“If I want to cook here, I can. But I don’t have to…Ever! And it’s kosher. What could be better than that?”
Len Feldman looks back on his life with gratitude. “I went to UPenn February 1953 – January 1957,” said Len. “I married my beautiful wife, Nikki, in March 1957. I joined the Army Reserves in 1956, and served two tours of active duty (May – October 1957, September 1961- August 1962). My father and uncles owned the business A. Feldman & Sons, in Camden, where we sold toys and novelties. It was fun working there in between my two tours of duty. After I left the Army, my father closed his novelty toy business, so I got a job with what is now Glaxo Smith Kline in September 1962. The years went by in a blink.”
In fact, 64 years went by in a blink. Len and his wife put down roots in Cinnaminson, NJ, and had three beautiful children — a son and two daughters — who eventually gave them eight grandchildren and one great grandson. Len worked for 26 years as a marketing executive at Glaxo Smith Kline, and when he retired, he and his wife became snowbirds, spending half the year in West Palm Beach, FL. Len became active in the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, and that’s where he first learned about plans to create the Lions Gate Life Plan Community. Little did he know that fifteen years later that information would come in handy when he moved in.
“My wife was a hospice nurse for 30 years,” said Len. “When she was diagnosed with bone marrow and brain cancer, she didn’t want to go through chemo. She had helped too many people through that as a nurse. So we spent our last winter in West Palm together, and when I came back to NJ, I was by myself. Suddenly my home felt so empty. Eating dinner alone was a burden. I felt isolated. I moved into Lions Gate six months after Nikki passed, and I’m so relieved to not be alone. I never have to cook because I eat dinner with friends every night. The people here are all very welcoming. There are activities every day, so I always have something to do. Everything you need is right here, and if you do want to go out, they transport you for doctor appointments or shopping trips. Living here has exceeded my expectations.”
Len frequently served on committees and boards all his life. “I was president of my synagogues in Cinnaminson and West Palm Beach,” said Len. “I was always on committees at the local Jewish Federation. I have always felt a responsibility to make things better. Why complain about something when you can help out instead? I plan on running for the Lions Gate Resident Council. It’ll be a great way to give back to this community.”
Len laughs when he thinks about what was holding him back from moving to Lions Gate sooner. “I just didn’t want to live with old people,” chuckles Len. “Well, I live here now, and I love it! I go to Friday Shabbat services with Rabbi Rayna. I take the Mind, Body, and Soul exercise class on weekdays. I make sure to never miss the weekly ethics lecture. I really like the monthly Men’s Chat & Chew. I kept kosher at home and that is important to me, especially when someone else cooks it! I don’t want to think about how tough it would have been if I did not choose Lions Gate.”