Posted by Ruth Maffa
It is rare that one works at a place where worlds collide. I am fortunate that JF&CS has provided me an opportunity to share both my passion outside of work and my love for what I do day to day.
My “other life” outside of being a Senior Development Officer for JF&CS is that I am a harpist. As a professional musician, I have played with the Boston Pops, at Tanglewood (where I met my violinist husband), and with local groups for the last many decades. Simultaneously I have always felt the need to have a place in the traditional workforce but I also did not want to lose this very important part of my life.
Last year I met with Beth Soltzberg, Program Manager of Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support, and offered to play for the JF&CS Memory Café. I learned that other JF&CS staff members were interested in performing as well. Marjie Sokoll of JF&CS Jewish Healing Connections, played guitar, Diane Gardner of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support played the flute, and I played the harp. We dubbed our musical trio the JF&CS Soul Sisters and played and sang for people with Alzheimer’s and their care partners. We selected songs including Danny Boy, Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Hello Dolly, and several other familiar tunes so we could all sing and play as one. Participants played additional instruments provided by Marjie, and when we weren’t playing, we talked, shared stories, and had a lot of laughs!
I was honored to engage with Memory Café participants and interact with them outside of my traditional role at JF&CS. The experience was so wonderful that I am excited to perform again for JF&CS with Diane this month. We’ll also be joined by JF&CS supporters and volunteers Barbara Newman on cello and Sara Wolfensohn on piano. Together, we’ll perform at Schechter Holocaust Service’s Café Hakalah, a monthly social gathering for Holocaust survivors in Brookline and are looking forward to it!
Ruth Emanuel Maffa has been a Senior Development Officer at JF&CS since August 2014. As a professional harpist she has performed with her two sisters in the Emanual Harp Trio, with theBoston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, at Tanglewood as a Fellowship student, and in freelance orchestras in Greater Boston. She has three children ages 15, 17, and 20 – all musical – with her husband, Phil, a violinist.