Providing for our Seniors

Photo: Ross Taylor (JFNA)

“After I suffered a stroke, I was referred to the Cummings Centre for rehabilitation.  My initial goal was to turn a light switch on and off.  Now, 10 years later, I am no longer in a wheelchair and have graduated to balance classes and I can now use the Workout Studio.  The Centre has given me independence, confidence and I always look forward to my visits.  Staff and volunteers continue to be very helpful in assisting me improve.”

There are many things that make the Montreal Jewish community amongst the best in the world. We are a community that is strong, united and that is there for each other in times of need. One of the ways that we are “for one another” is epitomized in how our community provides for our seniors.

“We give older adults an opportunity to maintain their rightful place in society. A sense that being a senior does not mean that they are irrelevant,” said Herb Finkelberg, Executive Director of the Cummings Centre for Seniors. “We are a community that responds immediately and appropriately to the needs of people and we do so with a caring and compassion that is unparalleled.”

Today, through the generosity of the community, Federation CJA and its agencies are able to help thousands of seniors, preventing isolation, and helping them to stay active and involved in Jewish life. Help that is offered ranges from delivering hot and frozen Meals on Wheels; to homecare; to transportation; to financial support to help cover basic needs like food, housing and clothing.

Photo: Rachel Papo (JFNA)

“Thanks to Federation CJA, we have an extensive Senior Support Grant that, even though it increases every year, still leaves people whose needs aren’t being met. Too many seniors on limited incomes are forced into making choices every day between food, medication or rent,” Barbara Solomon, President of the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors said. “One of the issues is that the percentage of seniors in the Montreal Jewish community is higher than the general Montreal community and Quebec has the highest percentage of seniors in Canada. In addition, there is a void left by the generation that is no longer in Montreal. It’s a challenge to support the seniors that have no family here.”

This increase in the older population has resulted in waiting lists for many of the services and programs offered by the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors and in particular, for all of the social services. There has also been significant growth in the number of people who have physical challenges and require adapted programs.  The Day Services Program for cognitively challenged individuals has expanded three-fold in the past year alone.

“Regardless of their age, it is important for older adults to remain involved in community, to be productive and creative and our Centre enables them to remain independent for as long as possible,” Finkelberg said, noting that while the needs are continually growing, the community should be proud of what it already supports. “We receive an enormous amount of appreciation from members and clients that our community is able to respond to them.  There is an outpouring of emotion and a sense of comfort when people express to us how we have improved their lives.”

This year Federation CJA allocated $1,597,126 to the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors.

The Cummings Centre provides social services to clients, volunteer opportunities, therapeutic and fitness programs, and cultural, recreational, and educational activities for seniors living in Montreal.  To learn more please call 514.342.1234 or visit

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