Jewish Family Service (JFS) is making sure the High Holiday season is special for everyone. To help, a longtime volunteer, Pam Barbash, and her family prepared brisket and matzo ball soup that were later handed out to clients of the JFS Barbash Family Vital Support Center.
“Every year, she prepares the meals in her own kitchen,” said Jonathan Magrisso, manager of the Heldman Family Food Pantry. “It’s just an extra way we can make sure everyone feels included.” In addition to the brisket and soup, clients also received a Rosh Hashanah gift bag filled with apples and honey. “The families love it. It’s a nice way for people to mark the occasion,” he said.
Pam and her family have generously provided these meals for a number of years, and it has become a tradition. By cooking and donating together, Pam hopes to instill in her children and grandchildren valuable lessons about giving back to the community. “No one should go hungry at any time of the year,” insisted Pam, “and no one should miss out on the traditions of the High Holidays.”
This year, the donation and distribution were a team effort. The Young Adult Division (YAD) and Women’s Philanthropy Division of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati helped prepare bags for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot. Jonathan said the former donated apples and honey, while the latter donated challah. “Our pantry isn’t just about giving people the necessities; we want them to be able to observe the holidays in a way that is meaningful to their family. And that’s why all of this community effort, led by Pam, is so important.”
Normally the bags would have been handed out to clients while they came in to shop the food pantry. However, this year, because of Covid-19, the bags were either delivered to clients’ homes, or picked up outside the food pantry during a scheduled time.
Each year, Barbash Center provides members of the Cincinnati Jewish community with the help and support they need. In so doing, they partner with community members, like Pam, to ensure that families in Jewish Cincinnati have their essential needs met during the holidays and throughout the year.