Neigher family cited by Jewish Geriatric Services for efforts
LONGMEADOW -- Jewish Geriatric Services (JGS) of Longmeadow dedicated its Chapel to the Neigher family of Springfield following Shabbat services on Oct. 2.
The dedication, which was attended by close family and friends of the Neighers and JGS staff and volunteers, was the culmination of a special commitment by the Neighers to assist JGS in the care of its seniors. But the dedication was also a testament to the commitment and service the family has shown to the organization over the last 100 years. The Neigher Family Chapel is the focal point for religious life and worship within the Julian J. Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home.
In making their gift, the Neighers reached out to three generations of family members, which was the first time JGS had received a gift that spanned that many generations.
"Through their gift, the Neighers have brought together family members in a gesture of support that is a testament to their love and commitment to each other and to the people we serve at JGS," said Sue Halpern, director of advancement and major gifts. "It is also an expression of the commitment the family has shown to Jewish traditions and values throughout their life."
Brothers Hi and Abe Neigher stand in front of the plaque bearing the new name of the Chapel at Jewish Geriatric Services: "The Neigher Family Chapel." The Neigher family has supported the services and programs of JGS and the Jewish community the this area in various ways for three generations.
The Neigher family has been part of the Springfield Jewish community in many ways and for many years. Several members of the family have resided at the nursing home and also served the JGS community as dedicated volunteers. Since JGS was first built in 1912, there has always been at least one member of the Neigher family that was in some way a part of the JGS community.
For example, in 1912 when the Daughters of Zion went door to door selling raffle tickets to create the original Daughters of Zion Home for the Aged on Massasoit Street, Betty Neigher, who lived down the street as a young girl, would visit residents and share recipes. Betty celebrated her 100th birthday at JGS.
In 1975, Molly Neigher, together with other dedicated members of our Women's Division Board, worked diligently to raise the necessary funds to move JGS from its building on Copley Terrace to today's facility in Longmeadow.
According to Halpern, Abe Neigher, his son David, his brother Hi and Hi's wife, Ethel, have contributed thousands of hours of volunteer service to JGS residents over the past few years, doing everything from running the coffee shop to singing in talent shows and, in general, just being there.
"If the coffee shop is closed, Abe opens it," Halpern said, commenting on Abe's commitment in particular to the organization. "If a volunteer calls in sick, he fills their place. I have witnessed him retrieving a blanket for a resident who may be playing bingo in the auditorium and is feeling a bit chilled. He tells me that on Wednesdays, he'll do the windows."
"The family embraced the idea of supporting JGS in such a passionate manner," noted Halpern. "The project was spearheaded by Abe and his son, Bill, and nephew, David, and brother, Hi,, and they quickly got other family members, nieces and nephews, located far and wide, to support them in this endeavor."
"We at JGS are so appreciative of their remarkable commitment and support, and it's that commitment that we honored by naming the chapel in their name," Halpern added.
The family members who contributed to the gift included Abe Neigher of Springfield, Hi and Ethel Neigher of Longmeadow, Bill and Susan Neigher of Chester, N.J., David Neigher of Springfield, Alan and Silvie Neigher of Fairfield, Conn., Doris Goldberg of Norwich, Conn., Edward and Rosalind Siegal of Fairfield, Conn., and Steven and Jill Kaplan of Rochester, N.Y., and Deborah Neigher and her brother Aaron of Chester, N.J.