Passover Newsletter
Nissan 5781 - March 2021

In this Issue

From the Desk of Roxanne Droppo

Passover 2020 was celebrated at the beginning of the COVID 19 Pandemic and creative solutions were sought by many to ensure we were able to celebrate with family and friends while adhering to community, provincial and federal restrictions. Fast forward to 2021. Restrictions remain in place and solutions to see family and friends appear to be somewhat out of reach. For many, these restrictions manifest feelings of isolation and fear and at the same time, being alone is starting to feel normal. 

For many seniors, children and families these feelings are not new. Living in isolation and fear is what every day feels like and being alone is what every day looks like. Most of us recognize that the restrictions will ease and we will once again be celebrating important moments with loved ones. For the less fortunate, their restrictions remain. Struggling to put food on the table, pay rent and utilities or clothe their children are the everyday challenges that don’t ease. They have little freedom to make choices because their options are limited to basic survival. For many of us, we take for granted the freedom to drive to the grocery store, pick out our favourite foods, pay without worrying about our debit card being rejected and getting back in our cars to drive home and plan a meal. Our reality is very different than many of our community seniors, children and families.  

At JFSC, with the support of many wonderful donors, we are able to relieve a bit of pressure and provide support to seniors, children and families through our various programs such as the Seniors Mental Health and Addiction Response Team and the Memory Care Program, and for children and families our Family Enrichment Program. Our goal is to ease restrictions on access to basic needs and ensure everyone who needs a hand up, receives a hand up. Our services are all structured as outreach models so we can go to the client in the community to assess and address their needs. No person should be hungry and no family should be restricted in having the basic necessities to live day to day.   

Pesach is about celebrating freedom. It is also a recognition of spring and renewal of the earth. Spring brings hope, and renewal of the earth brings new possibilities. We hope you have time to connect with loved ones safely and to pause and reflect on others who are less fortunate. As restrictions ease, remember they do not ease for everyone, many require our help so they too can experience the right to be free from their given circumstance. 

On behalf of JFSC staff, volunteers and board members, we wish you all a happy and healthy Passover.

Roxanne Droppo, MA, RSW
Executive Director

Back to Top

Pesach and the Lobsters

By Rabbi Ilana

The world lost a mensch and a scholar when Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, of blessed memory, passed away a few months ago. Rabbi Twerski used to tell a story about change and adversity using lobsters as his example. To paraphrase Rabbi Twerski: the lobster is a soft, mushy animal that lives inside a very rigid shell that cannot expand.  As the lobster grows and changes, the shell becomes confining, and the lobster feels pressured and uncomfortable. To alleviate the discomfort, the lobster casts off the shell and grows a new one. Eventually, that shell, too, becomes uncomfortable as the lobster grows and this pattern is repeated throughout its life. 

We can learn from the lobster, says Rabbi Twerski, because the stimulus for the lobster to be able to grow is discomfort. For the lobster and for us, times of stress are signals for growth. Rabbi Twerski continues: if we use adversity properly, we can grow through adversity.

Pesach is coming and with it comes the story about G-d’s miracles, our freedom from slavery, and escape across the sea. This thrilling story is in sharp contrast to the dull sameness we are feeling of having to experience our Seders in pandemic circumstances, yet again.  

In some ways, Pesach 2020 feels like ages ago and in other ways, it feels like just yesterday. It may seem like not much has changed much since then, but the reality is that whether or not the season has changed, WE have changed. There is an expression that no one steps in the same river twice; everything is always undergoing a consistent process of change, including us. 

Our experiences this past year have educated us, humbled us, challenged us. The pandemic tested our strength, our patience, our beliefs, and our values. Like the lobster, we have felt uncomfortable numerous times, we have shed our shell and have evolved into different people than we were a year ago. 

During this season of Pesach, as we tell the same story that has been told for countless generations, may we gift one another with kindness, faith, and courage as we shed our shell and wander in the desert just a little longer.  

Rabbi Ilana Krygier Lapides is a freelance Rabbi, educator, writer, and storyteller. Her Rabbinic practice focuses on inclusivity for all including the interfaith, unaffiliated, and LGBTQ+ communities. Visit Rocky Mountain Rabbi for information or email

"Making a Difference" Online Speaker Series

JFSC Annual Fundraiser's Message of Hope

Over the past year of living biblically, we’ve experienced floods, fires, plague. We’ve been forced to recognize that what we thought was important may not really be so critical. We’ve learned the difference between “wants” and “needs” (think toilet paper…)  We’ve learned to slow down and enjoy the small stuff. We’ve learned how important social connection is to our well-being. We’ve learned that struggles come in all shapes and sizes, and that nobody is immune.  We’ve started to talk about mental health. And we’ve learned that everybody has a story…

As we head into our second Passover without our extended families, we think about the themes of freedom from oppression, hope, renewal. It is fitting that this year, for our annual fundraiser, JFSC brings a series of talks from three individuals with real life stories about facing adversity, demonstrating grit, perseverance and the power of resilience to get through their circumstances. They bring us hope when we learn how they use their experiences to “Make a Difference” in the lives of others.

Tom Jackson. Karen Gosbee. Dr. Ruth Westheimer. “These three presenters speak the story of JFSC,” says Roxanne Droppo, JFSC Executive Director. “In addition to highlighting the necessity for our programs and services in the Community, their messages relate to the Passover themes of hope,  renewal and community support.”  
An enthusiastic supporter of JFSC, Tom Jackson entertained us, inspired us and brought us to tears during our 2018 Lil’s Legacy fundraiser.

Tom is back on April 11, 2021, treating us to an evening of “Dancing, Dogs, Laughing, and Love” – his message is about creating mental well-being versus managing disease. Let’s consider social prescriptions versus medical prescriptions. And then let’s just sing…  

We are thrilled to have Tom return to JFSC, lending us positive energy during these difficult times, inspiring us with his passion for mental health, the importance of philanthropy and showcasing his enormous talents. He has the gift to motivate us to be active members of our communities. Special thank you to our sponsor Jenny Belzberg.  
Karen Gosbee had it all – a successful husband, three beautiful children, the homes, the cars, the jewelry, the A-list invitations. Her life looked perfect, and as her husband George liked to say, “appearances are everything”. But they’re not. 

Having been exposed to mental health and substance abuse both in her childhood and adult life, Karen has extensive lived experience. 

We are honored to have Karen Gosbee join us on May 6, 2021 to speak about mental health, reducing stigmas and building community resiliency. Karen took her challenging high-profile life experiences and made a personal commitment to improve the quality of life for those directly and indirectly affected by mental illness and addiction. Special thank you to sponsors Raechelle and Lorne Paperny and Rose Zivot.  
Dr. Ruth Westheimer may best be known for having pioneered talking explicitly about sex on radio and television, but as it turns out, that is only a small part of her rich and diversified life.

An Alzheimer’s Caregiving Authority, Dr. Ruth has done extensive work on developing effective coping strategies for Alzheimer’s care. She provides health-guided advice and coping strategies for caregivers looking after loved ones with this devastating illness. 

With our new Memory Care Program in place, we are excited to hear Dr. Ruth’s sage advice on October 17, 2021 in this growing social service area. Special thank you to our Anonymous Donor.

We are grateful for the support from the Sam Ousher Switzer z”l Charitable Foundation. Proceeds from “Making a Difference” will support JFSC’s Family Enrichment Program, which provides a wide variety of services for individuals and families, with the goal of strengthening skills and connections while decreasing risk factors.   

Although our Passover Seders will look a lot different again this year, we have the opportunity to look at the silver linings from our Covid experiences and we see hope for our future. 

לשנה הבאה בירושלים  Next year in Jerusalem! 

To Purchase Tickets for “Making a Difference”, or for more information on our programs and services, or contact Peta at, 403-692-6389. 

Click here for our Sponsorship and Donation Opportunities. 
Now, more than ever, we need your financial support to keep up with the growing demand for our programs and services.

Please help us reach our 2021 fundraising goal of $200,000.

Passover Then and Now

As part of our Passover Safta's Kitchen event, JFSC collaborated with Storytelling Alberta to capture Lili Glicman’s Passover memories (click on the image below to watch the video)

Safta’s Kitchen is a new JFSC program that is part of “Igniting Neighbors”, funded by New Horizons for Seniors. As part of a collective impact agreement between community-based senior focused programs, Safta’s Kitchen adds multigenerational activities for seniors through cooking meals together, and aims to reduce senior isolation.

Although Covid restrictions currently prevent group gatherings, our seniors have been able to enjoy hand-delivered food kits from our volunteers, and are enjoying group cooking demonstrations through Zoom. 

December’s Safta’s Kitchen brought latke meal kits containing recipes, ingredients, and cards from Volunteer Churchill students. February was part of the Chinese Spring Festival celebration, seniors learned how to make dumplings and the symbolism of dumplings in Chinese culture. Dumpling meal kits were delivered to homes and everyone learned new techniques through a Zoom presentation! Our March Passover event will see traditional Passover meals generously provided by Grumans Delicatessen delivered to each senior’s home. So what’s next? Follow us on our Facebook and Instagram to see what is coming up for Safta’s Kitchen

For more information on how to participate or volunteer contact or call Samantha at 403.692.6392 

Back to Top

Become a Monthly Donor

Giving monthly is one way to ‘make a difference’ and is truly one of the easiest and most effective ways to show you care for the vulnerable members of our community. Your monthly donation ensures we have a reliable stream of income to provide for the day-to-day needs of operating an agency that puts food on the table of so many families, provides mental health support for anyone who is struggling, ensures that people experiencing abuse receive the support they need to live safely and that seniors don’t have to live in isolation.

Why become a monthly donor?

CONVENIENCE - A steady and predictable source of income ensures we can provide support to vulnerable members of our community in need. Your gift is automatically processed every month AND you'll receive one consolidated tax receipt at the end of each calendar year. You can modify or cancel your gift at any time. 

IMPACT - Knowing we can count on your continued support provides the security for us to invest in longer-term programs, transforming the lives of children, families and seniors. 

EFFICIENCY - Your monthly contribution allows us to spend a little less time raising funds and a little more time focussing on what matters: enriching the lives of children, families and seniors and in so doing, strengthening our communities. Additionally, donations acquired this way are associated with substantially lower administrative costs than other fundraising methods. 

Become a monthly donor today! With one click, you can support JFSC year-round.  

Together, we can enrich lives and strengthen communities. 

New Tribute Cards

by Peta Glezerson

JFSC is proud to unveil a new series of tribute cards with artwork provided by Lisa Thomson and Stephanie Feldman. All tribute cards start at $18 and will receive a tax receipt for the total amount.   
In an age of instant messaging, there is a lot to be said for good old fashioned snail mail. We all know the feeling when you open your mailbox to find a letter that is not a bill or an advert. It positively lifts your soul to know that someone has generously and thoughtfully taken the time to send you a note.  
Tribute cards fall into the category of snail mail, and from what we know, snail mail almost always get opened.

Mailed cards leave a powerful, lasting impression, they are often kept as memorabilia and more importantly, they show that you care. We know that everyone appreciates a card and sending them is easy

Anyone can send a tribute card, whether it is to honour someone’s special birthday or achievement or if it is to express your condolences in memory of a loved one, or to wish someone mazel tov or refuah shlema. Cards can also be sent because ... well, ‘just because’. Tribute cards are the perfect way to strengthen community while showing you care about JFSC and the wellbeing of the vulnerable members of our community. 

Just call us at 403-287-3510 or go online, make a donation and fill in the details and we will take care of the rest. All cards go out in the mail the same day. 


Would you like to forward this email to a friend? Click here.
Remove my name from all future mass email communications:

Address postal inquiries to:
JFSC (Jewish Family Service Calgary)
420-5920 1A St SW
Calgary, AB T2H 0G3