This past week, several of our Jewish Senior Life team members attended the always inspiring annual conference through AJAS, The Association for Jewish Aging Services. We learned from other colleagues in nonprofit Jewish Homes from around the country and in Canada by listening and participating in a series of lectures and round table discussions with notable speakers on topics that informed and inspired.

During a stimulating discourse with American novelist. Brad Meltzer, UM graduate, non-fiction writer, TV show creator, and comic book author, Brad recalled the people in his life who changed him… who taught him that success and happiness are within his reach…that we can remain resilient even in the face of the most difficult challenges like antisemitism, hunger, and cancer. He asked, “How will we be remembered? What will our legacy be?”

Brad Meltzer reminds us that ordinary people can change the world.

He recalled Miss Spicer, one memorable English teacher who changed him. She made a difference he will never forget, and because of her he seeks to make a difference in the lives of his children and people everywhere. Meltzer has written a series of children’s books to teach about the hidden heroes who impact our lives.  He reminds us that WE can be the change. He shared stories of people in his life who made an impact. And he suggests that we are each “Clark Kent” with hidden superpowers under our clothing, ready whenever we need them to spring into action. And we must dedicate ourselves to using these superpowers for good.  To be a caring family member, a concerned and curious friend, a thoughtful community builder, and as an advocate and enabler for aging well. The list is endless. Sometimes we won’t know which act of kindness changes a life, but we can continue to boldly be the answer are seeking.

I came away refreshed from Meltzer’s presentation. Look him up, follow his work and read his books with a child you love.  Check out his website at https://www.ordinarypeoplechangetheworld.com/  We can indeed make a difference in the lives of the people we know and meet. What will be your legacy? What is the impact you will make?

We can take inspiration in our own backyard from the JSL 2024 Eight Over 80 Honorees as they share their compelling stories of volunteerism and making a difference at the annual Tikkun Olam Awards Gala Luncheon, May 19th at 11:30 am at Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

Thank you in advance for supporting the JSL Quality of Life Fund. Eight Over 80 continues to raise essential financial resources that provide meaningful joyous lives for the residents we serve, many of whom would be homeless and hungry without subsidized housing and food. For more information on the 2024 Eight Over 80 Fundraising Gala, go to: http://jslmi.org/8over80

We are grateful to you for making a difference in the lives of the people who live with us at Jewish Senior Life.

Shabbat Shalom.

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