It was a beautiful Sunday in June when 20 of our Chaverim Shel Shalom (CSS) participants met at Barry’s Village Deli in Waban. Chaverim Shel Shalom is a Jewish social group for adults with mental health challenges. Our big group was accommodated in the small deli by sitting upstairs, overlooking the rest of the restaurant. We took up the entire upstairs room/section and sat at two large tables reserved for our group.

An Authentic Jewish Deli Experience

Participants paid $5 and were able to order whatever they liked for lunch. Our table was full of traditional Jewish deli fare: ruebens, corned beef, pastrami, knishes, latkes, pickles, kugel…even pickled tongue! We also enjoyed sipping Dr. Brown’s Cherry Soda and Cel-Ray and digging into some tasty rugelach for dessert. The food and atmosphere sparked a lot of reminiscing about favorite delis of the past, ranging from those in Mattapan and Dorchester to the famous delis of New York.

We couldn’t have asked for better service. Our waiters were attentive, patient and welcoming to our big group. They ran up and down the stairs, bringing us our orders, condiments and drink refills. We were exhausted just watching them!

Adding New Friends to Our Community

When we first arrived, one of our participants was unable to climb the stairs to our seating area. In a true gesture of friendship and community, another participant (who didn’t know the first participant) offered to sit with them and keep them company. Later on, another participant arrived and joined this pair. The three participants didn’t know each other at first but left as new friends!

Speaking of new friends, there were several new participants at this event. It was really special to see how those newer participants were made to feel welcomed to the Chaverim Shel Shalom community. “Veteran” CSS members spoke about past and upcoming CSS events and made sure I included the new participants in our next newsletter.

Our lunch at Barry’s Village Deli was full of delicious food, friendship and community—a true reflection of the spirit of Chaverim Shel Shalom!

If you’re interested in attending upcoming events organized by Chaverim Shel Shalom, please email Danielle at JewishLife@jfcsboston.org or call 781-693-500.

Danielle Lubin is the CHAI Services Jewish life coordinator at JF&CS.

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