The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
Naomi and family

Celebrating 100 Years of Holidays

What do you do at Citymeals?

I work in the Major Gifts Department. My job involves facilitating connections with individual donors and foundations and applying for funding from a wide variety of sources, which helps us serve our goal of delivering meals to more than 18,000 frail aged New Yorkers every year. One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is building relationships with so many different people – our staff, board members, and donors, who are all inspired to work for the same cause. 

Our staff has a sense of humor and fun that makes the day-to-day work not just meaningful, but also enjoyable.

Are there older people that have played an important role in your life?

I am extremely fortunate to have close relationships with my grandparents, several of whom have lived into their mid to upper-90s. My grandparents on my mother’s side, Ruth (pictured above) and Jonas Javna, lived for many years in Sunnyside, Queens, and were extremely involved in their community. I grew up in Pittsburgh. The stories I heard about the city growing up absolutely influenced my decision to move here after college. When I moved here, I felt like I was coming back to my roots.

Naomi (right) and Amber (left), Director of Major Gifts & Corporate Relations.

What do you do for the holidays?

I celebrate Hanukkah, and it is one of my favorite holidays. The symbolism of adding a new candle every day of the holiday – literally bringing light into the darkness during some of the darkest days of the year – really speaks to me. A large portion of my family celebrates Christmas, too. My grandfather, Ed Borrebach, is 99-years-old – so this year will be his 100th Christmas! The holidays are always a special time for my family to travel from near and far and celebrate being together. 

What inspires you? 

I am inspired to try to make the world a little bit better every day. I’m driven to try to do what I can – even if it’s the smallest of actions – to try to bring us closer to living in a better and healed world.

I am also inspired and motivated when I think about the example my parents and grandparents set in how they lived their lives. They taught me to always try to be the first person to help someone who is struggling, to reach out and include people who might be lonely or isolated, and to seek to bring happiness to someone else’s life. I think that these actions and values can help people build and maintain relationships and communities that are inclusive and driven by empathy. 

What is your favorite food?     

I am a dessert fanatic, and I have a few favorites – classic birthday cake, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies. I lived and studied in Jerusalem for several months after graduating from college. Every weekend we observed the Jewish Sabbath – Shabbat – and I perfected a recipe for “sha-brownies,” based on ingredients I could buy in the Friday morning grocery store scramble with my limited Hebrew. My roommates and I would sit around and demolish a double-recipe of these every Saturday afternoon.

Food For Thought