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Uplifting Stories during these Difficult Times

Uplifting stories during these difficult times

The following is a reprint of the JCF's Money Matters column, published in the November 29, 2023 issue of the Jewish Community Voice, titled, "Uplifting Stories during these Difficult Times":

Given that we could all use some uplifting local stories, here are three to put a smile on your face. Each of the programs highlighted below were made possible in part by JCF grants. In short, the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. provides JCF grants twice annually, which fund new and innovative programs and services that collectively benefit thousands in the South Jersey community. These dollars are available thanks to donors who established endowment funds for this purpose. The following exemplify initiatives funded by JCF grants and the positive impact that can result:

“Movement and Motivation— Dancing & Drumming” hosted by the Katz JCC: Individuals over 60 years old improve their functional mobility, increase their socialization, and improve their health and quality of life through complimentary classes offered weekly. These classes were previously only open to individuals with Parkinson’s disease, but now all can attend. As Robyn Lazarow of the JCC’s Adult Department shared, “I am frequently stopped in the hallways of the JCC and told how wonderful the Movement & Motivation program is and how much it means to the individual. I recently attended a Tuesday class and noticed a lot of smiling during the session. There was also a very happy Zoom participant. After the program, everyone was more energetic and surrounded me to share their testimonials,” including, “My ability to move my body has increased,” and “I love this program and can’t imagine what I would do without it now.” Lazarow added, “I am most appreciative of what a grant can do!”

“Israel in Our Backyard— ShinShinim” by the Jewish Community Relations Council: (Pictured) The pilot year of having ambassadors from Israel proved to be a tremendous success, impacting thousands. Per JCRC’s Aaron Sauer, “Our ShinShinim, Ella and Lia, worked in many local synagogues with Early Childhood, Hebrew High, and Junior College students, our two Jewish day schools, and other partners in our Federation system. Ella and Lia built bridges and taught our community, from the smallest students to our seniors, about Israeli culture, the Hebrew language, and so much more. They inspired a deep connection from our community to the State of Israel and its people that many were not able to experience before they arrived.” Ronni Trainor and Terry Howell from the Federation’s Weinberg Commons added, “It was a pleasure and an honor to work with these two girls from Israel. Our seniors, many of whom had never met anyone from Israel, gained experience of a new culture and different perspectives while creating lasting bonds. Our seniors have asked the girls to keep in touch and send pictures during their time in the army. They have certainly made an impact.”

“Older Adult Institute” by Congregation Kol Ami: In October, Kol Ami held its first Adult Retreat, featuring numerous presentations and activities, in which 45 congregants participated. This recap from Kol Ami shares the results: “The retreat was entitled, ‘Our Long and Winding Road,’ referring to both our individual life journey as well as the history of the Jewish people. In addition, one of the objectives was to give the members of the unifying congregations (M’kor Shalom and Temple Emanuel) a chance to know each other on a more personal level than just saying hello at services. The group had an immersive weekend experience with our clergy, guest speakers, and time to socialize at meals and various activities. Of course, the recent tragic events in Israel provided a somber but meaningful backdrop to many of the sessions that were offered.”

To learn more about JCF grants, visit or contact us at (856) 673-2528 or


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