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Sprout Family of the Month (January 2018)

 In Engaging, Sprout

The photo above includes Simon, Red Karpman (kneeling, Simon’s Hebrew School teacher), and Rabbi Dev Noily (on the right) of Kehilla Comunity Synagogue.

The Fitch-Jenett Family — Jaime, Laura, and Simon (age 9) — are longtime Oakland residents who are very involved and connected with Jewish life in the East Bay. They’ve experienced, first-hand, the East Bay Jewish community’s generosity.

When Simon was a baby, he was diagnosed with a heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy and was in the ICU for 4 months in heart failure. Furthermore, Simon is on the autism spectrum. The family has been through years of medical challenges in Simon’s early life, and developmental challenges in recent years.

“Through it all, we have been awestruck by the openhearted generosity of both our immediate community, as well as total strangers,” says Jaime.

They found a spiritual home in Kehilla Community Synagogue, which not only accommodates Simon’s special needs, but according to Jaime, they “adore and celebrate his quirks, and have created a place for him to learn in a way that works for him.”

The family also takes as many opportunities to engage their Judaism as they can, including being outside with Urban Adamah, Camp Tawonga‘s Rosh Hashana celebration at Tilden Park, the Blessing of the Animals at Congregation Beth El, and Kehilla’s Pop Up Shabbat at Bites of Broadway. And, of course, they’ve been getting PJ Library books since Simon was a baby.

Jaime was so moved by the community’s support, she started thinking of ways to give back. So in 2016, she developed “Tikkun Tokens,” small, wooden tokens printed with the phrase “You just made the world a better place.” They’re designed to help people recognize the simple but significant acts of repair that happen every day.

So the next time you see a Tikkun Token, think of the incredible journey—and the incredible family—behind its creation.

Would your family like to be our Family of the Month? If so, we invite you to contact concierge@jfed.org to share your story.

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Bob and Noah Grossman / Lichtenstein