By Ashlyn Kelly
FRAMINGHAM – Temple Beth Am Cantor Jodi M. Schechtman helped so many people before she lost her battle to cancer in 2021.
“Her advice was always articulate, and on point,” said friend Eileen Davis. “Always there to provide validation and yet a strong, personalized perspective.”
Davis said she spoke to Schechtman before her passing about creating a memorial library.
“It was her wish to continue to support others after she was no longer able to do it herself,” said Davis, who is vice president at the United Way of Tri-County and oversees the mental health hotline service Call2talk.
On Thursday, February 10, Call2Talk held a dedication ceremony for the Cantor Jodi M. Schechtman Memorial Lending Library.
Schechtman passed away of ovarian cancer in March last year.
Her husband, Gene Laks, and daughter, Madison Laks, both attended the ceremony.
In a small crowded conference room, Davis, founder of Call2Talk, spoke of Schechtman and how she “never lost the gift of empathetic and compassionate listening.
The library is filled with books about “bereavement, loss, grief, hope, and renewal,” with some chosen from recommendations by Jodi’s family and friends, said Davis.
One book, housed on the top shelf and entitled Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges, was chosen by Jodi herself.
“It is in the spirit of courage and hope that this library is formed – not in grief and sadness,” said Davis at Thursday’s dedication.
Rabbi Emeritus Donald M. Splansky of Temple Beth Am led the dedication ceremony in front of the library which is housed on a bookshelf made to look like a red telephone booth from England.
“She was an unforgettable person,” said Splansky. “She played the hand that she was dealt and not everyone can do that so successfully”
The dedication plaque was unveiled by Madison.
“Eileen and Call2Talk have been incredibly supportive of my dad and me,” said Madison. “I would have never even thought of anything as amazing as this – as a dedication.”
Gene said, “Everything she did was always from the heart. It was genuine. It was real. It was not self-serving. There was no selfishness. It was just who she was.
“Of all days, today would have been her 64th [birthday],” he continued. “To me, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Schechtman served as the cantor for Temple Beth Am in Framingham from 1988 to 2016.
Books will be available to borrow by appointment.
More information about the library and how to borrow books will be available on Call2Talk’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Call2Talk211.
Ashlyn Kelly is a Spring 2022 SOURCE intern. She is a is a senior communication arts major with minors in political science and journalism at Framingham State University. When she is not writing an article, you can usually find her in a theatre.
Photos by Ashlyn Kelly