The JFS/Rashi Learning and Leadership Council visited the JFS Resource Room at Framingham Public Schools. Over 40 Rashi students arrived with 11 bins filled with essential supplies such as paper towels, soap, toilet paper, cleaning products, and hair supplies. These items were collected in response to a challenge issued by classmate Levi Lasser at a previous council meeting to take action in living out the values of loving the stranger and caring for the vulnerable by helping immigrants and refugees in the Metrowest Greater Boston area.

After stocking the shelves of the JFS Resource Room the students listened attentively as Alma Cothias, JFS Senior Director of Immigrant Services, spoke about the importance of the Resource Room to many community members. Inspired by her words, the students then assembled bags for children in need to be “safe and fun in the sun.” The drawstring backpacks were filled with chalk, bubbles, sunscreen, goggles, hats, and notes of welcome. These bags, brimming with summer fun, are being delivered this week.

The day was further enriched by a visit from Rabbi Marc Baker, President and CEO of CJP. Rabbi Baker shared his insights on leadership, leaving the students with two particularly impactful quotes: “Don’t think of leadership as a noun. It’s a verb. Don’t wait to be a leader. Just lead.” And, “A leader is someone who not only sees the world how it is, but how the world can be.” With endless follow up questions, the students found their time with Rabbi Baker enlightening. It was evident that they were inspired and viewed Rabbi Baker as a role model.

Rabbi Baker reflected, in these challenging times, when the world seems broken and the Jewish people face numerous trials, it’s easy to succumb to despair. This recent experience in collaboration with The Rashi School and JFS lifted his spirits and renewed his hope for the future. These students are learning important lessons about their responsibility for honoring the dignity and well-being of every human being and are gaining an understanding about how their actions can play a role in repairing the world.

One of the students read a poem he had written, a poignant piece that served as a reminder that we need Jewish leaders who know where they come from, who understand their people’s story, and who walk through the world proud to be part of it and to stand up for the Jewish people.

JFS is grateful to partner with The Rashi School in developing the next generation of passionate repairers of the world and leaders for the Jewish people. The world needs them.