In collaboration with the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, the SFCJL Life Enrichment and Jewish Life & Culture Departments, we are embarking on a new initiative using Jewish values to strengthen connections for—and to—our entire SFCJL community. The hope is that that by sharing the universality of the Jewish values that ground our work, we will enhance friendships and instill a greater sense of commonality to make what we do each and every day more personally meaningful.

Our goal is to enrich the spiritual experience for residents and their families, staff, and volunteers, with more programs, activities, and events that are based on essential Jewish values, yet encompassing secular and other faiths’ important holidays and commemorations, thus creating a kind of ‘meeting place.’ Having an opportunity to think and talk about issues that matter can result in a renewed sense of purpose and, in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, provide a sense of significant being.

Each month we will focus on a specific theme or value. In addition to programmatic activities and events, we will have signage around campus and other communications illustrating the value of the month.

For example, in January, we centered activities on Shomrei Adamah (Planting for the Future). We honored the Jewish holiday of Tu B’shvat (the ‘birthday’ of the trees) with the planting of two trees in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Each skilled nursing unit of SFCJL’s Jewish Home & Rehab Center took part in an art project wherein they created an element of an enormous paper tree that has been ‘planted’ in the building’s main lobby.

Jewish Home & Rehab Center Life Enrichment staff with the Koret Tu B’Shvat tree.

February will bring Lomed M’Kulam (Learning from Everyone) and we will focus on the Lunar New Year, Black History Month, and Sweetheart Day. Our goal is to provide intentional opportunities to learn from one another, including listening for new ideas, new stories, and shared stories. Our celebrations—and history—enrich us all and we want to celebrate!

In March our Jewish value will be Eishet Chayil (Celebrating Womens’ Voices). We will honor the story of Purim and its heroines, Queen Esther and Vashti, as well as several other notable women including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Poet and Special Operations Expert Hannah Senesh. This enables us also to honor Women’s History month through celebrating dynamic and inspiring women.

By providing more opportunities for our staff to better understand and relate to the Jewish values and traditions that are the foundation of the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living, we hope that our teams will be renewed in their work and in their relationships to one another. And that helps us honor and act upon one of our greatest Jewish values: that of Tikkun Olam, the healing of the world.

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