Making Connections
Dear Friend,

As Rosh Hashanah approaches, and I reflect on how to live more meaningfully, I am paradoxically struck by a deep sense of gratitude. These days, it might be challenging to consider the concepts of “gratitude” and “virus” together, but way back in 2016, Rabbi David Markus wrote about “the Gratitude Virus” — the sense that gratitude is contagious and that mirror neurons in our brains fire when we see others experiencing similar emotions.

Rabbi Markus observed, “The sense of all of us together at Rosh Hashanah is potent not only because Rosh Hashanah is a great spiritual re-boot, but also because of the raw and poignant power of everyone subtly affecting everyone else.”

Thinking about what the past year has meant to the JF&CS community and reflecting more deeply on our work over the past few months, I see so many examples of that “power of everyone subtly affecting everyone else.” Together, we have supported each other and those we serve in ways we never thought possible before the pandemic forced us to do so:

  • Our volunteers have gracefully and enthusiastically pivoted with us to support clients who need our help more than ever (see below for a wonderful story about our Family Table volunteers!);

  • Our donors universally demonstrated their deep commitment to our work, helping the Caring During Crisis campaign raise over $1 million to expand our lifeline to those in need;

  • Our board has dedicated countless hours of extra planning and meeting time to ensure that JF&CS will emerge from the crisis strong and ready for what’s next;

  • Our staff has demonstrated extraordinary levels of creativity, resilience, empathy, and passion for our mission, adapting our programs and inventing new ones to address the extraordinary needs of the community during this time.

I am personally grateful to every single member of our community. Your generosity has fueled our efforts, and your energy has inspired us to keep going even in the face of unprecedented adversity and uncertainty.

As we consider the promise of the new year, let’s continue to model the positive attitudes and behaviors that have brought us this far and think about the ways we can all practice “viral gratitude.”
With best wishes for a good, sweet, and healthy new year,

Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer
Family Table Volunteers Receive Exceptional Service Award
Each year, the Simone Lottor Exceptional Service Award honors a volunteer who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to JF&CS and those we serve. This year, the Lottor Award Committee voted to honor all of our 1,000+ Family Table volunteers!
“Since the start of the pandemic, our Family Table volunteers have gone above and beyond to ensure that our clients receive the groceries they need,” said Ava Harder, Manager of Volunteer Services at JF&CS. “The Lottor Committee wanted to recognize the incredible commitment this group of volunteers has shown, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Upcoming Events and Activities
The Art of Resilience (10/1)

Join us on Zoom for a celebration of the JF&CS Parkinson's community. This virtual event will honor our program participants with a special dance performance, a filmed interview, and more. For additional information, check out this flyer. Please RSVP to Art Sullivan at

Evaluating Medical Risk in Domestic Infant Adoption (10/7)

Dr. Lisa Prock of Boston Children's Hospital will lead an online workshop for prospective adoptive parents about evaluating medical information, biological history, and prenatal factors of adoption cases. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. If you are already a client of JF&CS Adoption Resources, please contact Neile Gordon at for free admission.
The Ride for Food - Off the Beaten Path (through 10/18)

Support our Family Table food pantry by participating in the Ride for Food! The Ride has traditionally been a single-day cycling event, but this year, the fundraiser is going "Off the Beaten Path." Instead of just cycling, participants can now choose any independent activity they'd like to raise money for our food pantry. You can ride a bike, hike, run, swim, read books, or even bake cakes...the possibilities are endless! Please join our Family Table team or donate to a team member today.

Virtual Symposium: Let's Talk About Dementia and Culture (11/10)

Dementia affects every community, but not in the same way. Join us for a conversation about disparities in the risk of developing dementia, and in access to dementia diagnosis, research and care, and to explore cultural values and ways of understanding dementia. The symposium will feature speakers from
African Americans Against Alzheimer’s, Latinos Against Alzheimer’s, the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, and several other organizations. Learn more about the virtual event and RSVP here.
Weekly Programs and Groups
We are still here for you…virtually!
Although we're not able to meet most of our clients in person due to COVID-19, many of our services are being held online via Zoom. Visit our online calendar to view our weekly programs and groups that can be accessed from home. | 781-647-JFCS (5327)
Waltham Headquarters | Brighton | Canton | Central MA | North Shore
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