Today is a Sinai Day!

by Carole Klein-Alexander

At the four-year anniversary celebration this November for CJE at Sinai, Carolyn “Kay” Bucksbaum made a glowing tribute to the program that provided a safe harbor and many hours of creative enjoyment for Matthew Bucksbaum, her husband of 61 years. Though he is no longer able to participate, she was clearly moved by the warmth and support that Sheri Wishnia, the Manager of CJE at Sinai, and the entire staffoffered to Mr. Bucksbaum every Monday and Thursday when he came to see his friends, create an art project or dance to music. Especially important to the Bucksbaum family is that Chicago Sinai Congregation, the program’s downtown location, is recognized for its inclusivity and progressive religious philosophy which is clearly etched on the temple’s handsome entrance: “My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.”

As the Chairman of the Board of a successful real estate development company, Mr. Bucksbaum had always worked long, demanding hours. When he retired, Mrs. Bucksbaum was thankful that CJE at Sinai initiated a second chapter in his life that provided a meaningful purpose—new activities, a new schedule and a host of new friends. His excitement would build on the mornings when he realized that “today is a Sinai day.” He loved the welcoming cup of coffee when he arrived in the morning, and when his health still permitted, he enjoyed a myriad of Culture Bus excursions throughout the city.

Most of all, his face lit up when he saw his friends and could participate with them in group activities, some of which he definitely liked more than others. “Painting is not really his thing,” Mrs. Bucksbaum acknowledges with a heartwarming chuckle. In years past, the outdoors-loving couple spent many active and happy years skiing—and for Matthew, fly fishing— in Aspen, Colorado.

Immanuel Kant wrote that the “Rules for Happiness” include “something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for.” Mr. and Mrs. Bucksbaum’s life journey together appears to be a true testament to the veracity of these “rules.” To show her appreciation for how this program contributed to her husband’s overall well-being during his four years of participation, the Bucksbaums have given a generous five-year gift to CJE at Sinai to further enhance the range of opportunities for its participants. And with this gift to CJE at Sinai, they will complete the circle by providing to others “something to hope for” in the years to come. 

CJE at Sinai is an Adult Day Services program at Chicago Sinai Congregation, 15 W. Delaware Pl.

It’s designed for older adults with early- to mid-stage memory loss and other social and cognitive needs.

CJE at Sinai offers activities tailored to each participant’s interests and general well-being, including creative arts therapies for self-expression; intellectual programs for cognitive enhancement and exercise; and dance and active games for physical wellness. Experienced staff and volunteers provide respite for caregivers while participants meet with their peers. CJE at Sinai can also be combined with Culture BusTM for a three-day-a-week program.

For more information please call 847.492.1400.