Teaching the value of Tikkun Olam – Thanks Dad!

I remember as a kid joining my father as we delivered Passover food packages to the elderly Jews on the lower east side of Manhattan.

The program was through project Ezra which, incidentally, was formed before I was born yet it still was very exciting to be a part of. The apartments that we visited were a far cry from the posh lofts that inhabit much of today’s Lower East side but the looks on the faces of the elderly Jews that we delivered packages to was payment enough for our journey.

On one of our adventures we were riding down in an elevator and it just stopped and I remember being a little nervous but then my father without missing a beat jumped and the elevator started moving. To this day I think about what it would have been like if that elevator didn’t start moving and we were stuck there for hours on end.

Today, my office at the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado is in the Robert E Loup JCC Complex and I often find myself down in the social hall serving and eating lunch with our own Colorado seniors and bringing a little joy and excitement into their lives.

I have to believe that it is the seed that my father planted on the Lower East Side those years ago which has blossomed into the love and admiration I have for the Jews that have come before me today and for that I have to say thank you dad and Happy Fathers Day.

— Ezra Shanken

Ezra S. Shanken is the YAD and Major Gifts Senior Manager at the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado and a third generation Jewish communal professional.

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