Janis and the Empathy Effect

Janis Roth was one of my elementary school classmates. At Westminster School, we lined up alphabetically. I was always behind her in line—Rothman directly following Roth. She was smart, sweet, pretty, and slender. Although we regarded each other fondly, Janis and I never became close friends, and lost touch after school ended.

Janis died of an aggressive cancer on April 29th of this year. The news of her passing hit me hard. She was 59 years old, and had been the Executive Director of the Toronto JIAS—the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society—for the past 14 years. Janis oversaw the integration of more than 500 Jewish families each year from Russia, Ukraine, Latin America, Turkey, India, Israel, South Africa, and more. She was held in high esteem and beloved by many.

Her untimely death reminded me that we never know when our time will be up. It is up to each one of us to make the most of each day, to show love and appreciation, to use time efficiently, and to not delay what we’ve been meaning to do.

A post about Janis on the Facebook page of the Empathy Effect states:

She was an inspiration and a guiding force in this community, with a deep passion for serving those most in need.

Kim Smiley established the Empathy Effect in 2017. Her goal was to inspire loving kindness in homes, schools, at work, and in the world—in short, everywhere. She did this by stepping into another person’s shoes. By signing up for the Empathy Pledge, one promises to practice a daily act of empathy.

From a post on the Empathy Effect Facebook page:

The pursuit of a better world begins with you. We believe empathy is infectious. Please don’t just pass it on. Live it. Breathe it. Model it. Be it.

I recognize that this blog post is not directly connected to organizing or decluttering, but it’s been on my mind, and I wanted to share it with you. Nonetheless, it is related to my mission in life, which is to spread happiness!