JFS brings Chanukah to the Lehigh Valley

Chanukah meant eight very busy days for Jewish Family Service, with staff and volunteers winding their way across the Valley to 10 different facilities throughout the week to spread a little extra Chanukah light to those who might not otherwise see its glow. From teaching Israeli celebrations to Allentown schoolchildren to inviting JDS schoolchildren to sing at B’nai B’rith House, from clergy and cooks bringing food and festivities to older adults to Hillel students baking cookies for goody bags to a Tikvah House Chanukah Shabbat, JFS was there.

While some, like the little ones at Roosevelt Elementary School’s Winter Celebration, were spinning the dreidel for the very first time, for others it was the first time in a long time they’d felt included. Two such women were Rhoda Goldman and Elaine Sherman, who attended the performance at B’nai B’rith House despite not being residents there. They were able to attend thanks to rides from JFS’s GO program, administered in partnership with ShareCare Faith in Action, a Bethlehem-based nonprofit. Each is the only Jewish resident in her respective home, and as Sherman said, at the winter holiday season it can feel like “you’re all by yourself.” So when they heard about the concert, they were excited. 

“It’s wonderful,” said Goldman, who deals with limited mobility and doesn’t get to venture out often. Sherman agreed, gushing about the performance. “The kids were so cute. It made me cry,” she said. For these ladies and many more reached by JFS this year, it was a happy Chanukah.