JF&CS News Winter 2011

Services for People with Disabilities celebrated the Festival of Lights at its annual Chanukkah party held at the JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham. This joyous evening brought together more than 120 folks from our CHAI program as well as their families, volunteers, JF&CS staff from across the agency, including Chief Executive Officer Sy Friedland, and advisory committee members including chair and JF&CS board of directors president-elect Jackie Weinstein.

Guests enjoyed a warm and relaxed atmosphere as they celebrated both Shabbat and Chanukkah, singing songs, playing games, and sharing a festive meal with each other. "There was a lot of warmth and joy in the room. The staff did a great job, and their eagerness to make this a wonderful event really showed," said Sy Friedland.

The festivities began with the lighting of the menorah and the Shabbat candles; then the crowd enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken, brisket, rice, salad, latkes, and enormous jelly doughnuts.

"I was very moved by how excited the residents were to be there. It was obvious it was a very special evening for them. They were dressed up and they were buzzing," said Jackie Weinstein. "It was touching that everyone was there to celebrate Chanukkah and to enjoy a sense of belonging to something bigger," she added. Jackie attended with her husband Alan and son Matthew, 20, who has autism. "Matthew hasn't attended events like this. It was very special to bring him to an event where he so clearly belongs. He really enjoyed it," she said.

After the meal, partiers made dreidels out of marshmallows and chocolate kisses, answered Chanukkah trivia, played bingo and team tic tac toe, and enjoyed Chanukkah gelt.

Advisory committee members commented on the significant commitment JF&CS staff put into planning the event and by the joy felt by everyone in the room. "Bravo!" said Stephen W. Bernstein. "Thank you for running such wonderful programs. CHAI really cares about ensuring that the residents and clients are always active and that they are given real choices from among a variety of activities and opportunities. This approach gives them a feeling of empowerment, respect, and independence that furthers their continuing growth and development.

"To spend time with the residents and their families and to hear their stories makes a compelling case for our support for these programs," added Jackie.

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.