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Reflecting On "The Bigger Picture"
March 22, 2018
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Posted by Laura Shulman-Brochstein 

One weekday a few months back, I was asked by Family Table staff if I could do a special, mid-week grocery drop off at a home in Lynn. It was a busy day at my job, in addition to picking up the kids from school and after school activities, but I would drive by this apartment building on my way home from work and figured, “What’s one more thing on my ‘to do’ list?"

After grabbing the groceries at the storage facility at the JF&CS Waltham office and picking up the kids, we all got out to deliver the three bags of fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, chicken, and non-perishable goods to an elderly man living on his own. After we dropped the food in his kitchen and exchanged some pleasantries, we turned back towards the elevator and I paused for a moment. I had approached this moment as a task, a to-do list item, a favor for a colleague. But these small moments make a big difference in ways that are sometimes impossible to see. This may have been a client who was isolated in his apartment, for whom leaving the home to shop and purchase food may have been a significant challenge. Even our short visit was a bit of human contact that could improve his well-being because he knows that there is a larger community looking out for him. My kids also learned about the importance of making time to help others, even when it isn’t always convenient. When I stopped rushing from one thing to another, I got the satisfaction of knowing that I have the opportunity care for others as a part of my daily routine. 

Moments like these make me remember the many times I heard Barry Shrage, outgoing president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, speak about the imperative of creating communities of learning, service, and compassion. He would say that while the United States had given us Jews many opportunities as a community, it was incumbent upon us to create lives of meaning and purpose. Through learning about our own history and development as a people, by actively giving back to others through the numerous volunteer opportunities available in the Jewish and larger community, and doing so with deep compassion for the many varied challenges individuals encounter, we create a fulfilling life and build something greater than ourselves.

On April 12, 2018, JF&CS will honor Barry at our annual Benefit for his three decades of service to the Boston Jewish community. The event is chaired by Shari & Robert Cashman and Jill Cohen & Michael Savit. We invite you to join us for this special evening to honor the career of Barry Shrage and to support the mission of JF&CS. 

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