Blue Card

A Blue Card supporter brings food and medications to Holocaust survivors.

EVJCC launches new JBox program

This month the East Valley Jewish Community Center launches JBox, a kosher monthly lunch delivery service for seniors and families in need in the East Valley. Previously this program was known as Ladles of Love, a kosher meal delivery service that started in 2016.

JBox’s first delivery is Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Chef Melinda McNeil will prep the meals in the EVJCC kitchen, which is under the kosher supervision of Rabbi Michael Beyo, EVJCC CEO, and delivery will be contactless.

The JBox contains food, but also other items, like donated toiletries and even drawings from students in the EVJCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center. The first box will have a High Holidays theme.

The program was revamped in part to limit the number of people in the kitchen due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, and because of an increased need in the East Valley.

Last year, the Ladles of Love program served over 3,000 meals; this year the EVJCC expects to exceed that number.

If needed, additional delivery dates will be added.

The program is part of CORE: Community. Outreach. Relationships. Engagement., a project of the EVJCC.

To learn more about the ECLC’s Mitzvah Project that is collecting toiletries, visit evjcc.org/mitzvah.

NCJWAZ hosts Zoom call about justice in policing

The National Council of Jewish Women Arizona held a Zoom call Sept. 15 titled, “Justice in Policing: Standing Up for Black Lives.” It was one of a series of political Zoom calls the group is hosting in the run-up to the general election Nov. 3.

“As an organization, we strongly urge the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and demand law enforcement accountability for the deaths that occur at the hands of police in communities across this nation, including Phoenix,” said Civia Tamarkin, NCJWAZ’s president.

The organization also signed a letter demanding an investigation into the death of Mohammad Muhaymin, a Black man, at the hands of Phoenix police in 2017, which they discussed on the Zoom call, in addition to Dion Johnson, a Black man who was killed by Phoenix police in May.

“Since NCJW AZ firmly advocates for justice in policing, we are holding this webinar to expose the problematic law enforcement conduct that is dividing and harming our community,” said Tamarkin.

The Blue Card initiates teletherapy program

The Blue Card, a Holocaust survivor-support organization, recently launched a national teletherapy service. It will be open to its members in Greater Phoenix.

“People are isolated and lonely,” said Nadja Atwal, Blue Card’s spokesperson, via email. “It has been all over the news how much the isolation is affecting people everywhere, and we reacted quickly and put a service in place that addresses this time period of disconnect and silence.”

The Blue Card serves 35 states, including Arizona, and the organization offers cash assistance for one-time things like hearing aids and dental or emergency services, as well as ongoing monthly assistance for utilities and housing.

Now it is adding emotional well-being services to help survivors cope with

the pandemic.

“Survivors are scared to go to the doctor’s or to get COVID tests,” said Masha Pearl, Blue Card executive director. “Back during the war, illness meant death. It meant they’re no longer able to work.”

Survivors can also face PTSD when they feel trapped in their homes during quarantine.

“To combat that, we are working with a number of providers to help take their fears away,” Pearl said. “It’s important to keep checking in on them, making sure they don’t feel forgotten and let them know it will all get better soon.”

The Blue Card now provides teleconferences with experts in trauma, offered in four languages, through its website, as well as virtual volunteering opportunities. Those interested can record a one-minute tribute to boost survivors’ spirits. Some volunteers sing songs, read passages or get more creative.

More information can be found at BlueCardFund.org/virtual-volunteering.html.

JFCS offers job training

Jewish Family & Children’s Service highlights its Career Services and Helping Hands program this month in order to assist people in an economic downturn. Helping Hands offers short-term financial assistance to those needing help with food and rent or mortgage payments.

The career services team assists those who are unemployed or underemployed and includes professional career coaches ready to assist with resume writing, networking and interview preparation.

“The program Jewish Career Services has been a JFCS program since 2011 following the recession,” said Kathy Rood, JFCS’ program manager of Jewish programs, via email. “As many are again out of work due to the pandemic, we want to highlight how Jewish Career Services can help. ... Finding the right position may take some time, but we’re here to offer assistance, guidance and encouragement.”

Ed Asner and Janet Rees star in online play

Ed Asner, star of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Lou Grant” on television as well as the Pixar film “Up,” will perform live with Janet Rees, JFCS’ senior concierge and creative aging coordinator, Sept. 22 in the play “Hunker Down.”

Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation and Jewish Family & Children’s Service is broadcasting the play, which is about older adults coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, online.

Asner plays Kevin, a recluse, and Rees co-stars as Bari, a woman looking for social contact while sheltering in place. Kevin reluctantly agrees to a video call after refusing a visit from Bari.

“I think the play will appeal to all audiences, but especially to older adults, as the characters are somewhat reluctantly having to socialize using computer technology,” said Laura Hales, curator of learning and innovation for SALI, in a statement. “If you think about it, the realities of COVID-19 have thrown this population into the digital age, which has been a big change for many. The audience can relate to the characters, who are navigating these same issues.”

Asner’s co-star, Rees, has known the Emmy Award-winner for nearly two decades. They first collaborated when he visited Phoenix to help with a fundraiser for Rees’ Arizona Jewish Theatre Co. and worked together again in 2008 and 2011. Rees said the actor never charged for his appearances because he said they were for a good cause.

“We just bonded immediately,” said Rees, in a press release. “Getting to act opposite Ed was an amazing experience. I was blown away by him. It was so easy to relate to him, and he definitely brought out the best in my abilities.”

The play is 30 minutes long and will be followed by a 15-minute question-

and-answer session with playwright Robert Benjamin. JN

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