November 10, 2022


A project like this doesn’t happen on its own, and this one owes much to the friends, family, and colleagues who continue to bring joy to the process.

I am hugely indebted to the fabulous design team I’ve been lucky enough to work with for many years on a variety of projects: Deidri Ottesen, Kristen Wall ( and Charles Mangin (

Copywriter and designer Paula Johnson, head honcho of—and a comedienne!—and Mado Reid, owner of Quio and partner in the Center for Creative Choice, have provided inspiration, help and advice about content, tone, wording, design and so much more.

We are also extremely fortunate to be working with NW Works, providers of vocational training and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. These are the folks who put our kits together.

My parents taught me how to care. A brilliant scholar and contributor to Jewish scholarship worldwide, my father, z”l, sat through countless after-dinner Hebrew lessons with me, patiently teaching me to read stories, poems and prayers. The taste of Hebrew is still sweet in my mouth.

My mother continues to inspire me in both her ambition and accomplishment. For nearly two decades, she led a Jewish news group in a retirement community and helped a small town in Russia revitalize its Jewish community. This community recently celebrated its first Jewish wedding in 60 years.

I met my husband, Mark, in college (at a Jewish students’ gathering, no less). I was blessed to find this remarkable, kind, funny man—a scientist—who has patiently and gently provided the linear thinking that the creative in me is so clearly lacking! When our daughters, Laura and Sarah, were born, life got even better. A pre-K teacher and surgical technician, respectively, they are also enormously creative and talented young women. Since the idea of Jewish Holidays in a Box came into our lives, the three of them have shared insights and ideas and design direction drawn from their seemingly endless wells of wisdom. Because when Mom starts a project, everybody starts a project!

My love and gratitude to you all.

Ellen Zimmerman