By Rabbanit Batya Friedman
(EJNews) – In May 2012, Ben was the fortunate recipient of a life-saving kidney. The following August, his mother, Sharon Marcus, co-founded the Alberta Donates LIFE Coalition. She became a passionate advocate for organ transplantation and donation and is personally responsible for saving the lives of many Albertans through her education and advocacy efforts.
Ever wondered why we have so many women’s groups in our community? The Talmud teaches that it was due to the merit of the righteous Israelite women that we were redeemed from Egypt. Today’s Jewish women follow a long tradition of good deeds, of righteousness, of changing the world. Hence, the reason we have so many different women organizations in town. They all may appear to do the same thing – raise funds for Israel – but each group has its own unique focus that serves to foment the special relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.
On Sunday November 15 , for the very first time, all of Edmonton’s Jewish women’s groups are coming together in unity for an important cause – to increase health awareness. We all are very excited to present a health forum specifically for women on issues dealing with the health of mind, body and soul. There will be a variety of workshops presented by local experts with a range of topics to choose from. To begin the day, we will have the opportunity to warm-up with fitness instructor, Jane Sobel. Jane has taught fitness classes at a variety of clubs throughout Edmonton including the JCC and the University of Alberta, specializing in cardio-vascular and strength training. After registration and some refreshments we will have the choice of morning workshops. We will be able to choose to hear from Sharon Marcus who will present on everything we need to know about organ donation.
Always wondered whether or not you’re feeding your child healthy snacks? Registered dietician, Sharon Macklin, will be informing us on how to raise healthy children. Alternatively, you could hear from caregiver advisor, Cassy Lawson Underwood, who will provide support, advocacy, and linkages to community services and resources for caregivers, specifically for this “sandwich generation,” who find ourselves taking care of our parents and our own children. Do you know how infants survive in NICU-ICU? Come and hear from neonatal ICU nurse, Paula Globerman, as she gives us insight into the world of intensive care. Following the morning workshops, we will break for a delicious brunch with a healthy salad bar.
Health is not only for our bodies and minds but also for our souls. After brunch, you can elect to hear what Kabbalah says about marriage from Rebbetzin Chaya Sarah Blachman who is the instructor for Caffeine for the Soul. Or you can learn about the genetics of breast cancer from Cynthia Handford, a genetic counsellor who has worked with the Edmonton Hereditary Cancer Clinic. Mental Health Awareness is an important and timely topic. We will have the opportunity to learn from Jennifer Quinn, whose workplace and community presentations deal with mental health, stress management, mental illness and recovery, and suicide awareness.
On a personal note, this initiative began as a tribute to a friend of mine, Rebbetzin Rashi Minkowicz z”l, of Alpharetta, Georgia, who was taken from this world last year, leaving behind her husband and eight children. Rashi was an awesome young lady, always full of life and known for her never-judgmental acceptance of everyone. If we could all be a little more like Rashi, this world would be a much nicer, more peaceful place. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the partner organizations: Beth Israel, Beth Shalom Women’s League, Beth Tzedek, Chabad, Emunah, Hadassah/Wizo, Kollel, L’Chaim Society, Na’amat, National Council of Jewish Women, ORT, Pomegranate (BI Young Women), Temple Beth Ora, and Talmud Torah. It has been a truly humbling and uplifting experience working with you all on this wonderful event. I look forward to working together with you all in the future.
Rabbanit Batya Friedman is Rabbanit of the Edmonton Beth Israel Synagogue, the Family Shul.