You may have noticed a familiar name front and center on the cover of this magazine--your own. You are the difference maker of 2018.
Now that the 2018 JUF Annual Campaign has drawn to a close, this month we shine a spotlight on you and the difference you make all year round to so many souls--most of whom you'll never know. You transform the lives of people in need, you strengthen our community, and you repair our broken world.
The one thing everyone wants is: to matter. Whoever we are, no matter our gender, race, religion, or job, we all want to be useful, we all want to contribute. That's the great equalizer.
In the book Living a Life That Matters , Rabbi Harold S. Kushner explains that, as a rabbi, he has tended to many gravely ill people. On his visits, he notices a pattern: Certain patients are less afraid to die than others, and whether or not they are afraid depends on how they had lived.
The people who had lived fulfilling lives on earth were less afraid, while the ones who felt they hadn't done much worthwhile, with meaning, in their lives wished they had a couple more years to live. "It was not death that frightened them," writes Kushner. "It was insignificance, the fear that they would die and leave no mark on the world."
Here are some of the ways you've left your mark this past year through JUF:
You ensured that hungry Chicagoans were served up hot meals and dignity at the Uptown Cafe. And you helped Israeli families in need get groceries.
Because of you, a child eagerly anticipated the arrival of their monthly PJ Library book. And you helped a disadvantaged Israeli pre-schooler become a proficient reader.
You helped a frail Chicago senior access adult day services. And you helped local Holocaust survivors connect over coffee and conversation.
Because of you, a Jewish young adult experienced Israel for the first time. And you made it possible to send a child from a former Soviet country to a Jewish overnight camp.
You are the reason that a Chicagoan with a disability got job coaching. And you helped an Israeli with a disability transition to living independently.
Because of you, an anti-bullying program inspired local middle school students. And you ensured that someone struggling with depression got counseling.
It's because of you that French Jewish schools, synagogues, and JCCs could secure their buildings with bullet-proof doors and advanced security systems. And, here at home, you made it possible to upgrade safety protocols at more than 85 Chicago-area Jewish institutions.
Through all these mitzvahs and so many more, you made a difference in 2018 because of your generosity to the JUF Annual Campaign. And you'll do it all again in 2019.
For all you do, we thank you.