In celebration of the first year of the Engage Jewish Service Corps at The JCC in Manhattan, over 50 volunteers attended the Engage Spring Event on May 14, 2014. We were treated to a tasty supper of wraps, salads, cookies, soda, and wine, as well as a sweet thank you gift—an Engage mug filled with Hershey’s Kisses. The event was a great opportunity for many of us to reconnect with those we had met during various activities over the past year, and meet others who share our desire to give back to our community.
The event also featured a number of speakers who shared their thoughts about what being involved with Engage has meant to them:
- Rabbi Brian Fink, director of Engage at the JCC, and Rabbi Joy Levitt, executive director of the JCC, recounted the history of why the group was formed—to focus on impacting three needy communities (the poor, the elderly, and the disabled)—and enumerated the many successes we've had over the past nine months.
- Linda Rosenthal, Upper West Side assembly district representative, who gave a hearty thank you to all, emphasizing that not only does Engage provide important services to the community, but provides a valuable human connection for volunteers, as well as the populations they serve.
- Hindy Kisch and Sheldon Taback, two Engage volunteers who talked about how and why they got involved with Engage, and how the experience has enriched their lives.
We also saw a heartwarming video highlighting the many Engage projects of its inaugural year, including special one-off events such as the Engage Men’s Group flea market fundraiser for JASA Club 76, holiday baking for Chanukah and Purim, as well as ongoing efforts in cooperation with Dorot and Citymeals-On-Wheels. And of course, to encourage our continued participation, each attendee was given a sign-up sheet so they could check off any projects they want to become involved with in the future. With a full page of interesting and worthwhile opportunities, it was hard to decide!
Many thanks to Leslie Katz, Hindy Kisch, Mimi Lox, Judy Margolis, and Margie Stern, who served as the hosting committee for this event. We look forward to more opportunities in the future to engage and connect with each other.