Today is January 28, 2020 -

Who We Are and What Else We Do – Part 5

In Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) we learn that one of the three pillars upon which the world stands is “acts of loving kindness.”  Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet describes these acts as the entire sphere of social obligations and human relationships.  In addition to “holding up the world,” these acts are an essential part of Federation’s mission of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

Federation’s “Capital Region Jewish Coalition for Literacy” program is an act of loving kindness.  Every week 120 Federation volunteers visit kindergarten through third-grade students in inner-city elementary schools of Albany, Schenectady, and Troy to sit one-on-one with students to read.  The program was developed to help those at-risk students develop a love of reading.

Our volunteers are diverse.  We have middle-school students from the Hebrew Academy and high-school students from Niskayuna.  We have had retirees from the Massry Residence.  We have scores of volunteers from the greater community, former teachers, lawyers, parents, grandparents, etc.  The volunteers go armed with reading-level-appropriate books.  After the sessions, every student may select one book from among those read to bring home.

Our Literacy Coordinator, Robyn Easton, said of the volunteer opportunity, “This will be the best hour of your week.”  She added, “We are making a difference, one child at a time.”

The Literacy program is supported by corporate sponsor Citizens Bank, the Ernest H. & Jeannette B. Wasserman Fund, and Congregation B’nai Shalom and family and friends in memory of Vera Propp.

For more information, please see our website.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact me or contact Robyn at

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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