Jewish School Becomes a Family for This Single Mom

Marcy’s life was in shambles. Her husband had recently passed away from cancer. She was getting fewer and fewer hours at work. Her daughter Shira was struggling socially at school.


And just when life at Shira’s school became intolerable, Marcy’s work hours were cut to zero. She had no way to pay for a new Jewish day school—something that was important to her and her late husband. She didn’t know where to turn. 


Regaining That Spark


It wasn’t easy for Marcy to reach out for help. But when a local Federation-supported day school tapped its funding to offer Shira a generous financial aid package, Marcy eagerly enrolled her daughter for a fresh start.


Shira came to class shy and downcast. But she soon came to feel accepted at her new school—and the transformation began. “Her eyes had this shine of excitement that we hadn’t seen in her before,” remembers Aviel, the school’s principal.


That sense of trust soon spread to Marcy, and day school became much more than just a place Shira went. “We’re her family, we’re her community,” Aviel says.


The school routine kept Marcy going. For weeks, staff and fellow parents checked in with her each day, and she was eager to share the new technical skills she was learning at night school. She even started debating job interview outfits with staff members. And when Marcy at last found a job she loved, the whole school community came together to celebrate with her.


Learning to Succeed


All the while, Shira continued to grow, becoming known for her giggle and quirky sense of humor as much as her aptitude in secular and Judaic subjects. “Recently, we had a speaker ask the students a very hard Jewish question,” Aviel recalls, “and Shira raised her hand and answered it almost immediately.”


“Raising one’s kids within a close-knit Jewish day school gives a family comfort and joy, and Federation has stood alongside us, building this special ‘family’ community at our school,” Aviel says. “Federation is a unique blessing; they are the voice and face for our local Jewish needs.


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