January 2022 marked the beginning of Jewish Family Service’s year-long celebration to commemorate the agency’s 50th anniversary. On November 6, we look forward to a highly entertaining virtual celebration. New for this year, the 50 Acts of Kindness initiative was created to emphasize the essence of JFS. This initiative not only engaged experienced volunteers, but also attracted many new ones. A committee made up of representatives from different organizations collaborated with staff to brainstorm ideas, create action plans and carry out the mission of tikkun olam.
The long-standing goal of beautifying neglected headstones in local Jewish cemeteries was made possible thanks to this program. “The collaborative nature of this project brought together people from across the Lehigh Valley, along with our Partnership2Gether friends from Yoav, Israel,” said Sue Sosnow, cochair of the JFS 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Muhlenberg College Hillel students are once again hosting Shabbat services with the residents of Tikvah House, after two years of not being able to gather in person. “The students of Hillel have been instrumental in expanding the sense of Jewish community for the residents of Tikvah House, and we are thrilled that they can once again celebrate Shabbat together,” said Carol Wilson, older adult case manager for JFS.
Community member Alicia Zahn was inspired by the 50 Acts of Kindness initiative and assembled a team of women to make home-baked goods. They donated a beautiful basket filled with the goodies to the National Alliance on Mental Illness raffle fundraiser as an Act of Kindness.
Knitters from all over the Lehigh Valley created lap blankets for those who could use a little extra warmth and coziness. Volunteers of JFS hand-wrapped the 27 blankets, which were delivered to the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest cancer center. “This has truly been a golden year,” said Debbie Zoller, executive director of JFS. “To see the way our community looks out for one another and spreads kindness has been remarkable.”