Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rabbi Min on Rodef Shalom

Pursue Peace - Basic Jewish Value #5:  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.

The fifth value on the JFS list of Eighteen Basic Jewish Values is "Rodef Shalom," often translated as "Pursue Peace." In the context of helping people in need, the question is "what does 'peace' mean?"

In the core meaning of the Hebrew, "shalom" refers to wholeness or completion, NOT the absence of war! A peaceful life, for the clients of JFS, implies easing the stresses of life.

For many of our elderly clients, knowing that there is a safe, reliable, and friendly Senior Transportation program eases the stress of getting to the doctor's appointment.

For many of the clients of our Food Pantry clients, the opportunity to get a distribution of food appropriate to their family size and configuration helps decrease the tension of trying to make scarce financial resources stretch to feed the family.

For our Health and Wellness clients, programs like MyCD (Manage Your Chronic Disease) increase their ability to self manage the symptoms of their diseases, resulting in more confidence and fewer symptoms.

Pursuing peace does not mean avoiding war, but improving the quality of the lives of our clients, helping make their lives more whole.

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