LOVE: Living Our Values Daily

Inspired by Jewish values,
we PROTECT the vulnerable,
EMPOWER individuals, and STRENGTHEN families.

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when? 
– Hillel the Elder (Hillel HaZaken)

This is the guiding principle behind the mission of Gulf Coast JFCS. This obligation, or mitzvah, to oneself and to others is a fundamental value – for being part of the community, for charity, and for caring for others.

We cannot be effective – in any aspect of life – if we are not caring for ourselves. Nurturing the seeds of inspiration in ourselves, and in our coworkers, leads to becoming an inspiration in the lives of others.

Gulf Coast JFCS supports resettlement of refugees from across the globe.

LOVE: Living Our Values Everyday

Community - Kehillah

To be a suitable place to live, a community or kehillah must provide for all its members’ needs.

In practice, one is to show respect, do their share to make their community better, be cooperative, stay informed, and protect the environment.

Compassion - Rachmanut

Compassion is at the center of what Gulf Coast JFCS provides the community. Rachmanut means caring, concern, and empathy. It is our job to not only feel empathy for, but also work to protect the vulnerable, to not only feel the pain, but also work to fix the pain in the world around us, to speak up for the voiceless, and to channel our empathy into compassion.

It is a responsibility essential to interpersonal communications between colleagues and both and by management. Examples of actions that demonstrate compassion include:

  • Listening without judgment to clients and colleagues
  • Being transparent in your actions with clients and colleagues
  • Going above and beyond to provide support for a client in need
  • Supporting co-workers when their work or personal life is overwhelming
Generational Honor - L'dor V'dor

By protecting the past through care, we ensure the future; that’s the nature of l’dor v’dor, and that’s what we do at Gulf Coast Jewish JFCS.

Faith, Trust & Loyalty - Emunah

Emunah, or “faith with reason or beyond belief,” has implications for what we are called to do as people in service to others.

Emunah is action-oriented, involves active and steadfast support, and places the action upon the object.

In this context, we look at emunah as how we provide and receive feedback from each other. It is how we provide support and empowerment to our team and to our clients.​

  • Having faith in our staff we have hired to do their job
  • Trusting our supervisors to provide safe and honest feedback
  • Trusting our employees to receive feedback
Friendship - Chavurot

Chavurot is an action achieved in many forms such as an associate, partner, companion, and colleague. Friends offer each other help, loyalty, protection, support, unselfish love, and moral guidance.

If we honor our friend as dearly as we honor ourselves and show compassion for every relationship we have, trust can form, and common ground can emerge. This is true for relationships with clients, co-workers, and all relationships within our organization.

Examples of actions creating friendship-oriented pairings or socialization include:

  • Creating space in meetings for team building and collaboration
  • Scheduling activities for clients with shared interest groups
  • Joining professional associations
Health - Refuah

Refuah, or healing, is the hoped for ultimate outcome of our work.  Self-care is vital to all in our workforce, and self-care is a key determinant of our ability to do the most for our clients. Helping clients heal from trauma or health is fundamental to our mission.

Gulf Coast JFCS has adopted several policies and activities that promote and align with our value of self-care. Among them are the following:

  • Hybrid and Flexible Work Schedules
  • Paid Time Off & 13 Paid Holidays
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Financial Wellness Program
  • Stronger Together Committee, an employee led initiative
  • Trauma-Informed Care Agency
Justice through Action - Tzedek

Tzedakah is commonly used to signify charity and is also known as a “Mitzvah.” This concept of “charity” is an ethical obligation and goes beyond performing a spontaneous act of goodwill.

More than a marker of generosity, tzedakah refers to an obligation to do what is right and just.

Kindness - Chesed

Chesed is an ever-present quality that includes anticipating needs, constructing wholesome situations, and initiating acts of benevolence for conditions undetected by others.

It emphasizes that humanity makes a difference in how we behave and treat people.

To practice chesed, deeds are done with love, compassion, and kavod (respect), which encourages dignity and respect toward others.

Peace - Shalom

Shalom, or peace, begins with each person proactively and positively affecting their environment. We are urged to work for peace in the community and our world.

Respect - Kavod

To give Kavod is to give glory, respect, and attention to someone. It is unacceptable to embarrass or humiliate someone; instead, offer dignity. We treat everyone we meet with honor and respect.

Kavod begins with each person. Self-respect is shown when we feel proud of ourselves, what we achieve, and how we behave.

It is a responsibility essential to interpersonal communications between colleagues, both to and by management, and through the community work done by Gulf Coast JFCS.

Examples of actions that build self-respect and individual economic capacity include:

  • Responding to emails, phone calls, Teams messages, and texts in a timely manner
  • Treating others how you expect them to treat you
  • Amplifying and celebrating someone’s work without taking credit for their ideas
  • Listening before speaking
  • Showing up on time to visits and meetings
  • Addressing conflict directly
  • Creating a work environment where ALL feel seen and included, not merely welcome
Repair the World - TIkkun Olam

Tikkun Olam refers to positive social change or processes for the betterment of society. Tikkun Olam is the responsibility not only for one’s own moral, spiritual, and material welfare but also for the welfare of society.

More generally, tikkun can mean to improve, repair, or prepare. This happens through acts of ‘justice and kindness.’ We take steps towards improving the state of the world by helping others.

Tikkun Olam has become synonymous with the notion of social action and the pursuit of social justice.

Though ALL Gulf Coast JFCS staff ‘repair the world’, specific qualities at the heart of this value may include:

  • Teaching the skills needed to begin recovery from trauma
  • Empowering the underemployed to gain the skills needed to more fully support themselves
  • Widening the safety net for individuals & families in crisis
  • Speaking up for employee needs by joining Stronger Together or in monthly “What’s On Your Mind” staff-wide meetings
Welcome the Stranger - Hachnasat Orchim

Literally, “welcoming guests;” hachnasat orchim is the obligation to offer hospitality to those in need and to welcome guests into our homes and communities.

Social work is a profession built around the art of inviting strangers to the process of becoming advocates for themselves.

Creating a welcoming environment and culture means building an inclusive workplace, one where all people feel welcome and valued for their contributions.