As part of the Jewish Federation's Annual Campaign, we're sharing local stories of how Jewish Daytonians are participating in the act of Tikkun Olam, healing the world. Stay tuned this summer for stories every week celebrating Tikkun Olam locally here in Dayton, and across the globe.
As a young girl, Sandy Zipperstein remembers going with her mother on the Sabbath to sit with the elderly. Keeping them company, hearing their stories, “they always loved seeing a little girl, it brightened their day”, Sandy remembered. Sandy continued the practice into her adult life as she sat and visited with patients at Hospice of Dayton, along with countless other acts of volunteering and community involvement.
Today, with her husband Irv Zipperstein, she continues that practice of being a bright beam of light in someone’s day while sitting -- and driving. Sandy and Irv volunteer in their spare time as drivers for Jewish Family Service’s Transportation Program. Initially, Irv and Sandy would hear through the grapevine at their synagogue that someone needed help getting to services here and there. “It started out with us taking people to Beth Abraham, and then anyone who needed a lift, we’d take them”.
“They’re just the kind of folks that reach out to others, they are both just good people”, says Janice Kohn, Program & Volunteer Director of Volunteer Services at Jewish Family Services. Kohn started working with the Zippersteins about 5 years ago, when they volunteered to extend their driving as part of the JFS Transportation Program.
The Zippersteins assist around town by transporting community members to and from synagogue as well as making regular trips to the grocery store. “We’re just happy to do it, and happy to have the time to do it. It’s no problem for us, we’re retired”, commented Irv.
One of Sandy’s influences comes early on from her mother. “My mother was very active in the community and we learned from her. Our house was always open to people and during the war, we always had service men at our house who needed a place for Shabbat or the holidays”, Sandy reflected.
Jewish Family Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, works to keep families strong and engaged here in the Dayton area. The Transportation Program helps community members be mobile, getting from place to place.
As a past president of the Federation, Irv became involved through encouragement from a friend, “It was a time when Israel had been formed not too long before, and … needed all the help people in America could give”. To him, Federation signifies “...somewhere Dayton community members who would otherwise not work on a program together, have the chance to participate in collaborative programs that also help Jewish communities around the world”.
In retrospect, Sandy commented, “we can’t take all the credit, we’re just open and willing to give people a lift”. But to Jewish Family Services, it’s community members like the Zippersteins that make the agency’s goals of local Tikkun Olam a reality.