Heart of The Matter October 2023

By Pam Kelner, Executive Director Jewish Family Service


Sukkot is my favorite Jewish holiday. Every year our family chooses a different theme for our sukkah. One year we built it to look like a maritime village, in honor of my mother’s (z”l) childhood in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Another year, we recreated the dining hall from Harry Potter. It is a time to enjoy hosting friends and family. Zman Simchatenu, the season of our joy.

Still, the sukkah is a fragile shelter. It can be blown over with one swift wind. Our time in the sukkah reminds us, even amidst our celebration, that we remain vulnerable. Life is fragile.

Over the past 14 years working at JFS, I have witnessed our staff walking with our community through moments of communal vulnerability and fragility—a flood, tornados, a global pandemic, the horror of a school shooting, resettlement of refugees forced from their homes. And I’ve witnessed them supporting community members through their moments of personal fragility—addictions, teenage pregnancies, youth anxiety, elders with dementia. JFS is here for individuals, for families, and for the community, day in and day out, helping to navigate vulnerable, fragile moments.

The Tennessean reported on September 13 that Metro Nashville has the second highest rate of overdose deaths in the US. The second highest! (Only Baltimore fares worse.) Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, can help to reverse this grim statistic.

Jewish Family Service is partnering with Stars Nashville to provide training on the administration of Narcan on Thursday, October 5th from 8:30-10:00 under the Sukkah in the GJCC Auditorium. A light breakfast will be served.

We intentionally scheduled this event during Sukkot to show how fragile life can be, especially with the scourge of Fentanyl. During the training, you will learn about the drug Fentanyl, how to recognize overdose symptoms and be trained on administering Narcan, the lifesaving drug. All participants will receive a life-saving kit containing Narcan.

This training is open to all agencies, synagogues, and individuals in the community concerned about someone at risk. Please RSVP to Toni Jacobsen at tonijacobsen@jfsnashville.org


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