At your service

NORC ex­pands its ser­vices to seni­ors in need throughout the North­east. 

  • Quality expansion: The Rhawnhurst Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, which launched in 2004, has now expanded to serve seniors in the 19114, 19115 and 19116 ZIP codes. Last week, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the grand opening of the new Northeast NORC office. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

  • Giving the blessing: Last week, the Northeast NORC held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its office in the Pennypack Shopping Center. Rabbi Andrea Merow, of Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park, blessed a prayer scroll. Congregations of Shaare Shamayim executive director Jacques Lurie and the Jewish Community of Rhawnhurst’s Reuven Slurzberg hung the scroll on a wall inside the front door. MARIA YOUNG / TIMES PHOTO

The Rhawn­hurst Nat­ur­ally Oc­cur­ring Re­tire­ment Com­munity launched in 2004, with the idea to help seni­or cit­izens in the 19111, 19149 and 19152 ZIP codes live safely in their homes as long as pos­sible.

The ini­ti­at­ive has been a suc­cess.

Last year, the NORC served more than 1,300 older adults. It also had more than 500 re­quests for ser­vices out­side its three ZIP codes.

The Bern­ard and Etta Wein­berg Fund of the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion of Great­er Phil­adelphia saw the ad­di­tion­al need, and provided a three-year grant so the NORC could ex­pand.

Now, the agency serves seni­ors in the 19114, 19115 and 19116 ZIP codes.

And, be­cause seni­ors are now be­ing served from a lot more neigh­bor­hoods than just Rhawn­hurst, the agency has been re­named the North­east NORC.

“We’re help­ing people stay in their com­munit­ies,” said Na­omi Adler, CEO of the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion, which op­er­ates the NORC.

Last week, the North­east NORC held a rib­bon-cut­ting ce­re­mony to cel­eb­rate the grand open­ing of its of­fice at 8546-B Bustleton Ave., next to the T-Mo­bile store in the Pennypack Shop­ping Cen­ter.

The NORC had been at Ner Zedek syn­agogue, but it closed and merged with Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im.

Adler said the new store­front was “Abby’s brainchild,” re­fer­ring to NORC seni­or pro­gram man­ager Abby Gil­bert.

“This is a very sig­ni­fic­ant mo­ment,” Adler said of the new of­fice.

Adler cred­ited the staff and vo­lun­teers for do­ing all kinds of work for seni­ors, such as Phone a Friend, home vis­its, chan­ging light bulbs and smoke alarm bat­ter­ies, mak­ing minor home re­pairs and flip­ping mat­tresses.

The Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion works in part­ner­ship with Cath­ol­ic Health Care Ser­vices. The Pew Fund for the Eld­erly and the PNC Found­a­tion are among the fun­ders.

Jack Be­l­it­sky is the chair­man of the North­east NORC’s com­munity ad­vis­ory coun­cil, is a cli­ent of the agency and leads dis­cus­sions on books and cur­rent events.

Be­l­it­sky, a mem­ber of the Jew­ish Fed­er­a­tion board of trust­ees, de­scribed Adler as a “breath of fresh air” since she ar­rived 2½ years ago. He be­lieves the high­lights of the agency in­clude the home re­pairs and main­ten­ance, trans­port­a­tion, re­fer­rals, so­cial­iz­a­tion and cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion pro­grams.

“They provide all of the above and much more,” he said.

Be­l­it­sky at­tends monthly “Lunch and Learn” pro­grams. He’s also had NORC staff and vo­lun­teers change his car­bon monox­ide de­tect­or bat­ter­ies and in­stall and re­move his air con­di­tion­er, and out­reach co­ordin­at­or Vic­tor Peterson helped him pick out a new cell phone.

“They go above and bey­ond the call of duty,” he said.

Rabbi An­drea Merow, of Beth Sho­lom Con­greg­a­tion in Elkins Park, blessed a pray­er scroll. Con­greg­a­tions of Shaare Shamay­im ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Jacques Lurie and the Jew­ish Com­munity of Rhawn­hurst’s Re­uven Slurzberg hung the scroll on a wall in­side the front door.

Among those in at­tend­ance at the Feb. 3 event were An­dre Krug, pres­id­ent and CEO of Klein­Life; state Reps. Mar­tina White and Kev­in Boyle; and City Coun­cil­man Al Tauben­ber­ger.

Boyle said he is cer­tain the North­east NORC will do as well for people in all six ZIP codes as it’s done for seni­ors in Rhawn­hurst and Bell’s Corner over the years.

Tauben­ber­ger, chair­man of Coun­cil’s Aging Com­mit­tee, cred­ited Gil­bert with help­ing people who love their homes, neigh­bors and neigh­bor­hoods stay in their houses.

White praised the many NORC of­fer­ings for seni­ors.

“They need to have these won­der­ful ser­vices. It’s the little things that count,” she said. ••

For your in­form­a­tion… 

The North­east Nat­ur­ally Oc­cur­ring Re­tire­ment Com­munity of­fice, 8546-B Bustleton Ave., is open week­days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The NORC provides ser­vices to people 60 or older of all faiths.

The tele­phone num­ber is 215-320-0351. The email ad­dress is norc@jew­ish­

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