As Fay May was thinking ahead to her upcoming 92nd birthday, she eagerly shared how she was planning for a special ‘Birthday Shabbat’ at Rockdale Temple. “I’ll have to take my walker, of course,” Fay said. “And I have an eye problem, so I can't strike a match. Rabbi Meredith Kahan will have to light the candles on the bimah—so I don't burn the temple down,” she added with a mischievous grin. “And then, I will say the barucha (blessing), and they’ll bring the wine and the challah to my seat."
People generally want to give back and make a positive impact for the underprivileged among us, but not everyone has the financial wherewithal to do that. Fortunately, there are numerous ways—aside from giving money—to improve communities, help individuals, support great causes, and ultimately make a difference.
Jim Ellis and Howard Goldwasser don’t know each other, but they share a private compulsion: they are serial volunteers. At the moment, they also share a common benefactor: Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry. The men, both retired, have been independently donating their time to the food pantry in a variety of ways, whether it’s helping people shop; gathering and packing up orders; or making deliveries directly to homes.
One of the most important aspects of charitable assistance is the need to protect the confidentiality of recipients. People’s dignity should be at the center of any provided service; if a family is struggling—whether financially or in other ways—their right to privacy must be respected. So, when Jewish Family Service (JFS) recently received a grant that made recipient anonymity more difficult, their staff worked hard to create a resolution that was a success for everyone involved.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and unsettling for many people, but it has been particularly challenging for those already suffering from food insecurity. Recently, dozens of determined Jewish Family Service (JFS) volunteers and staff spent time preparing for and participating in the in the 22nd annual Dr. Samuel S. Rockwern Passover Delivery Project of Jewish Family Service. Perhaps inspired by a desire to fulfill a mitzvah (commandment), the dedicated individuals helping with this
Jewish Family Service Heldman Family Food Pantry will remain open during this time of social distancing, so everyone who needs groceries can get them.
And they are staying safe: “We really want to reassure the community that we are working hard to ensure the safety of our professionals and volunteers,” said Liz Vogel, CEO at Jewish Family Service, which is funded by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah commenced at sundown on September 29, and while many households across Cincinnati will celebrate by attending services and partaking in family dinners, too many members of the Jewish community won’t have the means to enjoy a traditional, hot meal. Jewish Family Service Barbash Family Vital Support Center has long been committed to providing many of the items typically enjoyed during the holidays. Pam Barbash and her family generously purchased and...