“The spiral is humanity’s oldest symbol, representing eternal change and reminding us that life is not a straight line. It symbolizes new beginnings, renewal and hope for the future.” Boy oh boy, do I wish I could take credit for that statement, but the best I can do is put it in quotation marks and send them along in this column. Where did I find this sage thought, you might be asking? (This is where I shrug my shoulders and admit the truth – on a bottle of wine I just enjoyed with others last Shabbat.) It is indication that I did not “over enjoy” with my glass of wine to know this enlightening comment was worth writing down and using in a column!

JFCS' Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) program kicked off its 26th year
in a whole new way! 
By M indy Teele • Hag Sameach Outreach Coordinator

Our incredible volunteers helped us transform our new, dedicated, year-round Hag Sameach space in the new home of JFCS by setting up, unpacking and organizing all of our inventory – and so much more – following our relocation to Golden Valley.  
I am proud to share that over 260 families, representing more than 600 people, received gifts from our program for the winter holidays. More than 200 volunteers helped ensure that those in need could celebrate the winter holidays with dignity.  
Another benefit to having our new space is that we now have the opportunity to provide needed items to people in our community throughout the year. This means that we are collecting items for families all year round and that we will have occasional volunteer opportunities throughout the year. We would love to have you be a part of this heartwarming mitzvah experience.  
In reading the beautiful thank you cards that we have received and in hearing stories from case managers about their clients receiving ritual items and gifts for the holidays, I feel so proud to be part of this program. Whether you donated your time or a gift to this program, on behalf of the people who unwrapped the gifts, thank you for helping the holiday lights shine brighter for so many in our community.  

For information on donating and volunteering for Hag Sameach, contact Mindy Teele at

Hag Sameach Lead Sponsor: Clara Ruth Kaner Children’s Fund, a designated fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation
Are you friendly, compassionate and looking for an important opportunity to help others?
JFCS is looking for Volunteer Receptionists to work at the front desk alongside JFCS staff to greet visitors, answer phone calls, and set the tone to ensure a welcoming and positive experience for participants, guests and staff. The position is 2-4 hours per week, on regularly scheduled day(s).

Or contact Dana Shapiro,
Community and Volunteer Engagement Coordinator & Intake Counselor, 952-417-2112
Tips for parents to help regulate children’s emotions during the holidays
By Natalie Oleson • JFCS Psychotherapist

The holiday season can be a stressful time for families. Parents are extra busy with holiday parties, shopping and preparing. Kids can struggle with change in routine, as well as the increased sugar intake! All of these things can make even the most well-meaning parents lose patience with their children. Here are some tips for helping your child regulate their emotions all year round.

Counseling Founding Sponsor: Lynne and Andrew Redleaf Foundation
Introducing new NextGen Coordinator David Lauer
David Lauer is JFCS’ new Development NextGen Coordinator. NextGen engages community members ages 21–36 through social events, volunteer and leadership opportunities, and a giving circle. Its mission is to provide opportunities for young adults to develop leadership skills and deepen connections to Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis and its mission through volunteer experiences and philanthropy.

NextGen sponsor: Cindy and Perry Witkin
Save the date: Keeping the Spirit Alive – The Conference for Caregivers and Those Supporting a Loved One with Dementia
The Twin Cities Jewish Community Alzheimer’s Task Force Presents:
"Keeping the Spirit Alive – The Conference for Caregivers and Those Supporting a Loved One with Dementia"
Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Vic Sandler, MD, and
emcee Jana Shortal

April 7, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Beth El Synagogue (5225 Barry St. W., St. Louis Park)
This conference is FREE AND OPEN TO ALL!

Watch for more information and registration to come.
Questions? Contact Sharon Goldetsky, Community Conference Coordinator @

C aregiver Conference sponsor: The Oren and Sharon Steinfeldt Foundation
Community Sponsors: Alzheimer’s Association, Beth El Synagogue, Hadassah Upper Midwest, Minneapolis Jewish Federation, Minnesota Rabbinical Association, NCJW/Mn, Sabes JCC, Sholom, St. Paul JCC, St. Paul Jewish Federation. This conference is a collaboration of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis and Jewish Family Service of St. Paul.

JFCS Caregiver Coaching: Providing individualized care with
boundless compassion
Being a caregiver can be emotionally charged and sometimes frustrating. Though you cannot control the disease process, you can control many aspects of how it affects you and your loved one.
Just call JFCS and we can help.

Senior Services Sponsors: Kelen Family Foundation, The Oren and Sharron Steinfeldt Foundation
Doubling the Joy of the Holiday Season: Navigating the December Holidays for Interfaith Families

Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are quickly approaching, Chanukah feels like a distant memory. For many interfaith families, how to navigate the coming Christmas celebrations may be a source of worry or conflict. How does one handle invitations to Christmas parties, a Christmas Eve church service, or other holiday traditions? There are no RIGHT answers to these questions, but it does remind us the importance of taking stock and having a game plan before the invitations roll in and the celebrations begin. Many families delay conversations about how to celebrate the holidays – they are emotionally charged, delicate conversations and are often confusing – and there are rarely clear-cut answers.

The weeks between Chanukah and Christmas this year have maybe made it easier to be inclusive of both or many December holidays this year. As we head into Christmas, set aside some time to reflect with your partner and family members about your family game plan and the reasons behind the choices you have made. This is an excellent time to reflect upon what worked during the Chanukah celebrations and what are you hoping for over the coming holiday. Getting on the same page so to speak with your partner, and other family members, rests on open and effective communication. 

The JFCS 30th Annual Laugh on Their Behalf Benefit was a night filled with fun, comedy and generosity!
A heartfelt thanks to all who so generously supported the work JFCS does to serve thousands in our community each year at the 30th Annual Benefit on Dec. 1. Together, this year we raised over $625,000! It is with your support and generosity that JFCS is Here for All. Always.

Upcoming events: Please join us
Shalom Baby Circle Time
Sunday, Dec 30 @ 3:30-5 p.m.

PJ Library Challah Bake
Sunday, Jan 6, 2019 @ 1-3 p.m.

PJ Library Traveling Havdalah
Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 @ 5:45-7p.m.
Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis |