Tevet-Shevat-Adar I 5776
Berkshire Jewish Voice • jewishberkshires.org
In My View Wishing a Fond Farewell to a Sure, Steady, and Compassionate Colleague By Dara Kaufman I have always loved that ued to receive supportive visits from Barbara. She the word “shalom” has a trihad been able to step in at crucial points in Saul’s ple meaning – hello, goodlife and support him through life’s difficult transibye, and peace. It somehow tions. brings me comfort that even It is not surprising that the majority of people as we are saying goodbye served by the Federation’s social worker program (my least favorite form of are older adults. A 2014 demographic survey indithe word), we are wishing a cates that the Berkshires have one of the highest favored friend or colleague percentages of residents over age 65 compared to peace, as well as expressing other regions of Massachusetts. Our last Jewish the hope that we may say community survey, although a bit more dated, hello again in the future. indicated that the percentage of Jewish older adults That is how I feel about was even higher than that of the general Berkshire saying shalom to Barbara population. And our senior population is growing. Shickmanter, our wonderful Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said the Barbara Shickmanter was recognized for her social worker, who will be test of a people is how it behaves toward the aged. many years of service to the Jewish community by retiring this month after 11 Our Jewish community has long history of honFederation president, Amy Lindner-Lesser. years of dedicated service. oring and caring for its elders. The Federation’s koAlthough the Federation contracts for Barbara’s services through Jewish Fami- sher hot meal program brings nutritious meals and educational programs togethly Service in Springfield, she is most definitely a member of our Federation staff. er with companionship, socialization, and a supportive network to help combat Barbara has been a sure and steady presence in the lives of many in our commuthe isolation that often plagues older adults. Warm meals are also delivered by nity. She has offered compassionate guidance, care, and counseling to hundreds caring volunteers to the homebound. of Jewish community members over the years she has worked with the FederaOur community joyfully rallies behind “Joe’s Project” each year, with voltion. unteers of all ages stepping up to deliver holiday care packages to hundreds She’s cared for families in life and death. She’s been an advisor, a guide, a of seniors during Purim and Rosh Hashanah. This past year we increased our compassionate ear and a strong shoulder on which to cry. The community may outreach, with the help of Rabbi Max Roth and Rabbi Neal Borovitz, to bring the think they know all that Barbara’s job entails, but until someone needed her light and warmth of Shabbat to those living in nursing homes and assisted living services, they really had no idea how much empathy and compassion Barbara facilities. brought to her work. And of course, every time Barbara walked through the door for a supportive The confidential nature of her work did not always allow us to shine a light visit or counseling session with one of her clients, she brought each of us with on the impact she has made in the lives of others. People like Saul (name and her. Her concern and care has been a reflection of our entire community’s comcircumstances changed to protect identity). When Saul lost his beloved wife of 42 passion for the social and emotional welfare of our elders. years, he met with Barbara for a few months as he grieved over this deep loss. Barbara, on behalf of our community and all those you have helped, I thank She worked with him to get re-involved in activities he enjoyed and to increase his you deeply for your many years of caring service. We are thrilled for you to start socialization. About a year later, his health started to decline. He could no longer this new chapter. And just as we bid you shalom, we will also soon be saying drive and needed help with bathing and cooking. Barbara arranged for him to shalom to you replacement. Although as I write this article we do not yet know receive the Federation’s home-delivered meals and connected him to an outside who that person will be, we know they will be different from Barbara – a new peragency that provided an aide who could help with cleaning his apartment and sonality with new ideas and new ways. But one thing is for certain, they will bring bathing. She made him aware of transportation options for the elderly such as with them that all important quality of caring. the discounted taxi coupons available through the Federation, as well as other services. In the final months of Saul’s life, living with a terminal illness, he contin- Dara Kaufman is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.
Jewish V ice Berkshire
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