Proud on Purim

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1364","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignnone size-full wp-image-2072","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"430","height":"271","title":"purim1","alt":"purim1"}}]] What mother wouldn’t be excited by the opportunity to watch her child perform? Last Wednesday, I was fortunate to have my pride multiplied – not only did I get to watch my 6 ½ year old gleefully sing Purim songs with his classmates for a group of seniors, but I experienced a special blending of my personal and professional lives, in a uniquely Jewish and “Federation moment.” On this day, the first graders at the Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day School put on their Purim costumes (for some – it was the third day in a row), to deliver hand-made shalach manot gift baskets to seniors participating in a holiday program at Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) in San Mateo. This activity fulfilled multiple mitzvot (commandments) for the children, their teachers and the accompanying parents: the unique Purim obligations to give gifts of food to others (mishloach manot) and gifts to the poor (matanot la-evyonim); and while not specific to Purim, the mitzvah of honoring the elderly (Ve'hadarta p'nei zakein). [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1365","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignnone size-full wp-image-2073","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"430","height":"213","title":"purim2","alt":"purim2"}}]] Central to the Wornick Jewish Day School is a framework of Jewish values and traditions, on the basis of which kids are taught important life lessons, including integrity, tolerance, respect and responsibility; and through which teachers foster social, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. What more could I hope for as a parent? How fortunate are we as a community to have institutions like Wornick (and the five other Jewish day and high schools in our Federation area) not only striving for academic excellence, but also meaningfully perpetuating our Jewish heritage, values and ideals. The seniors at JFCS were “wowed” by these kids – their enthusiasm, creativity, and politeness. The joy was palpable, and the experience for the adults was not just the highlight of their day, but of their week, or maybe even their month. I spoke with one woman who lives in Pacifica and was transported by a JFCS van to the center for this special program. Broadening the availability of senior transportation for Jewish older adults in our community is a Federation strategic priority, one which has received increased attention and funding through the Federation’s Caring Commission. Hearing directly from this woman that if transportation was not provided she would be unable to participate remaining isolated and alone reinforced for me again why I do what I do. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1366","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignnone size-full wp-image-2074","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"430","height":"293","title":"purim3","alt":"purim3"}}]] I chose to work professionally in the Jewish community over 18 years ago in large part because of my desire to put Jewish values into action each and every day. In my role as the director of the North Peninsula Region for the Jewish Community Federation, I am impressed daily by the vibrancy of Jewish life in our area and the commitment of the professional staff at each of our Federation beneficiary agencies to strengthen Jewish life and make it meaningful and accessible for all. Participating in this field trip as a class parent in and of itself would have been enough to make my day. But, viewing it also through the lenses of our Federation, as a fundraiser and community builder, brought the experience to an even greater height – truly making me feel proud on Purim. -- article and photos by Roxanne Cohen [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"1367","attributes":{"class":"media-image alignnone size-full wp-image-2075","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","width":"430","height":"281","title":"purim4","alt":"purim4"}}]]
Categories: Seniors, Volunteering


March 18, 2009


The Federation