Chelsea Jewish Foundation Returns to its Roots

The Chelsea Jewish Foundation is embarking on yet another innovative project. As its award-winning Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL), the country’s first urban model Green House®, celebrates its sixth anniversary, the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home (CJNH) is undergoing a dramatic $16 million transformation. What’s so unique: the renovated structure will include many elements of a true Green House home, but on a scale that is more easily adaptable.

Founded in 1919 by Lena Goldberg, the CJNH is the flagship home of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. Originally a multi-family building in Chelsea, MA, Mrs. Goldberg turned it into a welcoming home for aging Jewish immigrants. Over the years, the home expanded, moved to a different location and took on a more traditional nursing home structure. That is all about to change. “The organization has really come full circle,” explains Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman. “We are going back to the home model that was so successful nearly 100 years ago. For us, the beauty of this project is that it is an attainable model for nursing homes around the country.”

Instead of each floor having a nurse station, several rooms and one dining room supplied by a central kitchen, the new configuration will feature two “homes” on each floor consisting of 20 residents in each. The homes are designed from the bottom up to look and feel like a real home, complete with spacious rooms and bathrooms as well as a kitchen, fireplace living room, and dining rooms in every ”home.” Residents will set their own daily routines: getting up when they choose and eating meals where and when they want. Residents will also enjoy a European day spa, café and chapel off of the main lobby. One of the most important elements of the renovation is the addition of two kitchens on every floor.  “It makes a tremendous difference to smell the wonderful aromas in each home,” states Chelsea Jewish Foundation President Adam Berman.  “Our goal is to create a warm, heimish atmosphere, with each kitchen making its own meals from scratch.  In essence, we want to duplicate the true feeling of a home as much as possible.”

Dining Room Rendering
Lobby Rendering
Living Room Rendering

In addition to the soon-to-be completed CJNH, the Chelsea Jewish Foundation recently opened a second ALS home at the LFCL. The Dapper McDonald house is named after Dapper McDonald, a NY businessman, who died in 2009 after a 9 month battle with ALS. His family toured the LFCL in Chelsea in an effort to replicate the home in New York, but soon realized it was too difficult to develop the staff and technology that was already in place in Boston.  As a result, a group of New York residents have donated $3.5 million to the Center, with a commitment to raise $12.5 million in total. These homes enable ALS residents who are completely immobilized to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades – through the Center’s innovative technology and round-the-clock support staff. In short, they are able to regain their independence and dignity, living life to the fullest in spite of their disease.

Donations received at the Chelsea Jewish Foundation’s North Shore Campus have also sparked additional innovative projects. The Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living, a 144 bed skilled nursing facility in Peabody, MA, will undergo renovations similar to those taking place at CJNH, utilizing the Green House model. Moreover, the Harriett and Ralph Kaplan Estates traditional and memory care assisted living residence will undergo renovations in the spring.

While the LFCL relies largely upon philanthropy and requires complex technology and specially trained, round-the clock support staff, the renovated CJNH reflects a very different model – one that can be easily replicated.  “We are so excited about this initiative because it has the potential to change the scope of the nursing home industry,” states Barry Berman. “Our philosophy is to provide a true home environment to our residents.” He added, “This is the building where it all started for the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. Now, it’s not just our past – it’s our future.”

For more information, visit


Leave a reply

© 2023 Association of Jewish Aging Services | All rights reserved.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?