May 24, 2024

Dear JFCS Family,

Each year, JFCS partners with the American Legion Part 372, the Office of Veterans Affairs, the Jewish War Veterans, and the Camden County Board of Commissioners to honor the service and sacrifices of our Veterans. In the last several weeks, we have visited Crescent Memorial Park, Harleigh Cemetery, and Locustwood Memorial Park to place American flags and Jewish markers (when applicable) on the graves of local Veterans

This past Sunday, as I walked around Locustwood Cemetery, I was accompanied by our JFCS volunteers and Volunteer Services staff (Wendy Hernberg, Miranda Mason, and Sherri Jonas). We were joined by the Cherry Hill Fire Department, the Cherry Hill Police Department, and many others. As I chatted with Mayor David Fleisher, Commissioner Melinda Kane, and Councilwoman Jennifer Apell, I was overcome with emotion.

Something about being in the cemetery centers me. While it is difficult to be surrounded by those who are no longer with us, feelings of loss and sadness are normal – there is also a tremendous weight that sits deep within me. It is a deep responsibility to carry on the work of those who came before us. Jewish tradition teaches that “we are not commanded to complete the work, but neither we are not permitted to avoid it.” So, while I am surrounded by loss, I am comforted by thoughts of continuing the journey of those who came before us. It is a gift from the past and a promise to build a more hopeful future.

I am so proud to have the opportunity to honor our Veterans every year as Memorial Day approaches. I am even more proud of the work JFCS does to support Veterans throughout the year, including medical transportation, case management, financial and food assistance, and so much more – bringing help and hope to those who have served so bravely.

Memorial Day is a time to commemorate the sacrifices and service of our fallen soldiers, to stand in solidarity with them as we continue down our path of service. Marked as the beginning of the summer season, so many people hold barbeques, pool parties, and outdoor celebrations. This weekend, I hope that the true meaning of Memorial Day doesn’t get lost. As you gather with friends and family, I encourage you to find a way to pay homage to those who have served and sacrificed. I ask you to make room in your life for the memories of the service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we have the freedom and protections of this great country. And finally, the biggest ask of all: find a way to give back and continue this journey of service. If we each do our part, the world will exponentially get better.

Our fallen soldiers would want us to celebrate their lives – and to experience all the joy and excitement that life has to offer. So, this weekend, please raise a glass to those we have lost and show gratitude to those who are, thankfully, still with us!

Wishing you peace and love today and every day!

 

All my best,

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Raechel