Come One, Come All
Jewish Family Services works to improve the lives of many — and to overcome a misconception
It’s pretty rare for a 120-year-old organization to have to introduce itself. But that’s just what JFS of Delaware, a nonprofit founded in Wilmington in 1898, has to do.
The reason lies in the name. JFS stands for the storied Jewish Family Services, led in the beginning by one Morris Levy. For more than a century the organization has been serving youth, adults, refugees and seniors with a variety of services. From mental health therapy to community navigators able to help seniors stay independent and safe, JFS saw needs in Sussex County and set up shop here two years ago on Route 24.
“But,” says JFS Executive Director Basha Silverman, “there’s been a problem. We’re having trouble explaining that we provide services to everyone, not just Jewish clients.”
It’s not the first time a problem of this sort has arisen. And, in a cool coincidence, it’s not even the first time for an organization led by a Mr. Levy.
Back in the 1960s, heyday of New York’s advertising “mad men” world, a small Brooklyn bakery, Levy’s Jewish Rye Bread, faced the identical challenge. Nobody outside the Jewish community there made, or even knew about, sandwiches with rye bread.
Drexel Davison, at Your Service
Catering to the needs of others has put the businessman in fine company — and in touch with what’s missing in his life
As a young man in New York City, Lewis Drexel Davison’s job put him in contact with the rich and famous, including Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Walters, Nancy Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor. In the two-plus decades he’s owned a successful Rehoboth Beach hair salon, he’s volunteered with numerous local charity events (coiffing Joan Rivers’ locks at one of them), and served on the boards of the Freeman Stage west of Fenwick Island, the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover and Rehoboth Beach Main Street.
Despite all of that, though — despite even the 50th birthday party that friends threw for him last year at The Pierre, a luxury hotel in Manhattan — Davison looks back on a winter evening in 2009, right in Rehoboth Beach, as the best time of his life.
Alternative approaches to wellness and healing abound in coastal Delaware
When doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital diagnosed Rachel Grier-Reynolds with stage 4 lung cancer, they gave her eight months to live. “They told me, do all the things I wanted to do: basically enjoy the time I had left here,” recalls the Lewes resident. So that’s exactly what she’s done — for the past 10 years.
Many physicians would agree that Grier-Reynolds, who was diagnosed in 2008, has defied the odds. But few ask her why. “I was shocked at how little interest there is from the medical profession about why I haven’t died,” she says.
While she’s undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, she’s also used nutritional supplements, self-reiki, acupuncture and heart-focused meditation. She’s learned the mood-boosting power of a smile and the calmness that comes from picturing a passel of soft puppies.
Western medicine might not be knocking on Grier-Reynolds’ door for an explanation, but there are plenty of coastal residents who’d be interested in her story. For proof, witness the turnout to see the documentary “Heal” this past November. Screened at Lefty’s Alleys & Eats, “Heal” (now available on iTunes), examines how thoughts, beliefs and emotions affect health and the ability to overcome illness.