Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rabbi Min on Heshbon HaNefesh

Self-Reflection - Basic Jewish Value #12:  The mission statement of Jewish Family Service of New Mexico reads: “Guided by Jewish values, we offer targeted social services that help preserve and improve the quality of life for New Mexicans.” What are these Jewish values? How do they help guide the day-to-day work that we do at JFS? When new employees join the staff of JFS, they are introduced to eighteen of these basic Jewish values.

Jewish tradition emphasizes the importance of self reflection every day. Part of the daily bedtime prayer includes an opportunity to examine the day, evaluating our actions and our interactions. We ask ourselves whether we have been the best people we could be, reviewing the highlights of the day. We forgive ourselves for any way we’ve messed up and pledge to try to improve in the future. We forgive others whom might have slighted, angered or antagonized us in any way. Each month, at the new moon, there is a tradition of asking for forgiveness, as we do each year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. All of these practices are designed to help us keep in touch with our inner selves, hoping to be our best.

It is this attitude of self examination which guides our work at JFS as well. Through staff meetings and supervision sessions, the staff has many opportunities to analyze and improve the quality of our work. Through actively soliciting feedback from clients, partner organizations and the community, we try to appraise our own work and work toward improvement. Self reflection, for JFS, is not only a value, it is also a constant individual and an organizational activity.

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