Volunteer Spotlight July 2024: Sandra Levine and Belle

Volunteer Spotlight

Belle and Sandra, avid gardeners, are both transplants to the area, who have each lived in the greater Twin Cities since the mid-90s. They are actively involved in a few synagogues across denominations and devoted to justice. Both have been employed in non-profits for the majority of their work careers. They live with a dog in a pink house in southeast Minneapolis.

What JFCS program are you involved with?

Our volunteer role with JFCS has been supporting J-Pride on Twin Cities Pride weekend in Minneapolis by marching or helping out in the J-Pride booth (or both) for several years.

What does your volunteer role consist of?

We march in the Pride parade as visible Jews and Queers and staff the J-Pride booth the same, working to welcome other Queer Jews and Allies into the support networks of the Twin Cities – especially into J-Pride, and JFCS more generally, and other local Jewish organizations as well.

What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS and how long have you been volunteering with JFCS?

We were motivated to volunteer to truly bring pride to the Jewish Queer community of the Twin Cities. We believe we have been volunteering for about a decade.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS and how has it impacted your life?

We most like connecting with other Jewish Queers and Allies and helping connect others to the wonderful Jewish networks available in the Twin Cities.

Do you have a memorable story about your JFCS volunteer experience to share?

This year for the Twin Cities Pride Festival we both wore shirts with large rainbow Hebrew, Arabic, and English script reading, “Shalom Salaam Peace”. We were touched as we were approached by Arabs and Jews and others, thanking us for sending this message in solidarity with humans everywhere.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with JFCS?

Our little corner of knowledge of JFCS is J-Pride, so we can only speak to that. Regarding J-Pride, we would say, come join in, receive and provide support, celebrate who you are, and have fun in a peaceable, meaningful, joy-filled context with Queer Jews and Allies.

J-Pride creates community through Queer-focused Jewish programming for LGBTQ+ Jews and their allies throughout the Twin Cities. For more information on upcoming events and programming, “like” J-Pride on Facebook. Contact Hunter Wengersky, J-Pride Program Coordinator, at hwengersky@jfcsmpls.org to be added to the email list and with any J-Pride questions.

For more information about JFCS Volunteer Services, click here or contact Dana Shapiro, Community and Volunteer Engagement Manager at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

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