Last night, JCRC was very proud to host JCRC Celebrates: Generations of Service, where we recognized JCRC’s community service programs and the generations of leaders who’ve made them possible. Through the generosity of our community, our inaugural live auction raised nearly $45,000 to benefit our service programs, and we are extremely appreciative to all.

Why, some have asked, do we put service programs at the heart of our work as a community relations agency along with our advocacy and interfaith agenda?

I’m certain that you will begin to understand why after you view our new video, Generations of Service, which we premiered last night. Please take a few minutes now to watch HERE. I hope you’ll be as inspired by our volunteers as I am.

JCRC exists so that we can express our Jewish community’s values in the broader public square of Boston. There is no clearer way of expressing our values than through action, through the doing of service. 

As I sat in synagogue on Rosh Hashanah I was reminded again that in our prayers this week we express contrition – not for our beliefs but for our actions; and we express contrition for these actions not in a singular “I,” but in the plural responsibility of “We.”

We do not live our Judaism through shared beliefs – though we do share a few of those – but rather by what we do.  And so much of what we do is to act upon our responsibility to others around us.

When we provide meals and share a conversation with those who are struggling; when we sit with children and help them learn to read; when we connect joyfully with seniors; we are acting on our respect for the dignity of others and demonstrating our responsibility for those around us.

In celebrating JCRC’s community service programs and the generations of leaders who’ve made them possible we honored three families – the Lynda and Jeff Bussgang family, Amanda and Campe Goodman, and Rachel and Joel Reck – who have, through their leadership, allowed us to build robust service opportunities in our community, and acted as role models for others.  We also honored my friend and mentor, Barry Shrage. I can think of no better way for us at JCRC to celebrate his legacy than to establish an award in his name and to carry forward the idea that he has consistently taught us for 30 years: To act on our values, to fulfill our responsibility to the people around us, and to relate to others with love and compassion.

This is what service is about. This is what JCRC is about. This is what our community is about.

I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to read our new annual report to learn about opportunities to join us in service, organizing, and advocacy during the coming year.

I’m grateful to all of those who’ve worked so hard to bring us together last night, especially our fabulous event chair Mark Friedman and his co-chair Ben Pearlman along with the JCRC event team who together envisioned this evening and made it a labor of love.

Thank you all for being part of our community and our work.