Rosh Hashanah – A Time of Returning, Refreshing, Reaffirming


Over the past few months, many of us have been returning to in-person activities, holding events “for the first time in three years” and declaring we are “back to normal.” Restaurants, airports, sporting events, performance venues, and libraries are all full again. We are even returning to rush hour traffic.

Rosh Hashanah, the start of the new year on the Jewish calendar, is also a time of returning. During this season, many return to a focus on our inner selves to reflect, to take stock of our actions in the past year, and to set intentions for the year ahead.

We return to our own potential. We refresh and reaffirm our values and priorities.

At JFCS East Bay, we took some time this past year to refresh and reaffirm our values and priorities in light of our world, our East Bay community, and our clients today. We reflected on what we have accomplished over the past 145 years as a social and human direct service agency and as a community-based organization. We talked with staff, board members, and community members and partners. We studied the experiences of our clients. We listened, considered, reflected, and took stock.

Through this process, we articulated our vision for the change we seek to make in our East Bay community. We envision a community where everyone can flourish with dignity.

We also refreshed our mission and values to align to our vision, as well as setting some key priority areas to move us toward our intentions. We do this in partnership with all who collaborate to strengthen the health of our East Bay community.

Then, we did something we have never done before. We outlined how we will operate as we go about our business of fulfilling our mission, and what we will do as an organization to demonstrate that we are guided by Jewish values in service to all. Here’s our commitment:

We partner with our clients, staff, and community to advocate for justice and promote healing.

We engage in our work with integrity, accountability, and transparency.

We commit to anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We maintain an unwavering stance against antisemitism and all forms of prejudice.

You can find the results of JFCS East Bay’s returning, refreshing, and reaffirming process at “About Us” on our website.

Of course, we don’t know exactly when the next Covid surge will arrive, causing a pause in our return-to-normal activities. We also don’t know when we, as individuals, may drift from our best intentions. We do know that when we work together, we can provide stability for and reunify families. We can care for our elders and build trust with newcomers. We can partner with our clients in reaching their goals for well-being at every stage of life. And, as a community catalyst, we can advocate for systems change to transform our East Bay.

At this time of returning and renewing, I’d like to invite you to partner with JFCS East Bay in the year ahead to reaffirm our shared commitment to building a community where everyone can flourish with dignity.

To a healthy and sweet year for all,

Robin Mencher,


PS: Add a little sweetness to your fall! Try our recipe for the baked apple dish pictured above. Don’t forget to share a pic of your creation on your favorite social sites with the hashtag #RoshHashanahJFCSEB