From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: June 2020

From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper

During challenging times, JFCS provides resources while advocating for change

Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis’ mission has tremendous relevance for the challenging times we are experiencing. We proudly say that we provide essential service to people of all ages and backgrounds to sustain healthy relationships, ease suffering and offer support in times of need. Throughout the past year, our communication to the broad community has been “Just Call JFCS.” It’s meant to convey that whatever help you’re looking for, we’re likely to have a resource, and if not, we’ll point you in the right direction. As we manage through the pandemic of COVID-19 and face the reality of disparity and inequity affecting people we know, and those we don’t, JFCS is a reliable and professional organization taking care of people’s needs, while advocating for real change to benefit all.

The month of June is one we look forward to each year, and not just for the warmer weather. June is when we celebrate Pride month, Juneteenth (the celebration commemorating the end of slavery), graduations, Father’s Day, the end of the school year, and the beginning of summer and summer camp! Needless to say, these and many other celebrations are going to look and feel different this year. In order to do our part to flatten the curve, we are all being asked to meet in small groups, physically distance from one another, wear masks, and wash our hands for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible. After three months, we’ve all pretty much adapted to this!

For JFCS, we’re disappointed about a lot of things that we won’t be able to do this year. Sound familiar? While you won’t see a big table and tent with J-Pride materials at the annual Pride festival at Loring Park (the event has been cancelled this year), the event is being held virtually and J-Pride will be hosting a virtual Shabbat event on Saturday, June 27. There is special reason for celebration this year with the affirmation from the U.S. Supreme Court affirming that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. A huge accomplishment!

Our efforts to recognize and provide dignity to all people regardless of race, religion, ability, etc. is noticeable in our continuing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work. Our work by staff and Board was showcased recently at a national plenary workshop offered remotely by our national association, the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. As a Minneapolis organization, JFCS has been able to point to the profound and horrific death of George Floyd as a catalyst for non-profits and social service agencies everywhere to focus on what more can be done to prevent disparity, while undoing racist systems that create unfair outcomes.

Finding ways to celebrate graduates and dads, and finding joyful ways to make the best of a difficult summer can be found in our programs such as PJ Library, Sholom Baby, Family Life Education and our helpful blogs. You can also find ideas for volunteering from home, donating food, items for our Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) program, or contributing to our GIVE Annual Campaign.

It’s not difficult to recognize the imperfectness of our world, but it sure feels better when we engage in making it a bit better. Let us know how we can help you or someone you know, and help us to realize our vision to be the place people turn to for help, to volunteer, to donate and to work.