Organizations learn to tailor opportunities to the
changing needs of today's volunteers.
hanksgiving is a traditional time to reflect
on all we're grateful for. Being grateful,
for those who volunteer, also includes the
rewards that come from helping others.
Gimilut chasidim means helping others," Jordan
Shifman, 13, wrote in a recent essay at Hillel Day
School in Farmington Hills. Once a week, Jordan
spends time playing with and teaching Stephanie
Harris, 11, who has special needs. Both live in West
Bloomfield and they've been paired through
Friendship Circle for more than a year. Recently, the
two girls went to an overnight camp together —
Stephanie's first time away without a parent.
"I never understood why helping others was so
important until recently," Shifman concludes in her
essay. "Stephanie really did teach me the value of life
and [of] helping others ... [She's] my American hero."
After her husband died, Ida Rogoff of West
Bloomfield, who never had taught school before, started
tutoring at two elementary schools in West Bloomfield.
"Tutoring has been my life saver," she says. Her
to get free education," she says, adding that volun-
60-year old daughter wants her to slow down and
teering also provides a way to meet new people or
join a support group for people who have lost a
learn what's going on in the community.
spouse, but Rogoff, who volunteers six hours a week,
says, "This is the most healing thing I've ever done. I
get hugs from the children; the teachers don't."
More than 100 years ago, Jewish volunteers who
By helping others, volunteers often end up help-
stepped up to meet the needs of a growing community
ing themselves. Those who have lost spouses find
laid the foundation for many of today's Jewish commu-
meaning again in another human connection. Some
nal organizations, such as Jewish Family Service (JFS),
find volunteering an antidote to loneliness. Those
Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit and Hebrew
who are retired can try something differ-
Free Loan Association.
Daytime chair of
ent and discover a new way to reinvigo-
"JFS has historical antecedents in the
rate their lives. Young people find mentors Meals on Wheels
charitable work of various self-help and
Ruth Hir shfield, 84, relief societies, often affiliated with syna-
who guide them, or new friends, or expe-
of Farmin gton Hills gogues and temples," says Holly Teasdie,
riences that can shape their future.
brings a tray of soup archivist at the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin
"Volunteering can be a gateway to a job,"
says Barbara Moretsky of Bloomfield Hills,
Archives at Temple Beth El. She adds
whose various volunteer jobs snowballed into
that, in 1899, Rabbi Franklin formed
a paid executive director position — and
United Jewish-Charities, forerunner of
then more volunteering. She's a former vice president of
today's United Jewish Foundation, with money from
Hadassah-Greater Detroit Chapter and an advocate for
his temple members and those of Congregation
"It's a way to network for business or pleasure and
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