November 17, 2023

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, I boarded one of the 10 South Jersey buses bound for Washington D.C. to join more than 290,000 people from all over the country to show our support for Israel. It was a profoundly meaningful and powerful experience that I will remember forever. While the march was certainly an important statement, our agency’s support of Israel and the current community extends far beyond a single day. Over the last six weeks, we have hosted more than 15 support groups reaching close to 250 people. We have seen an increase in individual counseling sessions related to the explosion of anti-Semitism and the needs of displaced Israeli families living here temporarily.

We have also been working closely with the Jewish Federation and our family of agencies throughout this challenging time. In partnership with Ronit Boyd and Iris Snyder from the Jewish Federation, volunteers Jamie Dollinger and Deenah Sirota, and our own Meri Seligman and her amazing team, we created a meet up for the newly arrived Israeli families to connect with each other, enjoy a catered Israeli breakfast, and meet with a JFCS clinician. Every guest received a welcome bag with a Walmart gift card, a resource packet, and more. Thanks to Jamie and Deenah’s leadership, we created a pop-up shop where they could select clothes, toys, and other items they needed.

To date, more than 12 families have resettled here in Cherry Hill, with more to come. Last Friday, single mother Miriam* and her daughter arrived from Israel. Our team sprang into action immediately to help her. Miriam sent us a beautiful thank you note, which reminded me why we undertake this tough but life-affirming work.

Dear Meri and Friends,

I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for the incredible support you have extended to me and my daughter during these challenging times. Your kindness has been a beacon of hope amid the difficulties we are facing due to the war in Israel.

First and foremost, thank you for covering the rent for the apartment where my daughter and I can find temporary refuge. Your generosity has provided us with a safe haven allowing us to navigate these trying circumstances with a sense of security and stability.

I am also immensely grateful for the opportunity you’ve given my daughter to continue her education at the Kellman Brown Academy. Your commitment to ensuring her academic journey continues despite the upheaval speaks volumes about the compassion and empathy that define your actions.

Moreover, your assistance with groceries has been a lifeline for us. Your thoughtfulness in addressing our basic needs has alleviated a significant burden during these uncertain times. It is truly touching to know that there are individuals like you and the wonderful community at Jewish Family and Children’s Service who come together to support those in need.

In the face of adversity, your collective support has not only met our practical needs but has also touched our hearts profoundly. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by such a caring and compassionate community.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a source of strength and kindness during this challenging period. Your generosity has made a significant impact on our lives, and we are forever grateful.

I know that we stand strong as a community, dedicated to making this world a better place by helping those in need. There are no words to express the overwhelming gratitude I have for each one of you and your support of our community.

Wishing you peace and love on this Shabbat and always,

Raechel

 

* Name changed for confidentiality