Denise Kaye is a long-time resident of the Valley, calling North Phoenix home for the past 25 years. Originally hailing from the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, Denise grew up with a strong connection to Jewish life and values. Today, she continues to weave her Jewish heritage into both her personal life and her professional endeavors.
Denise’s journey began in St. Clairsville, Ohio, on the border of Wheeling, West Virginia, and just an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In her close-knit family, her parents instilled a deep connection to Jewish life by celebrating Shabbat every Friday night and hosting holiday gatherings. They were actively involved in Congregation Temple Shalom in Wheeling, where the sense of community was strong, even with 75 member families. Denise and her sister Erica attended URJ Camp Harlem in the Pocono Mountains and had the opportunity to spend a summer in Israel. Growing up in a smaller town, Denise’s family created a Jewish home environment that left a lasting impression on her. In fact, in 1998, Denise was encouraged to join her sister at Camp Charles Pearlstein (now Camp Daisy and Harry Stein), where she worked at the camp as a unit head and met her husband Eric. Click here to read a bit more about the story of how they met.
“I think people that live in larger cities often times take a large Jewish Community and the need to create a Jewish home environment for granted as opposed to families likes ours that didn’t have a larger Jewish Community,” shared Denise.
Denise has passed on her love for Jewish life to her own children through various avenues. Her children attended Jewish preschool, participated in Jewish summer camps, celebrated Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, visited Israel, and actively engaged with their synagogue community. Both Denise and her husband, Eric, have volunteered in the Jewish community, setting an example of giving back. Additionally, Denise’s sister, Rabbi Erica Burech, and sister-in-law, Cantoral Soloist Emily Kaye, have initiated Shabbat Stop & Go, a meaningful community initiative.
Beyond her commitment to Jewish life, Denise enjoys a diverse range of interests and hobbies. She loves hiking, attending live music events, exploring new restaurants, and embracing adventures. She’s also a regular visitor to the Valley of the Sun JCC for exercise and programs, enjoys long walks with her dogs, participates in social action events, and volunteers for various non-profit organizations.
Professionally, Denise currently co-owns and operates Connections In Homecare & Communities, a Homecare and Placement agency with her husband Eric. Their agency provides caregivers to older adults who need assistance with daily activities, allowing them to age in place. They also help place older adults in assisted living facilities when home care isn’t the ideal option.
Denise’s professional philosophy aligns with Jewish values of repairing the world and praying with one’s feet. She and her team educate and assist people daily in planning for the future, an often-overlooked aspect of life. They are also honored to care for Holocaust survivors in the valley, offering their services without invoicing, as it’s paid through reparations. Denise draws inspiration from these survivors and values the wisdom they share.
“I am in awe of them and lean in to listen to their stories of wisdom; they are true heroes!” said Denise when speaking of the Holocaust survivors they serve.
Denise emphasizes the importance of proactive planning for the last stages of one’s life. She encourages families to have these conversations while their loved ones are still cognitively sound. She compares the aging process to the movie Benjamin Button, where the mind reverts to a childlike state while the body retains an adult appearance. Being proactive with financial planning, account information, and other critical aspects can ease the transition and reduce stress for adult children taking on caretaking roles.
“It’s challenging and emotional for adult children to step into a parental type of role, but that tends to happen when there is no plan or knowledge of finances, accounts, logins, etc. which play a huge roll throughout the planning, care, and end of life stages,” explained Denise. “That’s why I encourage families to be proactive rather than reactive with these planning type aspects.”
Denise is deeply grateful to be a part of the vibrant and supportive Jewish community in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Having experienced a different upbringing in a smaller town, she values the resources and opportunities available in her current community. Denise hopes that her contributions and those of her colleagues will leave a lasting impact on current and future generations.
And come meet Denise in person at an upcoming presentation at the Valley of the Sun JCC on Thursday, November 2 at 5:30pm. Aging Gracefully, emphasizes the importance of proactive planning for the last stages of one’s life. This presentation will encourage & teach families how to have these conversations while their loved ones are still cognitively sound. Being proactive with fall prevention measures, financial planning, account information, and other critical aspects can ease the transition and reduce stress for adult children taking on caretaking roles. This will also guide the adult children to start the process for themselves so it’s easier for their own children.
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