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How to Make Delicious Hamantaschen Cookies Before Purim

For many Jewish families, Purim wouldn’t be complete without Hamantaschen or the “triangle cookies” that are a traditional part of the holiday. These staple cookies are so simple to make once you gather the right ingredients. Not to mention, you can fill the center pockets of each cookie with whatever filling you like! For this recipe, we decided to alternate between apricot preserves, raspberry jam and Nutella. Without further ado, here is Jewish Community Housing Corporation’s signature recipe for Hamantaschen cookies!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups margarine or butter
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Fillings: apricot jam, Nutella, Raspberry Jam
  • Baking sheet 
  • 3 in. round cookie cutter
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Prep Time: 30 mins (if dough is prepped ahead of time)
Cook Time: 15 mins


  1. Begin by mixing the sugar and margarine together. Then, add eggs and mix together until the mixture is smooth. Once smooth, stir in water and vanilla extract. Next, add flour, and continue mixing until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for a couple hours before baking.

  2. Heat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Start to cut pieces with your floured cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon apricot, raspberry  or Nutella filling in the center of each piece of dough. Bring 3 edges together over filling, overlapping slightly (a small portion of filling should show in the center) and then pinch edges gently. Place each cookie 1 in. apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

  3. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Using a spatula, carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Lightly dust each cookie with confectioners’ sugar (if desired) and enjoy!

    Bonus tip: If you are not eating the cookies immediately or want to save them for another day, store them in an air-tight container for maximum freshness.

Can’t be bothered to bake? 

At Lester Senior Living, our chefs are always baking something. For more information about senior living activities in Morris County, NJ, please contact JCHC: Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what community life is really like in Morris County, NJ: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/


American Heart Month: Tips to Avoid Heart Disease

American Heart Month, a federally recognized event, is a great reminder for Americans to focus on their hearts. Heart awareness in a time of  COVID-19 seems particularly important. Simply put, there is no better time to prioritize our health and the health of our senior family members. Simple lifestyle changes can not only prevent heart disease, but can also strengthen the possibility of living longer with a much healthier heart. Our assisted living team in Morris County, NJ has gathered vital information regarding heart disease risk factors and tips to prevent this all too common disease.  

Risk Factors of Heart Disease 

Despite years and even decades of hearing how smoking and being obese can ruin your heart health, too many americans are not getting the message. Yet it turns out that many of the risk factors below can be managed with smart and relatively simple changes to your lifestyle. 

Common risk factors include:

    • Smoking
    • Diabetes
    • Physical inactivity and obesity
    • Alcohol, caffeine and substance abuse
    • High blood pressure or cholesterol levels
    • High levels of stress and anxiety 
    • Ethnicity and family history 
    • Age and gender 

Heart Disease Prevention: Tips for Healthy Senior Living 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you set out on your journey to live a heart healthy life.

  • Maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol. Higher levels of blood pressure and cholesterol mean your heart is being overworked. One of the first steps you can take to maintain a healthy heart is to have healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Make an appointment with your primary physician to determine what levels are considered healthy for you, since your levels depend on your unique risk factors and heart history.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices and stick to them. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet is key. Cut out smoking and foods that are high in saturated fat content, like processed meats. Here at Lester Senior Living, we have many senior exercise classes available (chair yoga, anyone?) and offer low-cal, low-fat dining options 7 days a week. Visit our website to learn more about what we offer at the Lester Senior Living community.

  • Combat stress head-on. Stress that goes unmanaged is a serious risk factor for heart disease. It’s also something that is often overlooked or confused with another medical condition. If you have significant trouble managing stress and anxiety, we recommend speaking to a medical professional as soon as possible.

  • Have regular check ups. Most people don’t want to visit the doctor without a reason but having yearly checkups and blood work is one of the best things you can do for preventative maintenance on your heart. As we get older, we may accept many of our aches and pains but they may sometimes be the harbinger of something else. If you catch it early, you will be much better off.

Assisted Living Care Services in Morris County, NJ 

At Lester Senior Living, having caregivers on-site around the clock, means your senior family member can get the extra help they need immediately. We have one of the best ratios of staff to residents in the industry, which means we never skimp on care. Our senior living residents also have direct access to certified specialists on-site, such as physicians, therapists and other wellness providers that can manage the medical complications that come with heart disease. 

If you have any questions about our care services, or if you’d like to see if our senior community is the right fit for your loved one, please contact Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website for more information on assisted living in Morris County, NJ: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/


JCHC Honors National Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, January 27, 2021, we remember all 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the 11 million additional innocent victims of the Nazi regime. We are also commemorating the brave stories of Holocaust survivors. During the Holocaust, small acts of courage were a matter of life and death. The strength to stand up for what was right when all felt hopeless is the legacy of the survivors. Now more than ever, the Jewish Community Housing Corporation feels it is our responsibility to keep these stories of survival alive, especially for our residents who were survivors themselves. Here are some of the ways in which we will commemorate this day.

Survival Stories from JCHC Residents

January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The United Nations designated this day to honor the memory of Europe’s Jews and others who were targeted by the Nazi regime. As this day means so much to our organization, we only felt it was right to capture the real-life experiences of residents who lived through the Holocaust. Their powerful stories of strength and courage deserve to be heard and remembered for years to come. To watch the emotional interviews, follow our Facebook pages as we will be posting their recollections throughout the day.

Follow Jewish Community Housing Corporation on Facebook.
Follow Lester Senior Living on Facebook.
Follow Village Apartments on Facebook. 

#WeRemember: International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2021 Virtual Ceremony 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day with two digital events. While the museum is closed due to COVID-19, this day cannot be postponed. #WeRemember at 9:30 am will begin with Susan Eisenhower, discussing her grandfather, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his prediction that people would one day deny that the Holocaust took place.

Following this, the Museum’s annual commemoration at 1pm will feature Holocaust survivors and leaders, who will explain how important it is to preserve the lessons and truth of the Holocaust. Since the museum’s opening in 1993, they have showcased the true recollections of Holocaust survivors every year. Their stories continue to remind us to confront hatred head-on and defend the truth today, and every day. 

To watch the virtual ceremony in full, please visit this link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWQC3P4psZP763jsXRI-DfX0ppJ5M-pdU

How You Can Get Involved 

“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” – L. Frank Baum. It’s as simple as sharing the stories with others, while also learning about what really happened during the Holocaust. History can repeat itself, if we do not remember or learn from it. One easy way to get involved is to repost the interviews from our senior living residents on social media. When reposting, make sure to use the hashtags: #WeRemember and #HolocaustRemembranceDay to keep the stories alive and circulating throughout the world. You just never know whose life you could change with the power of information.

To learn more about the core values of our senior living communities in Morris and Essex County, NJ, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/

Trends and Benefits of Technology for Seniors

Seniors—a generation that’s seen telephones become palm-sized devices and computers go from filling a room to fitting in a pouch—are using today’s technology in many ways, from staying in touch with loved ones to managing their health.

Smartphone ownership has risen among older adults ages 65 and up; today, about half who own cellphones have some type of smartphone, up from 23% in 2013. Internet use among older adults has risen to nearly 70%; and e-readers and tablets, and the use of social media, are also growing in popularity among seniors.

Here’s a look at how some technology is benefiting elders.

Senior safety
For seniors who take several prescription medications a day, it can be challenging to keep track of medications. One way in which technology helps is with smartphone apps and wearables for medication management and health tracking. Reminders and alerts are available, and these apps can also help prevent medication errors. And, we are all aware of the emergency alert systems that summon assistance in our buildings at the push of a button on one’s pendant. There are also other devices are available to monitor heart health, activity, and location to keep users safe.

Voice-activated devices and smart homes are also helping keep older adults safe, especially as mobility issues arise. These devices can turn lights on and off and adjust thermostats; in private homes, they can also turn the lawn sprinklers on and off.

Staying socially active is as important as being mentally or physically active as we age. The emergence of Skype and similar video and audio chat programs are helping seniors stay in touch with family member across the country and around the world. Social media adoption is rising as grandparents want to stay abreast of their grandchildren’s accomplishments and enjoy photos of friends and family.

There are a few social media networks specifically for seniors. The stated goal of Stitch is to help seniors find peers with similar interests. Those seeking a roommate can go on the Gold Girls Network, and video-based virtual senior centers are available.

Active minds and bodies
Computer games help keep older minds agile. Of course, in our JCHC communities, there are many activities already programmed into each week, and for those who enjoy some screen time, there are many games one can play alone or with other online participants, such as jigsaw puzzles, mahjong or Scrabble.

JCHC residents enjoy weekly exercise classes but there’s always room for some additional physical activity revolving around technology. For those with grandchildren who own video game systems like Wii or PlayStation, a visit with family could include a fun round of virtual tennis, bowling, golf, and other ways to stay physically active.

Residents in all our JCHC senior living communities have access to computers in the libraries or computer rooms, where they enjoy using It’s Never2Late, a computer program designed specifically for older adults. Residents can browse the internet, send and receive email, play computer games, use Facebook, explore distant lands, and more.

Whether living in their private homes or in a senior living community, there are many opportunities for seniors to enjoy and benefit from technology. A quick internet search will yield many results for devices and programs to keep older adults engaged, socializing and safe.

Making the Transition to a Retirement Community

Moving from your long-time home to a retirement community brings about a lot of change which can be difficult for many people. Leaving the place where many memories were created can bring up strong emotions, moving away from old friends or the thought of going to a new place may trigger feelings of uncertainty.

However, moving into a retirement community also means starting a new chapter of life—one that brings new opportunities for discovery with peers.

Benefits of living in a retirement community
If you’re moving from a private home or condo, you’ll leave behind the cares of maintaining or upgrading a home. No more worries about the roof or siding, appliance repair, lawn maintenance, sidewalk repairs, snow removal, and so many other expensive or time-consuming tasks.

Do you like to visit family and friends for long weekends or plan nice vacations? Forget security systems or asking neighbors to check on the house. Just close the door and go, knowing your home is secure.

Best of all, senior living enables you to age in place, safely and with dignity. There’s always staff around, programming is designed to keep seniors active and engaged, and the residences are built with older adults’ needs at the forefront.

If you’re an older adult considering the move, here are some things to keep in mind.

Getting familiar with senior residences
Visit several senior living communities to get a feeling for the type of environment or lifestyle best suits your preferences or needs. Some considerations are:

  • Would you like senior housing with a range of services and programs?
  • Would you like to open your apartment door every day to an array of activities?
  • What about the amenities offered?
  • While touring the communities, take a ride around the area as well so you have a good idea of where town services, stores, and restaurants are located.
  • Ask if you can sample a meal in the dining room (where you’ll also have a chance to meet and chat with residents). If you have specific dietary needs, find out if those can be met.

Settling into your new home
When you move into your new home, place some favorite photos or special keepsakes in your apartment to help it feel more familiar (along with furniture pieces you’ve brought with you). If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you might consider buying some new furniture to give your apartment a fresh look. Have fun with it!

Once you move in, make sure to try out some of the offerings so you get familiar with your new surroundings and get acquainted with your neighbors. Whether it’s a class, lecture, or movie night, participating in all that’s available will help you meet like-minded people with whom to share this life chapter. Staying open to new experiences will help you write a new story for yourself. Perhaps you will:

  • Learn a new hobby or creative pursuit like painting, knitting, or poetry
  • Engage in adult learning classes about new topics
  • Join a book club or discussion group.
  • Go on an outing to a place you’ve never visited before

Widen your social circle
Remember that you’ll be surrounded by new neighbors who will welcome you, and a support staff that’s eager to make you feel at home. Talk to your fellow residents about their experiences, the kinds of programs they enjoy, and give yourself time to acclimate to your surroundings and your new acquaintances—some of whom will soon become your friends. Many seniors find that when they establish those personal connections, they feel truly at home. That’s when the fun can really begin!

At the JCHC, our senior living communities offer older adults a variety of services, programs, and amenities—and many ways to write a new chapter that enriches their lives. Contact our team for information about independent living, assisted living, and memory care options in Essex County and Morris County, NJ.