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Stuart B. Almer

Gurwin Healthcare System has announced the availability of 18 newly built studio apartments in its Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community. The construction of the new studios marks a new choice option for the 210-luxury apartment community, located on Gurwin’s lush 36-acre Commack campus, and comes in response to market interest for more streamlined residences at a lower price point.

Ranging in size from 241 to 278 sq. ft., the upscale studios feature dual living/sleeping areas, a kitchenette with stainless steel appliances, spacious closets and fully ADA-equipped bathrooms. Large windows welcome natural sunlight and several studios feature courtyard views. Pricing begins at $4950 per month and includes all utilities, as well as housekeeping and maintenance services. Other available services include personal laundry, including linens and towels, and appointment transportation. Included in the monthly fee is full access to the community’s amenities, including chef-prepared meals, scheduled social activities and local outings.

“The addition of studio apartments is an evolution of the Gurwin vision. We are pleased to have an expanded choice of senior living options to offer prospective residents,” said Stuart B. Almer, CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “With many already spoken for, our beautiful new studios meet the needs of Long Island seniors who desire a comfortable, smaller footprint residence within a caring, active and vibrant community.”

Gurwin’s Assisted Living community includes a formal dining room, a well-stocked library, tastefully appointed gathering areas, recreation and activity rooms, a synagogue, beauty/barber salon and rooms to host guests and family. Residents also have priority access to all levels of Gurwin’s care, including Gurwin’s rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility and on-site dialysis, home care programs and adult day care. In addition, residents enjoy the community’s manicured gardens, beautifully landscaped walking paths, and myriad outdoor activities including a shuffleboard court, putting green and LifeTrail exercise stations

About Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences

Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community, located in Commack, Long Island, is part of the Gurwin Healthcare System, a renowned provider of a full continuum of healthcare and senior living services. In addition to its assisted living community, the System provides skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, advanced care, ventilator and respiratory care, on-site dialysis, memory care, and palliative and hospice care, as well as adult day care programs and home care services. Skilled nursing and rehabilitation services are also available through Gurwin’s affiliate, Island Nursing and Rehab Center, located in Holtsville, Long Island. The campus is also home to Fountaingate Gardens, a newly opened 129-apartment independent living Life Plan Community for seniors age 62 and older.  For more information, visit www.gurwin.org or call 631-715-8500.   Follow Gurwin on Facebook (bit.ly/GurwinAssistedLiving) and on Twitter (@GurwinJewish).


John P. Mastacciuola. Photo courtesy of Gurwin

Gurwin Healthcare System has announced the appointment of John P. Mastacciuola as Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens, Gurwin’s new 129-apartment luxury Independent Living Community located on its 36-acre Commack campus. Mr. Mastacciuola will manage all day-to-day operations for the unique senior living Life Plan Community, which is designed for active adults age 62 and older.

Prior to joining Fountaingate Gardens, Mr. Mastacciuola served as Regional Director of Operations at Unidine, part of the Compass Group, where he oversaw dining and hospitality services for Gurwin’s nursing and rehabilitation center, assisted living and independent living communities.  A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Mr. Mastacciuola brings to his new role more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality sector. 

“John’s extensive background in hospitality and dedication to providing exceptional member-centered services perfectly aligns with Fountaingate Gardens’ mission to provide a rich, vibrant lifestyle for active older adults. We look forward to seeing our community flourish with John at the helm,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gurwin Healthcare System,

“I am very pleased to be part of such an innovative community, providing Long Islanders with an opportunity for active retirement living,” said Mr. Mastacciuola. “I look forward to leading our team in providing distinctive service that will enrich our Fountaingate Gardens community members’ lives and create memorable moments.”  

Fountaingate Gardens is the final piece of Gurwin’s senior living offering. Within the community are two residential buildings — The Parkview and The Terraces — that consist of one- and two-bedroom elegant apartment homes. Both four-story buildings are connected to the community’s 20,000+ square-foot Clubhouse which features an array of wellness-focused amenities, a heated saltwater pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, salon, library, a variety of dining venue options and more. 

Residents at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack remembered and commemorated the victims and survivors of the Holocaust with a candle lighting vigil and ceremony on Jan. 27.

“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to honor the 6 million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust and those who survived of one of the darkest periods in history,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It is an especially important day of reflection for our Gurwin residents, many of whom experienced unspeakable atrocities firsthand and are compelled to share their stories.”

During the ceremony, 13 residents were called upon to each light a candle to honor the friends and family who died at the hands of the Nazis. Of the residents that were called up, two shared their personal stories of survival.

At 97 years old, Polish-born Cilia Borenstein vividly recalls the horrors the Nazis perpetrated against her at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp.  She is the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust.  

Rose Ashkenazy was eleven years old out the outset of World War II.  She and her family fled Poland and lived in the woods near Ukraine to hide from the Nazis, surviving the outdoors on little food and with just the clothing on their backs. Neighboring houses provided small amounts of food for the refugees, helping to keep them alive until the war ended.

“We tell our stories of survival to keep the memories of our loved ones alive and to prevent this from happening again,” said Cilia Borenstein. “There are only a few of us left and it is important to remind others of our experiences during the Holocaust.”

 Photo courtesy of Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences

Residents at Gurwin Jewish~Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack recently celebrated the cooking traditions of Hanukkah with an interactive latke cooking demonstration.

“Our Assisted Living residents always enjoy our live cooking demonstrations, especially during the holidays,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It is a wonderful time for residents to reminisce about their own holiday memories and traditions and share them with each other and our staff.”

Gurwin Chef Salvatore Zingalis conducted the demonstration live in a temporary teaching kitchen in the residence’s dining room. Residents shared stories of their own latke recipes as they watched the chef go through his recipe step-by-step and were able to enjoy a sampling of what was prepared.

Latkes are traditionally served with either applesauce or sour cream, depending on whether the meal is meat or dairy; both were available for residents to enjoy.

“As a Jewish family, we love getting together for the holidays, the bigger the crowd, the better,” said Carol Sussman, a resident at the assisted living community, thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration and complimented the chef on his technique. “I used to cook latkes for Hanukkah, but now my daughter has taken over that job. I taught her everything I know!”


Photo from Fountaingate Gardens

Gurwin Healthcare System recently held a celebration to commemorate the newly completed  Fountaingate Gardens Independent Living complex, now fully open on their Commack campus.

Photo from Fountaingate Gardens

The $115 million. 129-luxury apartment Life Plan Community is a unique concept in senior living, the newest such community on Long Island, and the final piece in Gurwin’s full continuum of care for seniors. Fountaingate Gardens opened for limited occupancy in May with the completion of The Terraces residential building and the 20,000+ square-foot Clubhouse. The Parkview, the largest residential building on the complex, was the last to receive a certificate of occupancy, representing full completion of the project.

With more than 200 guests in attendance, Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System offered a champagne toast, celebrating the milestone for the organization.

“We are thrilled to celebrate with our community members, staff, board members and those who have worked tirelessly to bring Fountaingate Gardens to life,” said Almer. “We have worked so hard to complete this long-envisioned Life Plan Community for Gurwin and we are honored to be offering Long Islanders a way to truly age in place with peace of mind.”

Throughout the celebration, which took place within the state-of-the-art Clubhouse, guests toured the facility by following a “wellness path” through a variety of rooms demonstrating the community’s Blue Zone-inspired lifestyle. The Blue Zones — areas throughout the world where people live the longest — encourage a lifestyle aimed at improving health and longevity through specific habits. Each room also featured giveaways, various Blue Zone-inspired menu items prepared by the talented in-house culinary team, and activities including a performance by the Aqualillies, synchronized swimming entertainment, in the Clubhouse’s heated saltwater pool.

“It is amazing to celebrate this official opening,” said Ryan Grady, Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens. “It’s wonderful to see members proud of and excited to show off their new home, thrilled to start this new and exciting chapter of their lives. We are pleased to be able to offer this unique retirement lifestyle to help Long Islanders live the best of their lives!” 

Pictured in photo in stofrom left, Ryan Grady, Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens; Jennifer Kennedy, Vice President of System Integration at Gurwin Healthcare System; Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System; Bert Brodsky, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Gurwin Healthcare System; and Cary Wolf, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fountaingate Gardens.  

Visit www.FountaingateLI.org or call 631-715-2693 for more information.

Above, The Parkview at Fountaingate Gardens. Photo from Gurwin
Certificate of occupancy for The Parkview marks milestone

Gurwin Healthcare System has officially opened The Parkview, the largest residential building of the new Fountaingate Gardens independent living complex on Gurwin’s 36-acre Commack campus, with the delivery of the certificate of occupancy in August. 

Fountaingate Gardens. Photo from Gurwin

The $115 million,129-luxury apartment Life Plan Community is a unique concept in senior living, the newest on Long Island, and the final piece in Gurwin’s senior living offering. More than 50 community members have already moved into their one- and two-bedroom apartment homes in the community. The first building, The Terraces, opened for occupancy in May. 

“With The Parkview now officially open, our vision of a Life Plan Community on the Gurwin campus has finally come to fruition,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gurwin Healthcare System. “We are now able to offer Long Islanders a way to truly age in place with peace of mind, knowing that priority access to assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, memory care, dialysis and day care is available on the same familiar campus, should higher levels of care ever be needed.”

Comprised of 102 apartment homes, The Parkview at Fountaingate Gardens features 11 floor plan options ranging from 830 sq. ft. to 1,350 sq. ft.  The Terraces consists of 27 apartments, with six floor plan options ranging from 1000 sq. ft. to 1,570 sq. ft.  Both four-story buildings are connected to the community’s 20,000+ square-foot Clubhouse which features an array of wellness-focused amenities, a heated saltwater pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, salon, library, a variety of dining venue options and more.  

“We are thrilled to be officially, fully open to welcome new members,” said Ryan Grady, Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens. “Our team has worked hard to create a beautiful, vibrant community for active adults; it’s wonderful to see our members enjoying their beautiful new homes, forging new relationships and embracing new opportunities. Already there is a positive energy and vibe in our community — we call it the “Fountaingate Feeling!” We are pleased to be able to offer this unique retirement lifestyle to help Long Islanders live the best of their lives.”

For more information, call 631-715-2693 or visit www.FountaingateLI.org.

‘A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart, leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it.’ – Irving Penn

By Heidi Sutton

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack revealed the winners of its 29th annual Photo Contest at an award ceremony and reception at the recently opened Fountaingate Garden’s Life Plan Community’s Clubhouse on Sept. 20. The highlight of the evening was a traditional slide show of the winning selections from this and previous years. Winners were also given the option of sending in a video describing their photo and process.

Sponsored by the Tiffen Company, this year’s competition drew over 700 entries from amateur photographers across the country. Of those submissions, 32 photos were chosen to be enlarged, framed and hung on permanent display in the nursing home. The beautiful images will be on exhibit in the Helen and Nat Tiffen Gallery for a year and will then move up to the resident units.

The event is the brainchild of Dennine Cook, Chief Corporate Communications Officer oat Gurwin who started the contest in 1993 as a way of “making [Gurwin’s] blank walls more homelike.” 

“That first year we had 60 entries in color and black and white. All the enlargements were made from negatives and slides and mounted on foamboard so we’ve really come a long way,” said Cook. “Now our contest reguarly receives more than 700 entries.”

Cook spoke of how the pandemic has taken an emotional toll on the residents at Gurwin. “For a long time they could not have visitors and often the only bright spot was seeing that familar photos outside their doorway … Your photos added some light and were appreciated more than you know.”

“This contest, although competitive and a great achievement for you as a photographer, is really about the people who get to see your work,” said Cook. 

“These are challenging times for all of us … and your photos help to beautify all of our facilites,” added Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, before the winners were announced

This year’s judges, Christopher Appoldt (Christopher Appoldt Photography), Brandon Klein of The Tiffen Company and Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography), were given the difficult task of choosing a grand prize winner along with honorable mentions for 12 categories as well as Best in Show, which this year was awarded to Deidre Elzer-Lento of Northport for “Rainbow Over LIPA Stacks,” and Best In Show Runner-Up.  

Elzer-Lento spoke about the day she took the photo. “A storm was blowing through and I watched at my window until sure enough, a full double rainbow appeared.” She raced out to her backyard and took the picture over and over until she got that perfect shot. 

This year’s Best In Show Runner-Up was awarded to Aaron Needle of Merrick for his sports photo titled “Safe!” Needle spoke of how he took the action photo during one of his son’s baseball game. 

“All the selections, whether they be Honorable Mentions, Grand Prizes or Resident/Staff selections will be judged, discussed and enjoyed by so many appreciative eyes for years to come and to me that’s the real honor — that your photos will hang for decades here in our resident’s home,” said Cook.

The annual contest does not accept digital entries, only 8 × 10 prints, which are not returned. However, Cook was quick to assure the audience that all of the submissions will be put to good use. “[The residents] use them in art therapy as painting and drawing inspiration and in crafting classes. It’s become a great resource here at Gurwin and everyone is very grateful.”

Best in Show

‘Rainbow Over LIPA Stacks’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento

Best in Show Runner-Up

‘Safe!’ by Aaron Needle

Action/Sports Category

Grand Prize

‘Fly with Me’by Michelle Nickerson

Honorable Mention 

‘Mirror Image’ by Frank DiBenedetto

Altered/Enhanced Category

Grand Prize 

‘Northport Dock’ by Ellen Gallagher

Honorable Mention 

‘Mythical Forest’ by Ellen Gallagher

Children’s Category

Grand Prize 

‘Watermelon Joy’ by Avihai Vaday

Honorable Mention 

‘Julia’ by Mike DiRenzo

Landscapes Category

Grand Prize

‘Among the Aspen’ by Meryl Lorenzo

Honorable Mention 

‘Mabry Mill’ by Carol Goldstein

Long Island/ New York Category

Grand Prize 

‘After the Storm’ by Debbie Monastero

Honorable Mention 

‘Gamecock Cottage’ by Robert Oliva

Nature Category

Grand Prize 

‘Mother Nature’ by Alan Sloyer

Honorable Mention 

‘Autumn’s Litter’ by Tom Caruso

People Category

Grand Prize 

‘Road Work’ by Vic Carlin

Honorable Mention 

‘Moroccan Merchant’ by Herb Knopp

Pets Category

Grand Prize 

‘Snow Day’ by Katie Scherer

Honorable Mention  

‘Baxter Wants a Treat’ 

by Dianne Boothe

Still Life Category

Grand Prize 

‘Farrier’s Tools of the Trade’ by Dianne Boothe

Honorable Mention 

‘Wine & Cheese’ by Bobbie Turner

Travel Category

Grand Prize 

‘Grazing on the Meadow’ by Carol Milazzo DiRenzo

Honorable Mention 

‘Sunset Surf’ by Erin Bonitz

Wildlife Category

Grand Prize 

‘Eastern Phoebe’ by Frank Silverman

Honorable Mention 

‘American Beauty’ by Debbie Monastero

Student Category

Grand Prize 

‘The Vessel’ by Emma Azevedo

Honorable Mention 

‘A Walk in the Park’ by Noah Gorlewski

Resident/Staff Selections

‘Blue Eyes’ by Lora Ann Batorsky

‘Summer Wave’ by Michael Danielson

‘Baby Isla’ by Nicole Eberle

‘Who’s There?’ by Fred Fenster

‘Port Jeff Ferry’ by Les Goldschmidt

‘Just Chillin’ by Alan Sloyer

Entries for next year’s photo contest will be accepted between Feb. 15 and April 15, 2023. For more information, visit www.gurwin.org/about/photo-contest/.


Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System (left), leads the ceremonial “turning of dirt” at Fountaingate Gardens’ Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Long Island legislators and local community members joined board members, future residents and staff of Fountaingate Gardens independent living community at a ceremonial groundbreaking event for Long Island’s newest Life Plan Community on the campus of the renowned Gurwin Healthcare System in Commack recently.  The 129-unit, resort-style apartment complex, complete with indoor saltwater pool, state-of-the-art fitness gym and cultural arts center, is designed to provide a vibrant and socially active community environment for adults age 62 years and better.  The promise of financial security and a unique safety net of care option for on-campus healthcare services is what sets the innovative community apart from other senior living choices on Long Island.

Rendering of Fountaingate Gardens Life Plan Community located on the Gurwin Healthcare System campus in Commack.

In addition to the ceremonial turning of dirt, Fountaingate Gardens founding depositors compiled a time capsule of memories, capturing the legacy they have been part of during the inception of the community, including photos of ZOOM meet ups and other friendship-building events. In recognition of the global health challenges faced over the past year, press clippings, a face mask and a spent vaccine vial were also included in the capsule as a means of closing the door on 2020 and looking ahead toward a bright and hopeful future with new friends and neighbors at Fountaingate Gardens.

“The addition of Fountaingate Gardens increases the breadth of Gurwin’s services for Long Islanders, creating a full continuum of care Life Plan Community on our beautiful 34-acre campus,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System.  “Members of our unique community are able to truly age in place — with guaranteed accessed to other levels of healthcare, such as assisted living, short-term rehabilitation or skilled nursing care — when and if needed.  We are pleased to be able to offer an innovative option to those who are seeking a vibrant lifestyle backed by a financial and healthcare safety net and 30 years of healthcare experience that only Gurwin can provide.”

Fountaingate Gardens is slated to open in the Spring of 2022.

See a slide show of the event here.

About Fountaingate Gardens: Fountaingate Gardens is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community, also known as a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC,  being built in Commack, Long Island, NY. The community is an extension of the renowned Gurwin Healthcare System, adding independent living to current offerings that include assisted living, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation, among other services. Fountaingate Gardens is a community for seniors who wish to continue their active, independent lifestyle without the burden of home ownership and with the added security of knowing a full continuum of care is available on-site when and if ever needed. For more information, please call (631) 715-2693 or visit www.fountaingateli.org.





Julia Salmon-Allen received her second dosage on Jan. 11. Photo from Gurwin

Staff members at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack were first in line to receive the initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in December, and they made history again 21 days later as those who received their first dose of the two-dose Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 21 received their second at a clinic run by Walgreens at the skilled nursing facility  on Jan. 11.

The vaccine, a two-dose regimen that provides up to more than 90% resistance to the COVID-19 virus, received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA in December, and long-term care workers and residents were prioritized to receive the potentially life-saving vaccines ahead of the rest of the population.

“I received my second dose of the vaccine today, along with many of my colleagues and residents,” said Julia Salmon-Allen, a Certified Nursing Assistant at the Gurwin Center. “I have been worried about getting COVID-19 since March, and if this will protect me, my family and our residents, I’m happy to sign up.”

“I feel great physically, and also reassured knowing that this is a step forward,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, of which the nursing and rehabilitation center is a part of. “Our community has been on edge for months, especially our family members who have not been able to visit since March. The vaccine is a positive step in the direction of bringing families back together with their loved ones.”

NYS mandates still require nursing homes to go 14 days without any positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents in order to allow visitation.

In addition to providing second doses, Walgreens staff also began vaccinating additional staff and residents with their initial dose. They will receive the second dose on the 1st of February.