Doris Kahn, An Elder In True Form
Our second installment in our Fall Elder Stories series is brought with thanks to LifeBio and the Elders at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital.
Doris Kahn is a proud and rambunctious woman with a fighter’s spirit. She is clearly a woman who, while enjoying and embracing her past, lives a full life in the present. Doris keeps space on her wall to commemorate her life and her family’s accomplishments.
Perhaps her favorite item is an article written about her efforts to memorialize Thomas Kennedy, a member of the Maryland State Legislature in the early 19th Century who fought for and won legal protections for the Jewish citizens of Maryland. Doris explains, “He wanted everyone to be on equal footing. So, he submitted the bill, and it failed, and it failed, and failed. But he persevered, and he got the bill passed.”
In the early 90’s, when Doris took up the cause, there was a bill languishing in the legislature to honor Kennedy, “I thought, he did (a good thing) for the Jewish people, and this woman is going to do (a good thing) for him. So I wrote and called Annapolis, deaf ears. But I persevered and I bugged the heck out of them until they said ‘OK were sick of hearing from you, we’ll do it.’”
Doris’ great love is the piano. She’s been playing all of her life and has developed such an acute musical sense that she can play any song she hears.
“If you can hum it, I can play it.” She proved herself indeed. As we wheeled into her neighborhood’s living room. we came across her piano. True to her word, two bars into my humming, she began to play You Are My Sunshine.
Community and social engagement hold a place in Doris’ heart. “Don’t do as I tell you, do as I do,” is her mantra. “I was a volunteer piano player right here at Levindale for 40 years. I told my family, give back to the community. My son is a volunteer fireman in Pikesville, MD. My daughter is the president of her child study, and my younger daughter raised $6 million in Israel Bonds in one night.”
Doris continues to find joy through her music, her family, and her life at Levindale.