US Chesed News

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers
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Friday 30th May 2014

We literally couldn’t manage without you.

The 1st -7th June is National Volunteers’s week. It is now 30 years since the campaign for Volunteers’ week was started in 1984.

So this seems like an excellent opportunity to publicly thank our army of volunteers, who go about quietly doing their work, helping maintain our communities.

Our synagogues depend hugely on the vital work carried out by our many and varied volunteers. You are all doing valuable work, whether it’s sitting on the Board of Management, taking services for adults and children, visiting a Shiva house, befriending someone who is bereaved, making meals for someone who is sick or where there is a new baby in the house, visiting members in hospital, taking people to hospital or doctor’s appointments, getting the shopping for someone who cannot get out themselves, running the synagogue scout troop, doing synagogue security or working for the Chevra Kadisha.

Our great thanks also go to our visitors and chaplains who, under the banner of Jewish Visiting, sees anyone who says they are Jewish in hospital or prison. For patients, particularly those who do not have local family members, these visits are very much appreciated. For prisoners, our chaplains offer a mixture of pastoral and spiritual support, at a time when they may feel very much alone.

Many of you also volunteer for the wider Jewish and non-Jewish community, whether that is in in foodbanks, hospices, Jewish Care or the Citizens Advice Bureaux to name just a handful. Our Jewish charity sector could not survive without volunteers.

For those of you who volunteer, did you know that it’s good for you as well?! A study in America has found that voluntary work elevates one’s happiness, physical health, self-respect and sense of making a difference. In addition, those who were strongly involved had a far greater life expectancy than those who did not volunteer. So research proves what we had long suspected – that helping others helps ourselves too.  

In the words of Justin Davis Smith CBE ,Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at NCVO, formerly Chief Executive of Volunteering England:

“Volunteers make society work. They humanise our relationships. They improve our quality of life. They enhance our public services and strengthen our sense of place. They bring about change, make a nuisance of themselves, and make things happen. Oh, and if we want to get all hard-nosed about it, they add almost £40 billion to our GDP in the process. And without them? Well our communities would grind to a halt.”

If you either need some support or would like to volunteer your services, no matter how little time you have, please either contact your local synagogue or e-mail

Thank you everyone

Michelle Minsky

Head of US Chesed