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A Good Week

Posted: May 31, 2012

Well this week began with the celebration of Shavuot—which has its origins in the grain harvest festival and is celebrated in modern times as the date that the Israelites received the Torah.  It is one of the three pilgrimage holidays (Sukkot and Pesach being the other two) and as such very significant religiously.  In synagogue, people read the Book of Ruth—a beautiful story of loyalty, lovingkindness and inclusivity.

In a nutshell, Ruth marries a young Israelite who then dies.  Her mother-in-law, Naomi, urges her to return to her people since life would be easier for them.  Ruth refuses, preferring instead to stay by her mother-in-law and help her (loyalty).  She gleans the fields of a wealthy farmer, Boaz, who shows kindness in allowing her to take what she needs from his fields, seeing that Ruth and Naomi have food without needing to ask for charity (lovingkindness).  Naomi never doubts Ruth’s integrity and sense of belonging, although originally from different religions and communities (inclusivity).

So what does this have to do with JCHE?  Well, just yesterday I attended the end-of-year luncheon meeting for the Brighton Tenants’ Council.  With many of the senior staff in attendance, tenants could easily have used the time to air grievances, make suggestions or give guidance.  How did they choose to use it?  By expressing gratitude for their homes here and letting the management team know of the high quality services they receive daily from the front-line staff (loyalty).  Then they particularly expressed praise for Sarah Green-Vaswani, who is moving on from her role as key staff member for the council to work part-time planning programs instead, so she can spend more time with her young children.  Nearly every member of the council needed to comment on her talent and to warmly wish her well with her family—rather than fret about her “leaving” them, they were happy she could have this extra at-home time (lovingkindness).  And then they spent the rest of their time welcoming our newest resident service coordinator (Val Rimer) to this role and letting her know they feel wonderful about her new role with them (inclusivity).

A good week!

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