Why I Volunteer
Volunteering Is Part Of My Life2003-03-27 13:49:34
By Dr. Martin Wolfish
My name is Dr. Martin Wolfish, and I am one of several volunteers for the Jewish Personal Trainer Program (JPT) at Beth Tzedec Synagogue. The JPT is a peer mentorship program that matches people one-on-one for learning. The program was the recipient of the STAR (Synagogue Transformation and Renewal) grant for innovative ways to involve people in Jewish life, and is currently run by Loretta Tanenbaum. People who are seeking help or instruction in things Jewish are 'paired' with a Jewish Personal Trainer.
I have been a member of Beth Tzedec Synagogue since its founding fifty years ago, and before that, I was a member of the McCaul Synagogue, which is a parent of Beth Tzedec.
Volunteering is part of my life. I help every week with Erev Shabbat services at the North York General Hospital Senior Citizens Home, as well as at the Ontario Jewish Archives together with its Director, Ellen Scheinberg. Previously I was involved with Jewish Immigrant Aid Service and with the Jewish Student Federation at York University.
My family is also committed to volunteering. My wife Sheila has also been part of JPT, and one of my grandsons has volunteered with the Out of the Cold program. Two grandsons have found it meaningful to donate part of their Bar Mitzvah gifts to various charities as well.
My work as a Jewish Personal Trainer has given me a variety of very interesting opportunities. I have met with people to help them with synagogue skills, Hebrew reading, and prayer book comprehension. I find these experiences most rewarding. I like knowing that the JPT program helps people feel more 'at home' in the synagogue.