From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: April 2019

From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper

How often does someone attempt to know you by asking questions regarding where you live, what you do, who you know, or who lives with you? I’m guessing we all experience this type of well-intended inquiry, and that we engage in it as well. Consciously and unconsciously, we seek to organize information by checking mental boxes and making easy assumptions in order to categorize who we meet, get to know, and include in our lives.


Judy HalperThat’s why I’m intrigued by the title of Michelle Obama’s recent book, Becoming. I enjoyed the read and had the opportunity to be in the audience last month when she came to town to promote her book and the topics covered. Becoming tells the story of Michelle Obama’s life, and all of the opportunities and hard work that led her to her life in the White House and beyond.


“Becoming” is an active term that suggests when we think carefully about our lives, we may see a crooked line, filled with highs and lows, that led us to where we are…and to where we’re going, because we never stop “becoming.” Michelle Obama shares in her book that meeting Barack Obama was a major pivot in her life, because until that point, she was driven to do what was expected of her, or stay the course on what she expected of herself. Barack demonstrated the art of going off course and following passion and purpose, which Michelle says she never would have dreamed of doing without his encouragement and example. There are many stories in the book of how changing course played out for Michelle, but one very significant example was her decision to leave a lucrative, but emotionally-unsatisfying career in law to a greatly gratifying and satisfying career in the non-profit sector.


Long ago, I considered my work at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis to have been “accidental.” I grew up in this town, but had never engaged with JFCS or knew much about what it offered. I had an opportunity to pivot, and I’ve never looked back! Not only has JFCS informed an enormous part of my personal “becoming,” but the programs, services, resources and support offered are central and necessary to helping thousands of people each year to focus on their “becoming.” Whether JFCS assists an individual to re-tool for career advancement, prioritize needs for families in stressful “sandwich generation” situations, assist in financial planning and budgeting for challenging economic circumstances, or anything else along life’s straight and crooked lines, we are Here for All. Always.


The process of becoming requires us to pivot, occasionally venture from the course, and sometimes focus more on plans and goals. As you have done before, I hope you’ll continue generously contributing to JFCS and our annual GIVE campaign, ensuring that we will strengthen our community one person and one family at a time.


Best wishes for a joyous and sweet Passover!