From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: March 2023

Judy Desk blog - laptop with plant and coffee cup

When daylight lengthens in Minnesota, our expectations increase. The extra sunlight has to mean the snow will melt, the air will warm, and our outer layers can be packed away until next year, right? Not really! No matter how many Minnesota winters we may experience, somehow disappointment never fails to set in when we get that last snowstorm, usually in April!

While April snowstorms catch us off guard, it should come as no surprise that spring is also the time of year when Passover is celebrated. Springtime is associated with renewal, and so is Passover. It is also a celebration of freedom from slavery. While Passover typically occurs at the same time as Easter, and this year those holidays also align with Ramadan. These major holidays associated with Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, offer us opportunity to assuage our disappointment with the weather, and allow more space for greater appreciation of family, food and freedom.

As we move into this next season, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis is responding to the emerging needs of individuals and families corresponding to everyday life challenges. For families who want to celebrate the holidays but have tight budgets that may not extend to the unique foods associated with the holidays, JFCS can provide help through our Passover Hag Sameach program. With the assistance of volunteers, we will bag up and deliver “starter kits” with many of the traditional fixings, to families who would otherwise go without these customary items. Our food security services are also available to families, however they celebrate these spring holidays, so not having enough food is one less worry.

Our Seder for people in recovery and their families, is a yearly opportunity to celebrate freedom from addiction while also enjoying this important holiday in community without the presence of customary four cups of wine, a reminder for some of what they have freed themselves from. Our seder for adults with developmental disabilities living in group homes or other places where seders are not on the schedule, enables those individuals and their caregivers to enjoy the holiday and the delicious food, while addressing accessibility and isolation. If you have time to offer, please reach out to Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager, Dana Shapiro,, or Hag Sameach (Happy Holidays) Manager, Mindy Teele,

Though spring is just beginning, summer is not far off. JFCS is also responding to the needs of families who want to provide summer camp experiences for their children, but may struggle with the finances to do so. Our scholarship program aims to provide financial assistance so that all children who want that experience may have it.

With best wishes for joyous holidays to all.