Jewish Family & Career Services held its annual Community of Caring luncheon March 17 following its annual meeting. During the event, board and staff thanked outgoing president Michael Levy for his two years of service, including a special tribute from Levy’s rabbi, Congregation Etz Chaim’s Daniel Dorsch.
New president Jeff Alperin was installed as well as the new board of directors. The volunteer of the year award went to Jodi Weintraub for her years of dedicated service to the agency. The staff award went to reception manager Danijela Pecanac.
The Community of Caring lunch was hosted by Vanessa and Isaac Frank and Alperin. More than 500 attendees filled the ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, where guests watched four moving stories of impact.
Philip’s Journey: A salesman finds himself at the age of 40 homeless and an alcoholic, and eventually is sent to prison, where he loses his teeth in an attack. Thanks to the great work of the Ben Massell Dental Clinic and its all-volunteer professional dentists, he is able to completely transform his life, and after getting dentures and his smile back, returns to school and starts a new career in finance at a car dealership. Philip now dreams of helping others and becoming a major donor.
Melissa’s Journey: A professional dancer and singer who lost her mom suddenly, Melissa struggled with intense grief and feelings of guilt for four years. JF&CS professional clinician Sarah French guides her through the healing process and encourages her to go on a life-affirming trip to help Melissa “get her voice back.”
Chaplaincy Journey: This eye-opening video shared the work of JF&CS Community Chaplain Rabbi Judith Beiner and her Bikur Cholim volunteers as they “spread Jewish sunshine” to senior living facilities and area hospitals. In the story, Rabbi Beiner comforts Anna Teper, a client of the agency, in her hospital bed as part of her weekly visits to Jewish patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The story also sheds light on a little-known program that JF&CS provides. With the help of Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, JF&CS is able to provide a Jewish burial for members of our community who cannot afford it.
Curtis’ Journey: This story featured an older man who called the information and referral line and said he had not eaten for a few days. Case manager Michael Osborne listened to the call, filled up a box with items from the kosher food pantry and went to his home to check on him that same day. When Michael visited him, he found an empty refrigerator and empty shelves. In the coming weeks, Michael was able to reinstate the man’s Medicare and food stamps and connect him with other resources to support him. In Curtis’ words, “I had lost hope, but I got it back. Through Michael.”
The Community of Caring event kicked off the JF&CS annual campaign and brought in $276,366. Next for JF&CS is the 20th Anniversary of the Tasting, Thursday, May 16, at The Stave Room.
To view JF&CS’ impact videos, click here.