The first time Jim Newbrough toured Menorah Park will stay with him forever.
It was his first of many interviews for the long-term care facility’s CEO and president position about five years ago. Menorah Park had recently opened the position to non-Jewish applicants to broaden its search, which allowed for Newbrough – a Catholic with decades of long-term care and skilled nursing experience – to apply.
“I’m thinking I’m walking into a skilled nursing facility or long-term care facility, but it was nothing like that,” Newbrough said. “It was a vibrant, active community. There were educational programs going on, entertainment and activities, people going on and off the campus, community members and families here, schools bringing kids. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is a special place; I’ve never been anywhere like this. I’d like to have the opportunity to be a part of this.’”
From that first experience, Newbrough fell in love. He saw a place he could fulfill his life’s mission: the opportunity to help others grow.
His journey into health care started as a child when he learned from his parents the necessity of helping family and those around him.
“My father was a believer in that you take care of those in the community who are not able to take care of themselves,” Newbrough said. “That’s what community is all about – it’s to help those that need that additional support. I grew up with that mindset, and it just translated into my career.”
A registered nurse by training with over 30 years of experience in the health care industry, his values never changed no matter where his jobs took him.
“I’ve spent my career in faith-based nonprofit type organizations because I want to do something that’s more than just a career or a job, and do something that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Newbrough said. “I feel like the work I’ve been able to do in health care has really helped me be able to fulfill that part where I feel like I’m contributing to something greater.”
Despite coming into one of Ohio’s largest Jewish social service agencies with little background in Judaism, Newbrough has never felt his different religion keeps him from best serving the facility. If anything, it set him on a path of learning that first started with local rabbis, and then led to his discovery of many and unexpected similarities between Catholicism and Judaism.
“It was a big learning curve, but I do feel like it’s an honor and a privilege for me to lead these organizations,” Newbrough said. “I don’t feel that me not being Jewish has been a hindrance; I think it’s helped to have great people around me that helped me understand why things are done the way they are (in Judaism).”
In his role at Menorah Park, he’s helped bring the facility to new heights, such as leading the affiliation with Montefiore earlier this year. He’s also guided Menorah Park and Montefiore through the COVID-19 pandemic with a goal to keep residents, their families and staff healthy and virus-free.
While he’s wildly proud of these team efforts, Newbrough’s greatest accomplishment is one he sees every day: watching those at Menorah Park accomplish their goals.
Whether it’s seeing a resident improve with Menorah Park’s services to get around on their own, or a hard working staff member achieve a well-deserved promotion, Newbrough views his success by his community’s everyday achievements.
“To see the resiliency of our residents and our family members, to see the outpouring of community support for this campus – it keeps me motivated,” Newbrough said. “When they say ‘health care heroes,’ I don’t use that term lightly. We have people that come in here every day that are putting themselves in potential harm’s way with COVID, but they’re here because they’re taking care of the people that need them and rely on them. ... I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of this organization.”