March 22, 2024

Dear JFCS Family,

This weekend, we celebrate the holiday of Purim – a holiday that reminds us not only to be grateful for our freedoms but also reminds us of the incredible strength and bravery of the many women in our community. Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, risked everything to save the Jewish people from death and destruction, while Vashti suffered horribly because she stood up for her values and refused to stray from her beliefs. Esther and Vashti were not the first women in our history to show compassion, strength, and courage in the face of danger and they certainly won’t be the last.

For me, they are role models. During this difficult time in our lives, when antisemitism is at an all-time high and the world has once again begun to treat Jewish people with disdain and discouragement – I look to the past for hope and resilience.

I know that we have everyday heroes who live among us! In fact, I don’t have to look too far. Just this week, more than 17 volunteers delivered Shaloch Manot bags (Purim treat bags) to almost 100 JFCS clients. From children to adults, our volunteers made these beautiful bags and delivered them to our clients. Whether it be at Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey’s Community Mitzvah Day or Kellman Brown Academy – children made beautiful Purim cards bringing joy and light to the lives of our clients. Our holiday distributions happen six times a year, and they are all supported by individuals in the community and the Raymond and Gertrude R. Saltzman Foundation. 

When we need inspiration, or we need to fuel our hope for the future – we don’t have to look for grand gestures and great miracles. We need only look inside our homes and within our own community! The magic and spirit of change is within each one of us. The small gestures and kindness we bring to this world are what make miracles possible. It is the belief in humanity and in each other that will bring peace to this world of ours. It is all of you who will change the world – one person at a time.

Thank you for being you and for joining our efforts to serve those who are most vulnerable and most in need.

Wishing you peace and love on this Shabbat and every day!

All my best,