by Julie Wolf


In its fourth year, Jewish Family Network is stronger than ever. We welcomed close to 250 new babies into our community during this time, and we even saw our Welcome Baby! program implemented in Boston’s sister city of Haifa. Saying goodbye to two of our connectors, Amy Kohen and Luba Olshan, was bittersweet. As hard as it was to see them go, we were delighted to welcome Valerie Sales Geary and Sasha Grebunyuk into our family.


Community building is at the heart of all we do. Our Jewish community has many disparate parts, but at JFN we work hard to bring those parts together. Throughout the year, we talked to JFN parents and Jewish professionals about their thoughts on community, both the Jewish community and the larger one around them. 


David Cohen

Founder, Playing It Forward; Executive Director, Doc Wayne



I grew up in a giving family, but it was until I attended Brooks School [in North Andover] that I really learned a lot about philanthropy. My wife, Lauren, and I feel that it is extremely important for our daughters to get involved and help others. Wouldn’t it be special for organizations like mine to grow and for our children and our community to have a deeper connection and involvement at the same time?


Sarah Wilensky

Young Family Outreach Coordinator

Congregation Beth El, Sudbury


“Doing Jewish” is just something that our family has always done, celebrating holidays and Shabbat together, spending time with our extended family during those times, cooking and eating Jewish food. These things are part of what define us. I try to translate this to families that I work with as well, giving them a Jewish vocabulary for things that they may already be doing. Are you eating together as a family on Friday nights? Then that’s Shabbat dinner. Are you donating old clothes and toys? That’s tikkun olam (the core Jewish value of reapiring the world).

Josh Cheron

Systems Analyst and Boston Marathon Runner



There was something both hokey and charming about how ferociously and passionately Boston came together after the bombings. The Boston Marathon is ours, and to assault it offends us. It wounds us. But I don’t think Boston is unique to this. I think to some degree it’s how people in a functioning society deal with these overarching stressors in our environment. 


Valerie Sales Geary 
JFN Connector, North Area




Even though my husband is not Jewish, the Jewish culture is important to me, and it is important for me to teach my children about Judaism. I am hoping to pass down Jewish values and culture to our children by becoming active in the Jewish community. I feel it is important to get involved in the Jewish community early in the children’s lives so that they have a good foundation for a Jewish upbringing.


Sasha Grebenyuk

Russian JFN Connector




The Book of Exodus says it all. The Jewish people only stand as a nation/religion/community if we stay together as one, knowing where we came from and passing on our traditions to further generations. Personally, I want to make more friends, find like minds, and be able to share what I know with others who will appreciate it the most and learn from them as well.

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