STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART

These monthly columns, written by JFCS Executive Director Raechel Hammer,
originally appeared in the Jewish Community Voice newspaper.

Celebrating each person’s individuality during JDAIM

February 21, 2024 Jewish tradition teaches that all humans are created B’Tselem Elokhim–in the image of G-d. This inherently teaches us that regardless of our differences, each one of us contains [...]

Planting the seeds for a vibrant future

January 24, 2024 “Man is a tree of the field.”–Deuteronomy 20:19 As Tu B’Shevat approaches, I find myself examining the world around me. The traditional celebration of this holiday harkens [...]

A new year can bring a fresh start…

December 27, 2023 “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” Rabbi Hillel’s [...]

Gratitude lights the way in dark times

November 29, 2023 As I think about the events of the last several months, I am quite speechless. The emotions that we all feel—anger, sadness, pain, frustration, fear—sometimes are all [...]

It’s okay if you’re not okay…let JFCS help

November 1, 2023 If you are anything like me, you are still reeling from the vicious attacks upon our brothers and sisters in Israel last month. Ongoing escalations in the [...]

Breaking the silence about domestic violence

October 4, 2023 It is a sad fact that millions of people across the country cannot consider home a safe haven. So many people suffer in silence behind the closed [...]

Embracing change at Rosh Hashanah and all year long

September 6 2023 The 20th-century American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously said, “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” Over [...]

Giving our children the tools they need to thrive

August 9, 2023 The long, lazy days of summer will soon be coming to an end, which means the much-anticipated (and sometimes dreaded!) back-to-school season is right around the corner. [...]

The power of connection to enhance our well-being

July 12, 2023 Helen Keller famously said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” When thinking about an individual’s success and how we work to [...]

Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation…and neither do we

June 14, 2023 I recently received a letter from Denise, a client of our JFCS Betsy & Peter Fischer Food Pantry, that feel compelled to share with you: “I would [...]

A holistic approach to serving the whole person

May 17, 2023 They often say, “it takes a village to raise children” and I frequently wonder why the importance of our village is only referenced for our younger community. [...]

The leaders of today are the blessings of tomorrow

April 19, 2023 The concepts of volunteerism and service are guiding principles of our religion and our people. Throughout our lives, we are commanded to pursue justice. In fact, we [...]

Let’s change the world together…

March 22, 2023 March is widely known as the month we celebrate social workers. For more than 100 years, our social work profession has worked to support our vulnerable community [...]

Creating an inclusive community for all…

February 22, 2023 “For my house shall be a house…for ALL people.” – Isaiah 56:6 Inclusion has been a long-held value of the Jewish community. There are numerous conversations within [...]

Connecting to ourselves & others on Tu B’Shevat

January 25, 2023 Our shared Jewish tradition provides each of us with a blueprint to lead a meaningful life—helping us connect with our minds, bodies, and souls while giving us [...]

Lend a hand in 2023…

December 28, 2022 As each year comes to an end, we feel both nostalgic for years past and hopeful for the year ahead. These feelings inevitably lead us to conversations [...]

Be a light this holiday season!

November 30, 2022 As the winter months arrive and Chanukah approaches, themes of light and hope fill the air. We gather for eight nights and light candles as we remember [...]