Looking Back And Forward Together

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is approaching, which means that another year has passed.

Each individual has experienced either joy, sorrow, relief, avoidance, stress – or perhaps several or all of these, or even none. The way we look within ourselves is complicated and we all have different feelings depending on who we are, where we are in life and where we think we are going in the future.

At JFS, I look at many wonderful accomplishments this past year. We tried some new programs - the Mazel J Café, Shopping and Sharing, Mazel Meals, inviting the Lehigh Valley rabbis and cantors to JFS for a morning seminar, participating in the LIFE & LEGACY Program and offering an older adult women’s luncheon. Carly’s BirthdayBackPACKS enabled us to give out 150 backpacks filled with school supplies to children who would not otherwise receive them. We doubled our amount of volunteers and provided appropriate training.

Each program, in its own unique way, reached out to community members who can benefit from interacting with JFS. At the same time, JFS benefits from the support of our donors and volunteers.

While I am very proud of our accomplishments which I share with our board and staff, I am always cognizant of the fact that no matter what we do, there are people who are still lonely, food insufficient, lacking mobility and feeling overwhelmed by their lives. How do we balance our accomplishments with the unmet needs?

As the High Holy Days approach, I enter my private little reflection pool. The pool is full of memories of the people I miss each day as well as my worries of a future I cannot control. I think of those who are suffering and wonder how to ease their pain.

In spite of much uncertainty, I strongly believe that relationships are what really matter. At JFS and in the Jewish community, building meaningful connections makes a difference. Rabbi Harold Kushner says that “all the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spend so much time and energy creating are built on sand. Only our relationships to other people endure. Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up. When that happens, only the person who has somebody’s hand to hold will be able to laugh.” Thank you for supporting JFS and helping it to extend its hand.

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