Lauren Sharfstein’s passion truly is working with seniors. She’s devoted most of her adult life to helping bring joy to seniors, currently as one of The Jewish Pavilion’s program directors.

“Jewish seniors have such wonderful sense of humor and such great wisdom,” Lauren says. “I love listening to their life stories and learning about the lives behind the people.”

One time, when she was working as the activity director for Kinneret, a woman came to her office with her CV. The woman had worked with the Italian Intelligence Agency, and, at one point, she entertained the Boston Ballet at her house.

“I realized there was so much I didn’t know about the people who I was working with,” she says. “My Nana was a major influence on my life because she broke the generation gap for me. I would visit her all the time and I have the same joy with the seniors I work with then I did with my Nana.”

Sharfstein spent her childhood in Central Florida, before moving to North Carolina when she was seven. She returned often and came back as a senior at Lake Brantley High School and graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

The degree was tied to her early goal of becoming a travel writer.

She’s very quick to let someone know that Hawaii is her favorite place to visit and how she described it shows her skills in describing a destination.

“It’s perfect,” she says. “The temperature is always comfortable, and you have the mountains and the beach. I fell in love with the attitude of everything being in harmony with the land and the ocean.

“The razorback mountains are just incredible, and you need to ride around them in a convertible to smell the fresh flowers and fruit along the way,” she added.

While she was studying for her degree, she started working at Kinneret and decided it was her life’s work. “I wanted to stay working there as long as possible,” she adds.

Unfortunately, due to government cutbacks, all activity director positions in government-subsidized senior communities were eliminated, including her position. While saddened, she spent the next few years with her husband raising their two daughters. She took a position at the Roth JCC Early Childhood Learning Center teaching preschool, but she really wanted to work with seniors.

When the program manager position at The Jewish Pavilion opened up, she immediately took the position. She joined The Jewish Pavilion in 2022.

“Our seniors were the generation that cared for us when we were little, and we should pay it back and do all we can for them,” she says. The Jewish Pavilion truly helps build that circle to allow me and others to give back to our elders.”