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JCF Blog

With Gratitude

Posted by: Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford on 8/8/2017

At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. -  Albert Schweitzer 

Birthday,anniversary, national ice cream day – I love any reason to celebrate! This past March I celebrated 8 years working at the Foundation. If I’m being honest, I was shouting from the rooftops that it was my anniversary. Like I said, I love a reason to celebrate. 

However,my motivation for broadcasting that it was my anniversary wasn’t just about celebration or pride. It was also about gratitude. 

To say that my job and workplace are special is an under statement. Is every day perfect? Absolutely not! We are only human; I am only human. Often, it is easy to get hung up on the day-to-day tasks. It is easy to get frustrated, annoyed or impatient - even on milestone days. 

I remember that on that anniversary day, I loudly expressed my irritation and disappointment in a particular situation. My colleagues reminded me of an important truth: It doesn't matter how a problem is solved,or who solved it, just that it is solved. Has the community benefited in someway? Then we have achieved our mission. That approach inspires me every day. And at the end of the day, I’m here because of the community. Because of you. 

I applied that mindset in graduate school in the past few years. When I was assigned a group project, I was first annoyed at the thought of having to work with other people’s schedules. I didn’t have time to take into account their thoughts and opinions. I was strapped for time and just needed to get the work done. I am proud to admit that I was wrong. Each of us brought our own unique knowledge, expertise,and contributions. That didn’t mean our contributions were always equal, but they were each important.  In the end, the final presentation garnered us praise from our classmates (and an A+!). We could not have completed the project without each other. 

I never grew up thinking I would be a “Jewish communal professional.” I always thought I would be a lawyer, a teacher or maybe a journalist. In elementary school, my friends and I formed a club – The Earth Society - and ran lemonade stands and bake sales to earn money to save the planet. We saved our allowance. We asked everyone we knew to help us. If they could just contribute, we could adopt a whale or save a tree in the rainforest!I was fundraising even then; I was all about philanthropy – I just didn’t know that it could actually be a profession. 

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this fantastic organization.  I am so thankful to go to a place each day that reminds me to think outside myself, that has allowed me to learn, grow,fail, succeed, create, struggle, and learn again. Thank you to all my colleagues - at JCF and beyond – and the wonderful community members who inspire me, encourage me, and teach me every day. In Hebrew, Makir Tovah means to ‘remember the good’.  To be grateful. I am honored to be allowed to serve this community. 

Mahatma Gandhi said that “the best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Assuming he’s right, serving our community is the best place I could possibly be. Ani Makir Tovah. I am grateful.

Jessica (Jessie) Slater is a Senior Development and Stewardship Associate at the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford. She has a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and a graduate Certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Connecticut. Jessie is proud to be a 6th generation West Hartford-ite. She loves reading, dogs and the beach - and to brag about being a twin.

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Patti Weiner
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Wonderful article Jessie. You are a gift to the community and me!
Allison Slater
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Jessie's twin is so proud of her and the work she does! (Brag brag)
Sheila Fox
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So grateful that I took the time to read your thoughts
on gratitude: inspiring, insightful, delightful.
Thank you, Jessica.
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