IN THE NEWS: JFS parachaplains couple stay fit through love, walks and service

Randall P. Lieberman, Staff Writer


Jun 9, 2014

In November 1952, Harry and Estelle Green of Boca Raton met at a YMHA dance in Pittsburgh. There was instant chemistry, a shared love of music and talk of proposal by the end of the evening. Nine months later the couple was married, and 61 years after that the Greens are still madly in love with each other.

"It makes life easier to go through it with someone you're deeply in love with," said Estelle Green, 80. "You should always tell your partner 'I love you' every time before you finish speaking to them."

"I call Estelle every morning at 8 a.m. to make sure she is getting out of bed and to serenade her with I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder," added Harry Green, 84. "It's a great way to start our day together."

The Greens start each day with a vigorous walk. At about 7 a.m. each morning, Harry walks for a mile to three miles with his sister, Thelma Mickelson, 83, also of Boca Raton. After Harry serenades Estelle, she walks about 8 a.m. for about two miles.

The Greens, who appear to be in their sixties, attribute their good health and vibrant attitude to loving energy, kind spirit, regular exercise and eating right. The couple has walked almost every day for the past 40 years.

The Greens have been in Florida for 31 years, the last 17 in Boca Raton. For about 10 years after Harry retired, the Greens made music together professionally, doing shows at local country clubs, retirement homes and assisted-living homes. The Greens also still remain in two volunteer choirs together, performing once a week with the Palm Beach Jewish Choir and the Club Singers.

The biggest activity the Greens participate in now is serving as parachaplains with Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County on the Federation campus in Boca Raton. About 10 years ago, the Greens saw an ad looking for people to volunteer as parachaplains in the Jewish Journal and have made it an integral part of their lives ever since.

As parachaplains, the Greens lead Shabbat services every Friday afternoon at the Atrium assisted living and memory care services facility in Boca Raton. The Greens also lead "early" Shabbat services every Thursday afternoon at the Harbor Chase assisted living and memory care services facility in Coral Springs.

The services are each for about an hour and the Greens infuse their love of music and Judaism into the service to provide something special for the residents. However, the Greens both say they get out of it far more than they put in.

Harry Green said: "Estelle and I both do this in the spirit of honoring our parents. They taught us to give back and help out our fellows."

Added Estelle Green: "We know we are loved and appreciated by the big hugs and warm smiles the residents give us. Many of these people have no families to visit them and look forward to our visit every week."

The Greens are currently the only couple in the Rales JFS parachaplaining program, which consists of about 18 parachaplains, supervised by Rabbi Howard Horowitz.

According to Horowitz, there are more local facilities which would like to have their own weekly Shabbat services if any new volunteer parachaplains could be found. In addition to Shabbat services, parachaplains can also make visits to local hospitals.

According to Horowitz, except for being Jewish and having a spirit of wanting to give back, no special background is required to be a parachaplain and interested parties will be rigorously trained how to perform the services.

Horowitz said: "Our parachaplains really make a difference in people's lives and feel a strong sense of community and purpose. The Greens add their own special personal touches with their musical background and their work together as a couple."

If you are interested in becoming a parachaplain for Ruth & Norman Rales JFS, contact Horowitz at, or 561-852-6062.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, career & employment services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information about JFS call 561-852-3333. Learn more at

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