Jack Belitsky: Commanded to Do Good Deeds

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Jack Belitsky is a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Board of Trustees and was honored June 7 at the Jewish Federation Circle of Partners event, which pays tribute to donors who have given to the Jewish Federation for 25 years or more.

Jack Belitsky has spent his life tending to people at opposite ends of life’s journey.
He was an elementary classroom teacher and reading specialist in the Neshaminy School District for 36 years, and teaches at Congregations of Shaare Shamayim. He’s also the chair of the community advisory council for Rhawnhurst Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, which provides social services, socialization, transportation, home maintenance and repair.
“I volunteer in many of the participating agencies of the Jewish Federation,” Belitsky said. “At KleinLife, I have served as the chair of the senior advisory council, as the chair of the RSVP.”
He’s also a member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s Board of Trustees and was honored June 7 at the Jewish Federation Circle of Partners event, which pays tribute to donors who have given to the Jewish Federation for 25 years or more.
“[Jewish] Federation provides the social and educational and nutritional and housing needs of people at all age levels, particularly seniors, who are most vulnerable,” said Belitsky, who believes Judaism and volunteerism go hand in hand.
“They are interwoven based on the concept of the mitzvot,” he said. “Everyone thinks a mitzvah is a good deed when actually it means it’s a commandment.
“We’re required to help others if they’re in need — if they’re in financial need, if they’re in need of supportive services, if they’re in need of food. So every Monday and Tuesday morning, I pack the home-delivery meals.”
He’s done so much volunteer work, he was even featured in a Philly in Focus segment.
A Philadelphia native, Belitsky has lived in the same Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood for 55 years — 51 of them in the same house.
“I’m active in the Northeast Jewish community,” he said — a community that has changed greatly over the years.
“At one time, in the area where I live, it was almost entirely Jewish,” he said. “There were many synagogues, kosher butchers, bakeries, etc. There is one synagogue left. There are few kosher butchers. And the Jewish population, what remains in this area, are basically seniors.”
Belitsky, however, does see many immigrant families in the neighborhood.
“On the block where I live, I see an influx of Brazilians, of Hispanics, Indian, Pakistani, Asians. It certainly is dynamic and interesting.
“There are wonderful people who live next door to me. They shovel my snow. They put my trash out for me. They’re very kind.”
After all these years of giving, it seems appropriate that others are helping Belitsky now when he needs it — not that he’s slowing down.
“Volunteering is a very integral part of my life,” he said. “I always say, I get more out of volunteering than I give because it is so satisfying and a rewarding way to help others.”
This article is part of an occasional series of profiles on Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia supporters. 
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0747

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