Love from a caring community

Rich Simon and his family received emergency aid, job counseling, and moral support thanks to CJP’s support and our community’s coordinated network of services that help people gain financial stability.

We had a house in Newton and a retirement account. Everything was heading in the right direction, with a toddler and another baby on the way. Then, I lost my job. And things started to spiral downward.

It was a shock. I had a wealth of experience, but I couldn’t find work. We sold the house. The job search led us to El Paso and Nantucket and then back to Framingham, and after a time, my unemployment benefits ran out. Our TV and phones were shut off, and we started going to food pantries. As if all of that wasn’t enough, I also found out I needed open heart surgery. We were drowning. We sold everything — our washer and dryer, my dad’s coin collection, and even our wedding rings — in an effort to stay afloat.

I was very frustrated. I called my state senator and one of her assistants told me about a network of Jewish social services that could help us.

They helped me fix my resume, improve my interview skills, and network. I went to job fairs and gained confidence. The day I received a job offer — to see the offer envelope and to hold it — was amazing. I never could have done it on my own.

The Jewish community did so much for us. I can’t quantify it. They paid for car insurance, food, gas, and diapers. There were jackets and Hanukkah gifts for our kids. But what we received wasn’t only material. We were also given love and moral support. People were there to help us, and we knew it. So, physically, emotionally, and financially, things got better.

I’ll never forget the fear and embarrassment — and the kindness and charity we received. We’re so lucky to have a caring Jewish community.

To be accepted with open arms and the reassurance that everything would be okay, this reconnected us and renewed our faith in Judaism. We’re lucky the Greater Boston Jewish community, specifically CJP and its partners, was there for us. My challenge now is to do even better financially. It’s hard to keep up and to get ahead while still repairing the past.

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