“Purim holds a special place in the Jewish calendar,” says Charles Jacinto, Engage Life Director at Atria Tarzana. “It’s one of the most communal Jewish holidays, so Purim is always one of my favorite times here.”

Celebrated on the full moon in the month of Adar in the Jewish calendar, Purim is a lively celebration with food, festivities and storytelling. Located in the San Fernando Valley – home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the world – Atria Tarzana has a sizeable number of Jewish residents from various branches.

Their rich cultural traditions – especially around holidays – are reflected throughout the community, making it a unique and enriching atmosphere for residents and workers alike.

“For our residents, these religious holidays are attached to so many memories with friends and family,” Charles says. “It’s rewarding to see those traditions continue and evolve here. As an employee, I love learning and engaging those with different life experiences and cultures.”

In his role as Engage Life Director, Charles is deeply involved in all day-to-day events in the community. Even so, he’s still constantly learning from residents and longer-tenured coworkers about “how we do things here” to carry the community traditions forward.

Purim, for instance, is celebrated with storytelling, gift-giving and plenty of culinary delicacies. Fortunately, the culinary team at Atria Tarzana is no stranger to Jewish cuisine.

Each Friday, after Shabbat services, residents enjoy a special meal with staples like matzo ball soup, brisket and noodle kugel. For Purim, classic treats like triangle-shaped hamantaschen cookies and mishloach manot – kosher food baskets – complete the culinary experience.

Ringing through the halls leading up to Purim, you’ll likely hear hymns sung by visiting students and music performed by local artists.

“Purim is special because of its festive atmosphere,” Charles says. “But we commemorate all religious holidays – solemn and joyful – so residents can connect with their religious and cultural identity. I’ve been able to work closely with local rabbis to learn more about these days and the traditions. There’s always something new to learn.”

Atria Tarzana’s Hanukkah celebration even received a certificate of recognition from the City of Los Angeles for its cultural contribution to the San Fernando Valley.

“The cultural identity of our residents enriches this community in so many ways and helps make it unique,” Charles says. “It’s one of my favorite things about working at Atria Tarzana. It makes every day more interesting.”