Our Community, Our Family

A Message from Arlene Miller

President & CEO

Jewish Federation & Family Services

It’s hard to believe that January is almost coming to a close! Over winter break, I was fortunate to enjoy some time with my children. My daughter, unfortunately, broke her arm, but the silver—or maybe pink?—lining was that she got to show off to her friends a hot pink cast covered in glitter (thankfully sealed inside a clear resin coating for no mess!). She recently had the cast removed, and is doing fine. And on Martin Luther King Day, my son and I joined JCC Cares to pack food at the OC Food Bank. It was a meaningful time for us to bond over doing a mitzvah, plus I got to see him shine as he figured out the fastest way to fill the boxes!

Knowing that my children are doing fine gives me the energy to focus on the rest of my “family”—the Jewish community of Orange County. We have started the year full throttle at Jewish Federation & Family Services, offering programs and services that open doors to Jewish life for our community. We all want our families to be nurtured and lifted, and every day I think about how we get there.

One of the ways we can nurture our community is by giving young adults access to Jewish experiences that will enrich their lives long-term. That’s why I am especially looking forward to sharing this Shabbat with 20 couples who will take part in our Honeymoon Israel program. These couples are at the beginning of their lives together and will go off to Israel this March, bringing back a strengthened foundation for building families connected to Jewish community and Israel.

JFFS also helps to lift our community by ensuring that the 300 Holocaust Survivors living in Orange County—including the 200 (aged 72-104) to whom we provide direct assistance—have access to what they need to age with dignity. Because of our work on the front lines, they have food on their table for Shabbat, don’t have to worry whether they can pay their rent, can afford their medicine, and have opportunities for social time and companionship. We are launching our Aging with Dignity Campaign to prepare to meet their increasing needs as they age. I will share more about this campaign as it gets underway.

I am truly enjoying the work I do in support of all my “family”—whether it be immediate family or my “community family.” On this Shabbat, I hope you will also be able to take a break and spend a little time with your family, in whatever way you define these closest ties.

Shabbat Shalom,

Arlene Miller

P.S.  As I’ve mentioned previously, JFFS is pleased to sponsor the Pacific Symphony’s performance of Defiant Requiem on April 16—which will launch our campaign to support our OC Holocaust survivors as they age.  Be sure you have secured your tickets for this one-time performance in Orange County. Learn more and purchase your tickets here.