When the organization, which is nonsectarian, was founded in 1987, it was hard to find places that offered Jewish programming for special-needs individuals.
"In some places they were being made fun of" for not participating in a non-Jewish holiday, Levitan said. "The parents were pretty upset to think that this is the place my child is going to be living for the rest of his life."
Judith Creed Homes also operates the Samuel Bernstein House in Elkins Park, and the Dr. Elaine Ominsky House in Northeast Philadelphia. The nonprofit organization, which has 70 clients, also has a program in the Presidential City apartment complex on City Avenue near the Schuylkill Expressway.
Adler and his housemates, with ages ranging from 30 to 65, keep a busy schedule. They work and have active social lives. Adler is retired but helps in the lunch program at the Perelman Jewish Day School in Wynnewood. Doug Jarett, 45, Levitan's brother, works in a library. Seth Ruttenberg, 30, and Alex Fischer, 32, package candy in Trevose. Joel Weiner, 65, repairs jewelry.
Before dinner, conversation bounced from a Saturday afternoon trip to a theater in Pitman in South Jersey - where some of them saw A Classic Christmas, a musical revue of Christmas specials - to bowling planned for Sunday with "buddies" from St. Joseph's University.
The Pitman show included Hanukkah songs, Adler said. Jews around the world will mark each new day of the eight-day festival, also known as the Festival of Lights, by lighting one more candle in a traditional nine-branch candelabrum known as the hanukkiah or menorah.
"It's not a huge holiday in the Jewish calendar," Levitan said. "They just really like lighting the candles, having a festive time, eating latkes."
Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or email@example.com.