San Antonio Jewish Senior Services (SAJSS) has been providing services and programming for Jewish Seniors since 1968. We’re proud of our humble beginnings, arising out of the growing need for a non-denominational nursing home (The Golden Manor Jewish Home for the Aged) to what we are now: an organization focusing on serving Jewish seniors through transportation, social, cultural, and educational programming, grants and funding, and an information and referral service. Want to learn more? Here’s a look through the years.
THE BEGINNING: In 1955, a group of 24 men and women gathered to discuss the growing need for a non-denominational Jewish home in San Antonio. The goal was to serve the needs of Jewish seniors within a 200-mile radius of the city. The group found, through a community survey, there was broad enthusiasm for the project. In 1956, the group formed a board, and chose the name, “The Golden Manor” for the future home. They then set about the difficult task of planning and fundraising to bring their vision to fruition.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY: In 1961,16-acres were purchased off of Spencer Lane. A groundbreaking took place in 1964, the same year the land was paid off through the Clarence Freeman Trust, a grant from Hill-Burton, and generous contributions from the Jewish and Christian communities of San Antonio. Construction continued through early 1968, and on May 15, 1968, the Golden Manor Jewish Home for the Aged officially opened its doors.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: The following year, the Women’s Auxiliary of Golden Manor was formed, and were casually referred to as, “The Golden Girls,” long before the popular sitcom was created. They brightened the lives of residents daily with social visits, craft projects, entertainment, education, and love. In 1999, these devoted volunteers dedicated a playground for the grandchildren of Golden Manor residents. The “Manor Munchkins,” as they were known, brought joy and vitality to the staff, volunteers, and residents of the home.
FROM HOME TO AGENCY: In 2008, the board of Golden Manor Jewish Home for the Aged made the difficult decision to sell the home due to increasing financial unsustainability, and the desire to continue to serve Jewish seniors in San Antonio. The physical home became Golden Estates under its new ownership, and Golden Manor Jewish Senior Services opened its doors as an agency that offered additional programs and resources for Jewish seniors in San Antonio.
After nearly a decade of providing valuable services for San Antonio Jewish seniors, the leadership of the agency knew there was still much more to be done to bridge the gap between available resources and the needs of San Antonio’s Jewish seniors. In 2017, Golden Manor Jewish Senior Services became San Antonio Jewish Senior Services. Under the leadership of our new Executive Director, Stacey Kline Schwartz, we continue to grow and add more programming and services for our seniors.
THE PRESENT AND FUTURE: Today, we provide funding for senior lunch programs that run in partnership with local congregations and agencies. We also host senior living programs for Jewish residents of Golden Estates, Adante Senior Living, and Madison Estates. This programming consists of of film and discussion sessions with Jewish themes, Shabbat services, and special programs for holidays. We provide transportation for Jewish community events and religious services in addition to funding for partner agencies to meet additional transportation needs. We’re continually exploring more cost-effective transportation options and partnerships with other San Antonio non-profit agencies. We have established the SAJSS Connect Information & Referral program to make it more convenient for seniors and caregivers to find resources in one place. We’ve expanded our programming to include more special events to keep seniors connected with the community. 2018 marks 50 years of SAJSS serving Jewish seniors, yet this only the beginning! We are excited to continue to grow and offer more helpful services to San Antonio Jewish seniors and caregivers for years to come.