Issue 88 | May 2021
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 Pride is Upon Us!

This year’s Pride Month will be a time for JF&CS Staff and community members to celebrate and reflect about the importance of Pride.It is a time for us to talk and work together to address the challenges faced by LGBTQ2S+ community. We will celebrate the advancements that we have made as an agency, and we must also demonstrate our presence in the community.

We will be doing this by engaging staff in activities, providing educational opportunities, focusing our social media on Pride and once again, co-sponsoring Pride Shabbat with our partner organizations. JF&CS is proud of the work that we’ve done to advance our LGBTQ2S+ support and engagement and how we’ve used our platform to promote our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.

We are excited to celebrate another Pride Month with our JF&CS team and are looking forward to some great dialogue, learning, and fun!

A Liberation75 Lookback…

From May 4-9, 2021, the Liberation75 virtual event took place featuring more than 125 speakers and 100 programs and films. 

Liberation75 is a not-for-profit event dedicated to commemorating the 75th anniversary of liberation from the Holocaust. Each day of the weeklong event brought impressive speakers, inspiring films, access to resources and so much more. The event attracted over 30,000 participants from more than 50 countries and involved participants of all ages; some who were 95 years and older!

At JF&CS, we know how vital it is not only to support our Holocaust survivors financially, but also to offer support through discussion, speech, and by remembering all that they have lost and gone through. The Jewish Hospice Program and Survivor Services team and is dedicated each and every day to providing comfort, care, and stability for those Survivors in our community. The Jewish Family and Child Foundation is proud to have sponsored this event. 

To learn more about Liberation75, read any of the incredible resources they provide in their virtual library, or to access any of the films they showed during the week, please click here.

Maxie's Garden Goes Virtual

For years, Maxie’s Garden, hosted at the home of  David Pinkus z”l, had offered the downtown community a chance to come together and learn about gardening, nutrition, and nature. Due to the pandemic, congregating in the garden became impossible and the opportunity it gave participants to connect with the earth was limited. JF&CS, in partnership with Shoresh, worked to create Maxie’s Virtual Garden: 2021 Program.

The new program consists of eight free virtual workshops covering topics including organic gardening, learning about trees, cooking and nutrition, creating and using natural dyes, understanding pollination, and so much more! From their own homes, in their own communities, participants explore nature in their own backyard and surrounding areas. Provided with detailed lists of supplies prior to the meeting, Maxie’s Virtual Garden offers a socially distanced alternative to the traditional program.

While we all miss gathering in Maxie’s Garden, it is David Pinkus’s extraordinary stories, personality, and knowledge, that we will miss the most. We cannot wait to be able to gather together again and continue on the amazing work that David and the Maxie’s Garden coordinators did.

School is in!

JF&CS has a proud history of inviting Social Work students to fulfill their degree requirement internship with the agency. In the past, these students, often nine or ten at a time, were paired with a staff mentor who worked with them one-on-one to help grow their social work skills. Our strong partnerships with schools such as the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work and York University ensured that we were able to offer a robust and engaging opportunity to students.

When the pandemic hit, many placement organizations unfortunately shut their doors to students. JF&CS took a brief pause before reinventing the ways in which we operate and in January welcomed three new University of Toronto students for placements, with one more beginning soon. Our incredible social workers pivoted the program to ensure they can mentor these students and provide virtual leadership.

JF&CS is happy to report that, while it looks a bit different, our placement program has been successful at providing students with a well-rounded and hands on experience in the social work field. Students have shared that the virtual experience has provided them with a glimpse into many different areas of the agency, many working with numerous teams throughout their placement. Despite losing the face-to-face connection and the social aspect of working in an office, JF&CS’ placement students have thrived and have impressed us with their flexibility, determination, and skill.

Thank you to all of our mentor social workers, students, placement coordinators, and agency staff who have helped to ensure that even throughout this unprecedented time, we are helping students and fostering a passion for social work.

A Passover Update

Passover may now be in the past, but we want to share a quick but important update with our community. In prior years, JF&CS has been able to offer support during Passover in many ways: financially, through food boxes, community Seders, and more. However, with lockdown measures still in place, we had to pivot our services and how we provided them.

This year, our goal was to be able to provide clients with the funds they needed in order to make the holiday special and meaningful for themselves and their families. Passover is a time when we should all come together and, despite not being able to do so these past two years, marking the holiday with Seders, traditions, and memories is something we want our clients to be able to experience.

We are so pleased to be able to share that with funds raised by the Brand Family donation, First Narayever Congregation, Passover card sales, our donate-what-you can Passover cooking event and more, we were able to support over 560 individuals! In total, over $45,000 went towards providing clients with the necessary items, foods, and support to celebrate Passover. We thank our extremely generous donors, those who joined our Passover cooking event, and our community for their unwavering support.

To Our Amazing Teachers…

This year, perhaps even more than ever, we are proud to show our appreciation and love for our teachers! They work tirelessly to keep students engaged, excited, and educated all while adapting to the unpredictable circumstances that come with COVID. From moving to virtual learning, making sure kids are masked and safe at school, worrying about their own health, and improving the mental health of their students, today’s teachers really do it all. All we can hope for is that soon we’ll all be back together in person and we’ll be able to show our teachers some much deserved love.

If you would like to acknowledge your appreciation, send a teacher a Teacher Appreciation e-card while supporting JF&CS. Click here to send one today.


COVID-19 Resources

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Join the Monthly Mitzvah Makers! 
JF&CS' monthly giving program.
Click here for more information. 

Leave a Legacy 
Click here to learn about planned giving through the Gordon S. Wolfe Legacy Society at JF&CS.

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Jewish Family and Child Service | 4600 Bathurst St, 1st Floor, Toronto, ON   M2R 3V3
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