From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper: October 2020

From the Desk of CEO Judy Halper

One of the wonderful things about living in Minnesota is that we can always divert our attention to the weather! That’s always a safe topic of conversation, right? Meterological  conversations seems necessary right now as we confront the two more talked-about current topics (other than the weather)—COVID-19 and the election. As we move into our coldest season, opportunities to socialize safely outdoors will be harder to do, and with the contentious looming election, we will be further apart ideologically, too.

It’s a good thing the 20th Annual Mental Health Conference just took place. With nearly 500 virtual participants from 14 states and Canada, and an array of qualified and thoughtful presenters, once again our spirits were lifted. Our mental health was given the attention it deserves, and we were comforted by the information shared, the resources offered, and the courageous stories told. Mental health tools were identified and will undoubtedly come in handy as we face the cold weather, the enduring pandemic, and the outcome of the election.

You’ll find in this edition of e-Directions columns by Leah Persky, JFCS Family Life Educator, and Jill Kozberg, JFCS Director of Clinical Services, important articles on how to recognize the unique impact of COVID-19 on college students, and how to prepare yourself and your family for the outcome of the election. I couldn’t be more proud of the innovative and anticipatory approaches JFCS staff offer. Knowing what is on the minds of our community, and communicating how JFCS can help is living our tagline, Here For All. Always.

You’ll find information on new ways to volunteer, too, and a great spotlight on an amazing volunteer, Jennifer Ezrilov! We also share information on new developments affecting individuals with disabilities. How very fortunate our Jewish community is to have Stacey Spencer, JFCS Inclusion Program Manager, ensuring that even through the pandemic and all the isolation created by it, our community members with disabilities are able to continue connecting virtually.

By the time you are reading this, we may have already received our first measurable snow of the season. It always comes back to the weather here in Minnesota! As I close, I want to offer our condolences to the family of Sid Hartman, a great Minnesotan and a legendary sports journalist. Sid passed away earlier this week at the age of 100. Our Jewish Youth Mentoring Program (formerly Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister Program) was fortunate to have Sid as a friend and supporter. I’ll always remember Sid lighting Chanukah candles with our participants at the annual Big Brother/Big Sister Chanukah parties. Rest in peace.