Ronna and Hal Newburger were instrumental in creating a culture of legacy giving in the Memphis Jewish community. They are pictured with the Endowment Book of Life, a program they started two decades ago for charitable families to write a message to the next generation. Ensuring strong and vibrant agencies in the Memphis Jewish community is their legacy.

Photos by Paige Miller

Over the course of 2023, the Newburger family worked with Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab to establish the Ronna K. Newburger Adult Day Center, which opened early 2024.

Ronna Karchmer Newburger, of blessed memory, passed away in February 2022 after gracefully weathering a long illness with dementia. By that fall, her husband, Hal, knew how he wanted to honor her memory: create a safe and social place for adults with memory challenges and other disabilities to find care and support.

After a meeting with Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab Executive Director Bobby Meadows, the idea for the Ronna K. Newburger Adult Day Center was born.

“This program will be right for so many adults and seniors. Daytime care is great for adults who need social stimulation and those who cannot be left at home alone whether it be from cognitive changes, developmental delays, or even post-stroke,” explained Adult Day Center Director Paige Taylor. “We are also hoping for an intergenerational participant group.”

When Hal first met with the team at the Home, he discussed how helpful a program like this would have been for Ronna during her illness.

Ronna adored people – she never met a stranger! – and was always very active in the community. The new Adult Day Center will offer several activities every day ranging from art and music therapy, group exercise, aromatherapy, spiritual care, plant care, and other fun games. It won’t feel like therapy, but underneath the fun, participants will be engaging all their muscles – physical, emotional, and mental.

A lot of the program will be in group settings, encouraging our members to converse and relate to others, but there will be one-on-one time and individualized assessments.

“We will offer very personalized care. In our pre-assessment of every member, we will collect background information about hobbies, career, and social history so if we need to improve the engagement of an individual, we have a lot of information at our disposal to connect with them,” said Paige.

The Center will be focused on upholding the legacy of Ronna through all decisions, including the inviting nature of the space and ensuring a high-quality standard of care that the Home is already known for. Ronna’s family – both immediate and extended – were very important to her, and in an effort to honor that, the Center will provide caregiver support as well.

“The Home has evolved and developed ever since our founding in 1927, and adding the Adult Day Center to our services will certainly help our organization and our community’s seniors.” Bobby mentioned. “There’s only a handful of other adult day services in the city, and we will be the only one to offer both social and medical care. Participants will be able to take advantage of the Home’s rehab gym, dietary services, and more.”

Initially, the Center will be open on weekdays with plans to offer weekend care in the future.

The Newburger family told us, “We are pleased, grateful, and excited that the Home can help us provide this service to our community. Our dear mother was passionate about her lifelong involvement with local and national Jewish communities. We were raised in a ‘village’ and watched her time after time remain steadfast in addressing important needs, engaging in community activities, while leading and implementing initiatives with enduring impact. We learned many things from her along the way, and we know that the pressing need for an Adult Day program is something she would feel matters greatly. We are excited to be able to honor her memory, knowing how many people will truly benefit from these helpful caregiving services. We have full confidence that the Jewish Home will provide an exemplary program that will aid the significant needs of those with various neurological conditions for many years to come.”

More information regarding the Center can be found on the Home’s website at: