September 22, 2023

Dear JFCS Family,

This weekend marks the beginning of our holiest day in the Jewish calendar: Yom Kippur. It is the day that we take stock of the year and recognize the humanity that lies within each of us. Monday is the day that we ask for forgiveness. Recognizing that we don’t always get it right, we forgive and ask to be forgiven. We accept our vulnerabilities, and we learn from them. In that vein, if I have harmed or hurt any of you, I apologize and hope you’ll give me the chance to make it right.

When I think about my call to action for Yom Kippur and the rest of the year, all I need is three words. The number three is important in our culture and in our community. In fact, we learn from our teachings that “the world stands on three things alone: Service, Acts of Loving Kindness, and Belief.”

So, what are my three words? Do My Best? … Make a Difference? … Save a Life? The possibilities are endless, I cannot choose just three. I have settled on the following: If you do your best to make a difference, you may just transform or save a life!

Each new day is a gift, and we must make the most of the gifts in our life. We must look for how we can do our part, no matter how small, to help transform the world around us. Perhaps it is a call to a friend or colleague who is struggling, or giving a smile and a warm hug for someone who needs it. Other situations may require more time and effort. But make no mistake: one small act of kindness will change the world!

Our JFCS mission is to provide hope and healing to thousands of people each year. We do it with love, grace, and compassion. The words that I share today are the ones that drive me. They give me purpose, filling my cup with positivity and hope. I want to know the words that drive you – the ones that give you purpose and fill your cup!

Please write to me and tell me YOUR three (or more) words! I am hoping to hear from many of you as I would love to share your responses next week!

I leave you with this message. In May, JFCS helped a young woman who was living in a shelter. She needed food and car repairs. Earlier this week, she left this message on our voicemail:

“Good morning! My name is Anna Stone* You helped me fix my car and gave me kosher food while I was living in the shelter. You were there for me this year when I really needed you. And I wanted to call and thank you. I wish you all well and hope you have a happy and healthy New Year.”

As you know, we don’t do this work alone. We are stronger together. Wishing you peace and love this Shabbat and all weekend,


* Names have been changed to protect clients’ confidentiality