November 19, 2019

Mom, the full-time mensch

“Is everybody happy today?” Shana Passman cheerfully asked a table of Holocaust survivors eating lunch at Hollywood Temple Beth El at the annual Chanukah party of Café Europa, a social club for Holocaust Survivors run by the Jewish Family Service (JFS).

The survivors’ faces lit up, but one said she needed a napkin — and Passman quickly ran to get one. As Passman and the survivors shmoozed and later danced to the accordion band, it became hard to tell who was helping whom.

“These people inspire me,” said Passman, 60. “They’re not survivors for nothing.”

Passman said she feels fortunate to be able to make giving to others a vocation. For the past 14 years, she has volunteered her time assisting seniors in various capacities, including delivering weekly meals through Meals on Wheels and offering counseling as a case aide at the JFS/ Freda Mohr Multipurpose Center.

She sits on executive and advisory boards of a variety of organizations and educational institutions, including JFS, the food bank SOVA, United in Harmony, Pitzer College, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s School of Jewish Nonprofit Management.

Story continues after the video.

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