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Letters to the editor: Dec. 12, 2018

JF&CS launches pilot program of ‘Conversation Project’. The Jewish Light’s Nov. 28 article “Having Dinner, Talking Death”(part of Editor Ellen Futterman’s News & Schmooze column) informs readers about the Conversation Project, a national initiative encouraging individuals to speak with their loved ones about their goals for end-of-life care.

We are so pleased the Light is spreading the word about this critical issue, since the stigma surrounding these conversations leaves many families in the dark until it is too late.

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Jewish Federation women plan Hanukkah care packages, gift drive

Neighborhood children and area residents living in care facilities are getting uplifting boosts through gifts of good will during this Hanukkah season, thanks to Women’s Philanthropy members of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis.

This year, the Jewish Federation group is covering needs of both the elderly and young by hosting a personal care package project – especially for those who are homebound – as well as a Hanukkah Hugs gift drive for youths. For infants to 18 years old, requested items for donations are new, unwrapped gifts, toys, books or gift cards.

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2018 Top Pantry Chef Cook Off

Thank you to everyone who attended our 2018 Top Pantry Chef cook-off in support of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. Over 275 community members helped us celebrate on November 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac.

Thanks to their generous support, the pantry will be able to feed over 6,000 neighbors in need every month!

We’re excited to announce that this year’s winner was:

   Chef Qui Tran of Nudo

Each of our chefs used ordinary ingredients from the food pantry to create extraordinary dishes, but our panel of judges thought Chef Qui’s dish was the best of the best! Thank you to all of our participating chefs, our MCs, and our staff/volunteer team for their hard work.

Did you miss the event? Don’t worry, you can check out the photo album here!

JF&CS gets $1.2 million anonymous donation

Jewish Family & Children’s Services recently received a $1.2 million donation from an anonymous supporter, according to the nonprofit organization.

The donor gave the money as an unrestricted gift, meaning the organization can spread it among a number of different initiatives. Those include the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, counseling services, child abuse prevention, assistance for the elderly and chaplaincy. The money will go to the JF&CS endowment, and the organization will then draw a percentage from it each year, according to Laura Robbins, JF&CS chief development officer.

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The opioid epidemic: A Jewish call for healing

We are in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic that, according to the CDC, is taking an average of 115 lives every day. There are 20.1 million Americans 12 or older who live with a substance use disorder, amounting to 1 person in 12 living with addiction, according to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. A Pew Research Center study in 2017 noted nearly half of the population has a friend or family member living with a drug addiction. The scope of addiction is massive.

As a Jewish community, we like to think we’re immune, but we’re not. According to Rabbi Zvi Gluck, director of Amudim, there were 143 known opioid-related deaths of Orthodox Jews under age 35 in one year alone.

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