Miami Jewish Health 80th Anniversary 1940-2020
A Commemorative Collage by Erika King

Scroll down to read about each of the individual panels in this tryptic.

The First 50 Years, Panel I

We begin our photographic journey with one of the first Jewish families to settle in Miami – Isidor and Ida Cohen, top left of collage. In 1945, with a $10,000 thank you gift from Adam Reiss, below and right of Ida, a German who had been rescued by a Jewish individual during World War I, Ida purchased a property in southwest Miami to create a home, pictured under Ida and children, for 23 elderly Jewish widows. In 1951, “The Home,” as it would affectionately become known, moved to its current location, a seven-acre wooded estate in the heart of Miami. On this campus was a beautiful art deco-style building, seen below the original property, known as “Yagle Pavilion.” This building housed twelve residents, the Max and Fannie Land Synagogue, and an apartment for the then executive director, Maurice Pearlstein. An aerial view of the property shows this original building still exists on the Miami Jewish Health campus. It has since been renamed the LaBow Marketplace and has guest rooms, a beauty shop, and an employee lounge. The Home would quickly expand to 60 residents under the leadership and guidance of many caring and compassionate individuals such as Judge Irving Cypen, pictured at top right, and his wife Hazel; Colonel Mitchell Wolfson, just left of the Cypen’s; Baron de Hirsch Meyer, top middle, and his wife Polly, middle left; Jimmie Kopelowitz and Colonel Jacob Arvey, both pictured at bottom middle; Jack Ablin, pictured center left; Max Land and countless others.

Ladies’ auxiliary groups, such as the ones pictured toward the bottom middle, were formed and raised necessary funds through events and the operation of two successful thrift shops, bottom left, shops famous in their time for finding great bargains. The Home would also eventually attract hundreds of volunteers to assist with a myriad of events and activities. Spirituality and religion permeated the campus, as seen at the top left, and various rabbis presided over Jewish services and holidays.

In 1968 with a growing community who wanted to be entertained, an auditorium was built and named after its donors, Etta and Sam Ruby, pictured bottom right at the dedication. As the demand grew for additional housing for the aging Jewish population, The Home broke ground for the Ablin and Meyer buildings, seen center and bottom left, to serve as a nursing home. The Ablin building has since been renovated for office space, conference rooms, our memory center and clinical research, and an Arts & Crafts room for residents. The Meyer building is now also a multi-purpose facility with nursing home beds, offices and a dialysis center, which opened in 2018. The 102-unit Irving Cypen Tower, upper right corner, would later become home to more independent tenants, and by the end of the ’70s, the Home was caring for 376 residents and tenants.

The Harry Chernin Skilled Nursing Building, featured at lower right with the gorgeous 400+-year-old African Kapok tree in the foreground, Louis and Bess Stein Commons and Rowland and Sylvia Schaefer Hall, in the center with the clock tower, and the May Visitors Center seen directly underneath with the fountain, were also opened with the generous support of philanthropists. This expansion, which included a medical center, created space for additional senior-oriented medical services and nurse training programs. With The Home now a leader in gerontology, students from various universities arrived onsite for training and academics. The Home would also open an adult daycare center nearby.

Today MJH is a lush 24-acre landscape and Home and workplace to approximately 2000 residents and professional staff, providing a most inspiring and outstanding place.

Making Life Matter, Panel II

As we step into Panel II, we see Hazel Cypen near the top left corner at the 1988 dedication of the assisted living facility named in her honor. Two photos below, Hazel and Irving Cypen, two of their grandsons and numerous dignitaries celebrate the Hazel Cypen Tower ribbon cutting. Inside is the Jacob Rechtschaffer Synagogue, with its beautiful wooden ark handcrafted by artist Ken Treister at the top left. Moving across the top of the canvas, we see Miami Jewish Health key physicians Brian Kiedrowski and Marc Agronin dining at an event. This stands alongside South Florida’s well-known impresario Judy Drucker, next to decades-long President and CEO Jeffrey Freimark.

Other notable photographs are upper left, Hazel Cypen with Shirley and Rabbi Solomon Schiff, former Miami Jewish Health Rabbi Israel de la Piedra, and below right, a 100th birthday celebration. Moving back to the left, current Miami Jewish Health executives, the thankful Foundation team, and key administrative staff with residents. Below at left is the 2020 Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Shaun Corbett, followed by visiting therapy pets. At right is Donna Shalala, then-University of Miami President, with staff at the Alzheimer’s Walk. Miami Heat’s mascot, Burnie, is pictured at the annual Thanksgiving parade. Residents are seen kibitzing, an interdenominational round table, followed by FOUNDERS Ellen and Louis Wolfson.

Toward the bottom left are doctors who previously served at Miami Jewish Health, various celebrations, and scrolling up, tenants masquerading with the Cypen Towers’ activities director. Former Miami Jewish Health President and Board Chairman, Alfred Katzin is pictured with a caregiver. Far-right is Erika King, this collage’s artist, at the 2019 MJBasel exhibition, an art event exhibiting works of residents, staff, and community artists.

Across the bottom are some of our favorite musicians, long-time nursing director Louise Moffett dancing with tenant Larry Rosenzweig, 102 years young! Then Beatrice Stubin and her aide out with friends for a stroll. Next is one of the beautiful egrets that roam our campus, a group of happy nurses, Trudy Schwinger and Harriet Flashenberg with their four-legged companions, and finally, another very happy group celebrating life at Miami Jewish Health!

As COVID-19 swept across the world in early 2020, life at Miami Jewish Health changed course to protect those on our campus. Daily screening and temperature taking became the norm. Masks, gloves and other protective equipment were in plain sight and once communal meals and social programming were pivoted to private in-room dining and virtual social gatherings, including online religious services. Technology was a godsend, as were our beautiful gardens, which became even more of a place of respite with open spaces and fresh air. The colorful, crowing roosters at the top right kept us entertained and the campus fountains, trees and sculptures scattered throughout this collage provided an escape from the pandemic. While keeping safe, we reminisced about the wonderful parties, parades and celebrations of the past and anticipated their return.

2020 and Beyond, Panel III

Panel III begins with the presentation of awards to our hard-working clinical staff during Nurse and Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Week 2020 and 2021. Beyond the rainbow photo is a tenant’s joy-filled 100th birthday celebration. Just above, you’ll find Chief Medical Officer Shaun Corbett hitting the media circuit to discuss the current state of medical affairs and the stunning artwork of Douglas HOXXOH Hoekzema gracing the side of our parking structure. To the right is Dr. Marc Agronin, generous philanthropist Hank Azaria and President & CEO Jeffrey Freimark gather, followed by a mural on Irving Cypen Tower. At the end, see how Miami Jewish Health came together to honor and commemorate the tragedy of George Floyd and to comfort one another.

Under the painted rainbow is FOUNDER Ruth Azaria with MIND Institute Influencer Arthur Cohen, a group of caregivers and one of the many performances in the Ruby Auditorium. Follow your eyes to recording artist Montana Tucker with her grandmother. Next, our Director of MIND Institute gives a lecture, and FOUNDER S. Donald Sussman is seen at the site of the future S. Donald Sussman EmpathiCare Village. Underneath is a myriad of staff and residents engaged in activities such as music therapy, exercise class, a variety of celebrations, and an ice cream social. See FOUNDER Richard Solloway with the recipient of the Beatrice M. Solloway, Certified Nursing Assistant’s Excellence in Care Award, and FOUNDERS Lynn and Frank Scaduto.

Moving back to the left is a resident giving a Memorial Day speech, followed by a Resident Council member and MJH’s very own healthcare heroes, who worked tirelessly through the COVID-19 pandemic. MJH celebrated its 80th anniversary with meals provided by the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program, several PACE activities, Grand FOUNDERS, Ethel and Seymour Roth at an MJH gala, followed by a resident with her Shabbat Shalom gift box. Just below is our culinary team and then our most beautiful Poinciana tree in full bloom.

Below that, an employee receives his COVID-19 vaccination, our Douglas Gardens Hospital unit, yoga and meditation volunteer instructor Richard Sherman with his service dog, longtime arts and crafts volunteer, BJ Lang, providing instruction to a tenant, and our favorite campus flamingo. Along the bottom row, residents dance at an outdoor concert, piña coladas plenty at our happy hour, pool exercises at the Cypen Towers, an Elvis impersonator entertains, and finally, a tenant relaxing by our gorgeous Banyan tree.

Longtime Miami artist, Erika King, was born in Philadelphia and educated in Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain. Erika is known for her commissioned commemorative, corporate and family collages and her work has been exhibited throughout Europe, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Caracas and Beijing. Residing in Coconut Grove since 1970, she now lives happily at Miami Jewish Health and continues to create her many colorful collages.


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