At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baruch Stone’s mom told him about a new organization, JewBer.
“When I first heard about it, I thought the name was kind of silly. I said, ‘What is JewBer? It sounds like Uber for the Jews,’” Stone said. “And she said, ‘Honey, that’s the point.’”
Since Passover, JewBer has been making an impact on Stone and how he celebrates Shabbat each week while working the front lines at Tufts Medical Center as an emergency medicine physician assistant.
“I have relied upon it for some semblance of Shabbat in my life,” Stone said. “It’s sort of a beacon of hope and a little beacon of light to have really tasty, kosher food delivered by smiling volunteers.”
The entire JewBer community was invited to join the virtual celebration of the “Miracle of JewBer” on Dec. 13. Guests heard about the organization’s growth from its co-founders, as well as recipients of JewBer deliveries like Stone and volunteer Yevgeniya Monisova.
“Time passes really quickly when you’re working in the emergency department, especially in the middle of the pandemic. You blink and all of a sudden two or three hours have passed,” Stone said. “You don’t even realize how hungry you are.”
When it’s not a pandemic, Stone typically has time to prepare for Shabbat. He brings candles and other traditional materials with him to the hospital, and uses them when there is a moment of rest. The COVID-19 pandemic, though, has made things more hectic.
“COVID-19 has really turned it upside down,” Stone said. “[JewBer] really brings some spiritual respite to what’s going on.”
Stone mentioned how he looks out the window eventually on Fridays and starts to see the sunset, having an almost disappointed feeling that he can’t celebrate in ways that he used to. But then JewBer comes in to help.
“Inevitably, as I’m having those thoughts, my phone will ring or text and it’ll be from one of the JewBer volunteers saying, ‘Hey, I’m five minutes away from the hospital; I’ll let you know when I’m there,’” Stone said.
Monisova, who has delivered to Stone as well as other front-line heroes like him, has been volunteering with JewBer since the summer.
“It’s really heartwarming to be able to deliver this experience to them,” Monisova said. “It’s a great experience. I love the organization.”
Stone seemed to reciprocate the gratifying sentiment.
“It’s really been phenomenal, especially for my well-being,” Stone said. “It’s been a highlight of my week.”
The event, which was emceed by JewBer co-founder Simon Luxemburg, showed the impact that JewBer has on the front-line heroes, Holocaust survivors and low-income families who receive the meals and those who deliver them alike.
“Usually on Hanukkah, we talk about ‘Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,’ the miracle that happened there,” Luxemburg said. “We at JewBer really like to talk about ‘Nes Gadol Hayah Po,’ the miracle that happened here.”
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