948. “He was an electrical engineer, and very intelligent,” said Eliane. “We had one daughter and two sons, and lived a very happy life in Haddon Township, NJ. It was a beautiful area to raise a family, and we found a strong Jewish community we could be part of. That was important to us.”

Eliane and her husband decided to downsize in 2014, and they knew they wanted to move to Lions Gate. “We never looked anywhere else,” said Eliane. “We were members of Temple Emanuel since 1956, and we knew we’d feel most comfortable living with people who shared our faith.”

Unfortunately, Joe had a fall, and passed just before they could move to Lions Gate together. Eliane moved in as planned in April 2014. “They have so much here that supports my faith,” said Eliane, “and so many who live here are observant. I like that each of us can choose what and when we want to attend. They have Shabbat services every Friday night and Saturday morning. The Rabbi streams services on our Lions Gate channel, so even if you can’t attend services in person you don’t have to miss out. They celebrate all the Jewish holidays here, and the high holidays are especially nice. At Rosh Hashanah they have a beautiful dinner with brisket and matzo ball soup. It’s delicious! At Hanukkah they light a menorah in the Great Hall, and at Passover there’s a Seder. There are so many classes that cover Jewish history. There’s even a Yiddish Club!”

As Eliane was headed out the door to her family reunion, she shared her parting thoughts. “I have 3 children, 2 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren,” she said. “It is meaningful to me that all of them were bar and bat mitzvahed. I am proud of my heritage, and proud to live in a community where my traditions are honored. It matters!”

We’re so happy to have you as part of our community of friends, Eliane. You matter to us!