Jewish Senior Living magazine   2017/2018


When Jane Phillips makes a run to the Target megastore, you can be sure that quite a few Jewish Home residents will be checking items off their own shopping lists.

Resident Edie Shaffer and volunteer Jane Phillips share a love of words (both real and raunchy!), irrepressible senses of humor,
and a genuine friendship.

“A number of residents aren’t able to take advantage of the regularly scheduled shopping trips, and it really gives me great pleasure to do it for them,”Jane explains.

Whether it is picking up a personal item for a resident, accompanying groups on the Home’s monthly shopping outings, or searching online for a good deal for resident Dulcie Martinez’s favorite Jessica McClintock perfume, helping her friends at the Home get the things they need is just an example of how this vital volunteer enhances residents’ lives.

“I call myself the Google Express shopper for the Jewish Home,” Jane laughs.

Her connection with the Jewish Home began about seven years ago when she was looking for a volunteer position she could do with her dog, a 20-pound West Highland terrier. “Teddy is very cute and he cheers people up,” she says. “I thought it would be a nice thing to do.”

She started visiting the Home on weekends, but once she retired from her teaching career, “I then had the time and energy, and became a regular,” she says about increasing her frequency to several times a week.

Teddy is a Jewish Home regular, too. He accompanies Jane when she makes her shopping deliveries and visits with residents. “He’s very mellow,” she points out, “and he adores being petted.”

“I love Teddy to pieces,” says 88-year-old Edie Shaffer, a seven-year resident and one of the people Jane and Teddy visit. The two humans met when Edie, a Scrabble enthusiast, was looking for someone to play with. As a former language arts teacher, Jane was a good match. “We were very competitive,” she recalls.

After a while, Jane suggested that Edie might enjoy the online Scrabble-like game “Words with Friends” that could be played on an iPad. Jane remembers that Edie’s first reaction was somewhat negative, but when Jane explained that, besides playing games, Edie could Facetime her grandchildren with an iPad, she was sold. Edie’s children supplied the tablet and Jane the lessons.

“A whole new world opened up to Edie,” says Jane. “She now uses the e-mail and Messenger apps, Facebook, watches Netflix, and has about 16 Words with Friends games going – all things Edie, a night owl, can do in the comfort of her room and during those hours.”

“Jane and the iPad have changed my life,” Edie confirms. In appreciation for Jane’s services both to herself and the many other residents, Edie nominated Jane for a Council of Residents Kindness Award.

“I was so honored to be recognized,” Jane says. “It felt really great.”

In addition to her frequent visits, Jane contributes in numerous other ways to the Jewish Home. She escorts residents on various excursions, helps with the annual Chanukah show and Passover celebration (“I helped put together 400 Seder plates,” she reports), and sponsored the residents’ monthly birthday luncheon in February 2017.

She also gives her time and talent beyond the Jewish Home, walking dogs at San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control, and tutoring youth at author and program co-founder Dave Eggers’ 826 Valencia, a nonprofit organization that supports under-resourced students with their creative and expository writing skills, and helps teachers inspire their students to write.

“Volunteering makes me feel good,” Jane says. “It’s my way of giving back and being a good Jew.” 

Join Jane and discover the difference you can make in the lives of others by volunteering at the Jewish Home. Contact our Volunteer Services department at 415.469.2229 to discuss the range of fulfilling opportunities to match your interests.

Teddy has a whole bag of tricks he will turn for a dog treat, which delights everyone seeing this adorable bundle on the pet-friendly campus.



Website content that still bears the names Jewish Home of San Francisco and Jewish Home reflects material that is in circulation or was published before we became San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living – on which Jewish Home & Rehab Center, our acute geriatric psychiatry hospital, and the new Lynne & Roy M. Frank Residences and Byer Square are located. Wherever possible, new and updated website content will bear our new names.

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