September 29, 2023

Dear JFCS Family,

Tonight starts the Jewish festival of Sukkot, a harvest holiday that commemorates and celebrates our freedom, our gratitude, and our joy in claiming our independence from slavery and Egyptian bondage.

Today, I find myself pensive and introspective. I wonder what our ancestors felt thousands of years ago. For forty years, they journeyed in the desert in search of a better life – with only hope, community, and faith to drive them forward. They created temporary homes, ate together, celebrated, and mourned life’s losses – all while looking for something better – the hope of a promised land, the hope of permanency in their life.

Then, I think of our clients and the challenges they face. Many are wandering in their own metaphorical desert – in search of assistance with financial struggles, food insecurity, mental health issues, social connections, a life free from domestic violence – the list goes on. They, too, are driven by hope and faith – hope for a better life and faith in our agency to provide quality and affordable help to those in need.

I never underestimate how incredibly difficult it is for individuals to walk through our doors. Regardless of their needs, the struggle to ask for help and to have faith even when all seems lost is real. Yet, with strength and perseverance, they choose to claim their power to make their lives better – with no guarantee of success. Just like our ancestors did thousands of years ago.

Our staff work tirelessly to ensure that we are kind, caring and compassionate to those who need support. That can only happen, however, once an individual musters the courage to begin their own journey of healing. Our clients are the true heroes in our modern-day stories of hope and healing. We are so grateful that they allow us to join them on their journey to find a better path and create a better life.

We all wander in our own desert- on our own personal journey – looking for a path forward – and at times we all must invoke bravery and courage to ask for help. As I begin the celebration of Sukkot, I am aware of all there is to be grateful for –the familiar faces of our clients, our compassionate staff, our devoted volunteers, and all of you who give your time, talents, and treasure to ensure that JFCS continues to provide such critical assistance.

Today, I wish each of you well on your own journey. I wish you for you the courage to ask for help when in need and the faith to find your path forward. As always, we are stronger together.

Wishing you peace and love on this Shabbat,