Copies of Mosaic, the quarterly journal by seniors at the Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto. (Maya Mirsky)
Copies of Mosaic, the quarterly journal by seniors at the Moldaw Residences in Palo Alto. (Maya Mirsky)

Read all about it! Why the residents of a Palo Alto retirement home started their own newspaper

“There should be some way that residents here should have a voice.”

That’s what went through the minds of Herbert and Liz Leifer of the Moldaw Residences three years ago when they created Mosaic, a quarterly journal by and for the seniors who live at the Jewish retirement community in Palo Alto.

Moldaw already had a newsletter, but it was for official communiqués from management — “strictly about committee meetings,” said Herbert, 95. “Our attitude was, what’s the paper for?”

So the couple decided to found a journal to amplify the voices of the residents of Moldaw, which is on the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life. Mosaic is published four times a year, with poetry, memories and essays by the residents. It is not available online.

“The intent really was to open a channel for residents to do something original,” said Liz, 91.

Herbert and Liz Leifer, editors of the Moldaw Mosaic. (Courtesy Herbert Leifer)
Herbert and Liz Leifer, editors of the Moldaw Mosaic. (Courtesy Herbert Leifer)

The winter 2020 issue includes musings on Homer’s “The Odyssey,” a recollection of fleeing the Holocaust to Ecuador and a report on a visit to China. There’s also poetry, and photos of dogs taken from the internet. The Leifers are the editors, with two other residents serving as their editorial board. Moldaw staff help with the layout.

The journal has had a good response from the residents, the Leifers said.

“I got a very nice note last week from one of the residents,” Liz said.

But they admit it’s harder to find contributors than they anticipated. “The other residents seem to be reluctant to try their prowess at writing,” Liz said.

The Leifers met at UCLA and spent most of their lives in Los Angeles before moving to the Bay Area four years ago to be closer to family, including grandchildren.

Although Mosaic is “open for contributions from all residents,” Herbert said, there are two topics the editors stay away from. One is politics.

“There are very strong political feelings here and we don’t want to get into a cat fight,” Liz said.

The other thing the journal doesn’t want to get into is love affairs — something which, they intimated, does go on in the community of 200 seniors. Who’s dating whom? Is there any two-timing going on?

“We don’t want to know!” she said.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.