Important Information About The COVID-19 Vaccine Available To Residents Of Our Facility.

Margaret Tietz Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Commitment, Compassion, Customized Care

Cassena Care CEO Alex Solovey Dedicates Sefer Torah And Shul At Margaret Tietz Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

By Shabsie Saphirstein, Event Organizer Photo Credits: Mark Mittel of Masterpiece Studio 13 Published: April 11, 2024,

Six months to the day after the October 7 massacre in Eretz Yisrael, Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center celebrated a remarkable hachnosas sefer Torah this past Sunday, April 7, five years after first setting out to plan its welcome to the center. Alex Solovey, CEO at Cassena Care, took over management of Margaret Tietz back in March of 2018 and has embodied the spirit and foresight of its founders by delivering worthy programs and services in an atmosphere immersed with home-like qualities set forth in 1971 when the facility opened. Today, the center boasts 140 private and 30 semi-private rooms, and 380 stellar staff members who care for residents round-the-clock.

“This has been an amazing experience,” proclaimed Alex, standing alongside his wife Alla and son Benjamin. “I honestly haven’t seen it anywhere else!” continued the gracious donor as he described varied communal engagement at Margaret Tietz. Alex referenced his appreciation for the younger generation, represented by talmidim from Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim who ensure Shabbos minyanim at the center’s shul, which was also dedicated at the ceremony, and high school students from Shevach High School who enjoy engaging with residents on their visits to the center. Alex spoke of the communication and engagement seen within the Margaret Tietz community as the different generations share stories and develop emotional attachments each week. “Young kids from our local yeshivahs coming here every week are amazing.” Alex thanked the attendees of the Shabbos Shacharis minyan that sees some three-dozen worshipers and encouraged the re-launch of a daily minchah minyan, as well as usage of the shul for communal functions and celebrations.

Queens DA Melinda Katz, the sole remaining Jewish district attorney in the State of New York, has grown fond of Margaret Tietz over her years in public service. The DA explained, “When I was working for Borough President Claire Shulman, I felt like she spent half her life here in Margaret Tietz – and she was not a patient. She was someone who loved this center, as I do, and knew the value of having a center like this that cared not only for the individual, but for the entire family, like I do.” Katz observed, “If you look around the room, from my perspective, we really needed this. The world is going a little crazy and is divided in so many ways. Those of us that are fighting hard, clearly for the State of Israel, sometimes feel that the fight is a little isolating.” Katz acknowledged that uniting for the dedication was an amazing show of being present for one another.

The tasteful shul and Torah were dedicated in memory of Izik Shamalov z”l, the father of Mrs. Solovey and her brother Michael. The dedication also commemorated the memories of their grandparents, Mishoel Shamalov z”l, Bertha Gavrielova Shamalov a”h, Roza Shoshana Shimanov a”h, and Yadgar Shimanov z”l, in addition to Alex’s grandparents Mania Kopyt a”h, Naftali Kopyt z”l, Dinah Solovey a”h, and Zamund Solovey z”l. The family, including Michael and Milana Shamalov, Tatyana Shamalov, Viola Krivitsky, and Sam Shamalov, joined in the festivities.

“Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. What an amazing event. What a stunning venue. What a beautiful sefer Torah. The best band in North America and such delicious food; what an event!” exclaimed Event Coordinator Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky, Director at Chabad of Northeast Queens, who together with his wife Dina have run CNEQ STREAM School since 1996.

“Many well-intentioned Jews throughout the world donate their funds to keep Judaism strong. Some build museums, erect monuments, or sponsor chairs at colleges, but you, Alex understood the greatest dedication that one can make,” expressed the Queens Senior Chabad emissary. “In the words of the great Rav Saadia Gaon, ‘What makes us a People is our Torah; that is the greatest dedication that a person can make.’” Pointing to the table where sofer Rabbi Moshe Klein led the completion, Rabbi Blesofsky stated, “The Torah on that table is not just an ancient message written on parchment. Rather, it is divrei elokim chayim, eternal words of a living G-d. It is the divine Constitution that guides and inspires our People throughout the world.” The Chairman of the local Council of Shluchim posed the query, “What else unites a Jew from Moscow and a Jew from Jamaica, or a Jew from France to a Jew from Australia? It is our Torah that unites us, not our matzah ball soup, nor our culture, not our chopped liver, but the Holy Torah.” The rabbi echoed the words of King Solomon, explaining that the Torah is a tree of life to those who cleave to it and called its supporters “tomchei Torah.”

Alex and his family added the final letter to the scroll, making it a complete Torah with lineage straight back to Moshe Rabbeinu at Hat Sinai. The sofer brought Benjamin Solovey close to watch the final lamed written, and then amidst joyous song, lifted the Torah towards the heavens for the Torah’s first hagbah. The music of Pumpidisa kept a celebratory mood all morning and culminated their presentation with lively tunes that brought the Torah to its home in the shul’s holy ark.

Concerning the unfolding situation in Israel, Rabbi Blesofsky noted how our hearts and souls are with our brethren and that dedicating a Torah, the protector that safe keeps the Jews, exemplifies a primal manner of strengthening am Yisrael.

“Everyone here felt there could not be a celebration like this without supporting one of the efforts in Israel,” said Master of Ceremonies Nachum Segal. “Moshav Maveh on the Egyptian-Gaza border is desperately trying to improve their security system, and six months later, I do not have to tell you why.” (A fundraiser continues for Moshav Naveh’s security upgrades detailed this past December in this publication. Organizers thank Zion Lashem of the moshav for the relentless dedication shown to his neighbors. Consider partaking in the effort at

Director of Public Affairs Linda Spiegel thanked attendees for the amazing turnout in making their dream a reality. Spiegel spoke of Alex’s eagerness to build the shul when the vision was presented. When he asked how else he could contribute and the idea of a sefer Torah was presented, Alex replied, “How many do you want, one or two?” A planned dedication was curbside by Covid, and the sacred Torah remained in storage ever since. “It is really a monumental day in Queens. I don’t think I know of any other nursing facility that dedicated a sefer Torah because of your generosity and vision of ownership,” said Spiegel speaking to Alex. “This facility is here for the community, these doors open right into this synagogue, and we’re hoping going forward that people will use this as a simchah space.” Spiegel concluded her remarks with thanks to the site’s Administrator, Kwang Lee, who works daily to adhere to the needs of the religious Jewish community. A note of thanks is due to Arthur Cooperberg, Vice President of Finance and HR at Cassena Care, for assisting. Rabbi Zavel Pearlman, spiritual guide to all at the center, thanked Alex for providing “everything that we need for the spiritual health and well-being of our residents.”

“Good things come to those who wait,” said Rabbi Daniel Pollack, Jewish liaison to Congress Member Grace Meng, who has stood by the Jewish community despite constant bullying from pro-Palestinian elements. “This is a wonderful simchah and more than anything it’s a kiddush Hashem ad infantum.” Of Rep. Meng, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rabbi Pollack added, “She has been a steadfast friend and supporter of our community, the State of Israel, and making sure that Israel gets the funding that they need to protect themselves.”

Segal addressed the donor, “Alex, can I tell you what most rehab centers in this country do when they are asked to have a synagogue, a place for services, or Torah? You’ll be lucky if the synagogue is the size of a large closet. You’ll be lucky if the synagogue is large enough to hold 10 men, and you’ll certainly be lucky, very lucky, if the synagogue has a brand new sefer Torah. This community and of course, everyone here at the center, is so indebted to you for the incredible generosity of you and your family, and for having a day like this where we could celebrate our tradition and our heritage at a place as simple as Margaret Tietz.” Alex thanked his wonderful staff and concluded, “We want this place to truly be a community-oriented facility where members can integrate and interact with our residents and make use of this shul.”

Leave Comment