JVN Volunteering Perspectives: Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner

We’re always talking about the values of volunteering – to individuals, to the community and to society as a whole.  As we come up to Purim next week, which is such a time of giving, it seems really appropriate to share a truly moving perspective on how volunteering has the power to change lives.  Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Rabbi to the Movement for Reform Judaism, talks about how volunteering as a family for over ten years has been transformative for them. Volunteering often starts with a single act with an organisation – doing something for just an afternoon or a day, but then leads into so much more.  This Purim, perhaps you could start with Camp Simcha or Kisharon or another charity near you and see where it takes you…

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Movement for Reform Judaism

By a million miles, the best thing we ever chose to do as a family is to volunteer at Rosetrees – a Jewish Care residential home for the elderly in North West London.

Every week for ten years now we have been bringing in Shabbat with the residents.  Being at Rosetrees has had a particularly strong impact on our children. We are a family of five – myself and my husband, David and our three children, Tali (20), Natan (17) and Ella (15).  Our children have learnt an enormous amount from the residents – they’ve learnt about life in an institution (for good and for bad), they have learnt about resilience, memory loss, the strength of music and rituals to access old memories, they have heard personal stories of Jewish lives in Britain and in the war and most of all, they have learnt to deal with discomfort.

They have found themselves in awkward situations and have had to cope.  Every single time we are there, I find myself moved.  Something happens, some small comment, some action, some response that makes me appreciate my own life and also how much we need to respond with dignity to those older than ourselves.  It is clear to me that the gain is totally ours of this important mitzvah.

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Categories: Volunteering, Volunteering Perspectives

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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