From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude

A little piece of chocolate around 3 pm has always been my guilty pleasure. During these challenging times, I have added a new way to reduce stress and bring a glimmer of hope to my day. It is a surprise to me that listening to Andrew Cuomo’s press conferences are a comfort. His candidness eases my mind. I like that he is not above groveling for what he needs. I like that he explains the minutiae of what is going on. He is genuinely a man in the middle of mayhem, who is doing his best to work his way out of this for the good of the people. Among the charts and graphs outlining the devastation, he often sprinkles in short, mundane stories about his Catholic school days or his upbringing. He looks and sounds exhausted, but he genuinely has hope that we will get through this pandemic. You can’t fake that. It has been a refuge for me to know the person in charge is not perfect, but who is giving it his all and will stop at nothing to remove any barriers to keeping us safe.

There are other ways to reduce stress. Music has the power to heal. I am blessed to have a son and husband who, most nights, like to pick up the guitar, filling the house with their singing and strumming. Walking has been my favorite form of exercise and a mental health tonic for many years. Starting the day with a peaceful walk always quiets my mind and now that the days are longer, I treasure an after dinner walk with my husband. Connecting with community members on the phone, in a Zoom meeting or Zoom minyan, also brings some light to the day. Is it work to stay connected and upbeat during this unprecedented time? You bet it is. If you are looking for some extra support, I hope you will join Jewish Family Service on May 1 for a special video conference on easing anxiety and stress. Please go to the Federation website,, to register.

Working on the Chesed Matching Gift Challenge has been a gift to me during this time of isolation. There is comfort in continuing the work I have come to love. So many have called or written or sent a gift. All are appreciated and I hope that people continue to reach out and give. Your contributions are making a difference for us all. I want to give a shout out to Marilyn Bell, the Federation Campaign chairwoman. Her energy and commitment are second to none. I send Marilyn my genuine gratitude for all she does. A big thank you, too, to our anonymous donor. Your support of our work and community is an inspiration.

My prayer is that you are all staying in good health and finding ways to have some comfort in your day. We are sharing the fears and sorrows of the world right now, but the goodness of humanity is there, too. Looking forward to being together again, hopefully soon.