IMPACT!, PEI Volunteer Featured in CJN
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Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News
By Amanda Koehn
Silver Linings: Margy Weinberg
Right after Margy Weinberg retired, she sat down and thought about how she could help people who needed it the most. While helping children learn was her initial focus, she has added a range of other volunteer endeavors to her retired life. Whether helping to plan shivahs with Chesed committees at her two synagogues, tutoring youth in reading or sorting donations for local teachers through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s IMPACT! program, Weinberg has found a balance to put her skills and interests to use.
CJN: Tell me about your volunteer work with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s public education initiative.
Weinberg: We serve as reading buddies for children, probably ages 5 years old through high school, including tutoring. I decided I wanted to tutor children in reading because that was the most crucial time in their life when they are gaining skills that will help them with their entire school career-if they get behind in reading that affects them throughout school.
We go in there to be a reading buddy, but it’s so much bigger than that. It’s about a relationship that we create with each one of these children and if we are lucky they return to the same school and we get to see them the following year and build on that relationship.
CJN: Tell me about your involvement with the chesed programs at your synagogues.
Weinberg: This is what in my opinion makes a synagogue extremely soulful- when it reaches out to each of its members in various times in the lifecycle where they need help. I go to all the shivahs, which I help organize, because it’s what you do as a Jewish person.
(Also) at B’nai Jeshurun for a week we housed people from a homeless shelter. So we were going there, staying overnight and doing activities with the kids or the families. It was gratifying.
CJN: What is your best recent memory from your volunteer work?
Weinberg: One of my favorite memories is I do organic gardening with children in the summer. What is exciting about it is seeing children who are afraid of bugs and have never gotten their hands in soil before, and watching over the summer as they plant the seeds, see the actual plant grow and tend to it, and then they get to harvest it.
Watching the growth of the children, when they are simply given the opportunity to experience something new like that, to me that was ultimately gratifying because I’m all about sustainability and want to see these kids learn skills so that they can grow their own food.
CJN: Is there anything you learned in your career that has helped you as a volunteer?
Weinberg: I was a trainer in customer service at Cleveland Clinic (before working at Case) and did event planning for groups up to 40,000. I would say that the variety of people, their interests and getting to know the community helped me understand that there are multiple opportunities to make a difference.
As a believer of tikkun olam, Weinberg is likely to continue to bring her excitement about helping others, especially children, to the Jewish and Cleveland community.
- City: Cleveland Heights
- Synagogues: B’nai Jeshurun Congregation and Kol HaLev
- Age: 65
- Children: Nadav and Tali
- Interests: Being outdoors, gardening, music, art
- Career: Training grants manager at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Most rewarding thing about retirement: The multiple opportunities to contribute and give back to the community in Cleveland.
- Community Involvement: Chesed committees at Kol HaLev and B’nai Jeshurun, Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s IMPACT! and Public Education Initiative, Greater Cleveland Congregations, among others.