Blog Feature

By: Elizabeth Bemis on December 6th, 2018

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Middlewoods of Farmington Resident Treasures Grandfather’s 110-year-old Menorah

Middlewoods of Farmington

farmington2When Middlewoods of Farmington resident Barry Gordon’s grandparents fled from Russia, a Russian priest who had befriended them gave them nun’s clothing for a safe escape. Other than that, the only things they took with them were candlesticks and wine cups as they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City.  Not liking New York too much, his grandfather moved the family, including Barry’s mother and uncle, to Hartford.  It was in Hartford in 1908 where his grandfather purchased a brass Menorah that has been passed down through the generations.

The Menorah was given to Barry’s parents in 1944 when his mother’s mother was ill and it was time to pass it on.  His mom would read by it every Hanukkah, and Barry has fond memories of receiving a penny the first day, a nickel the second day, a dime the third day, and then a quarter, fifty cents, a dollar, and two dollars, until the eighth day, when he would receive a present.  These eight days represent the miracle of the eight days when their meager supply of oil burned for the Israelites.  The tradition is to cook foods in oil on this holiday, and Barry’s mom would make latkes (potato pancakes), but he would also fry donuts for his kids when he had his own family.  In 1958 Barry’s mother gave him a Menorah pipe for Hanukkah because she didn’t want him smoking cigarettes.

In 1963 the Menorah was given to Barry and his wife Betsey when they got married.  He has since bought one for each of his children.  He has also decided that his special 110-year-old Menorah will be passed down to the first grandchild to get married.   What a wonderful way to continue a beautiful and meaningful tradition!

Middlewoods of Farmington Independent and Assisted Living Community is affiliated with the UCONN Health Center and is located at 509 Middle Road in Farmington.  The award-winning community is owned and operated by United Methodist Homes, a local, not-for-profit, mission-based organization based in Shelton, CT.  For more information about senior living at Middlewoods, please visit or contact Ginny Brown at 860-284-5700.

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.