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08.18.10

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JCFC Summer Celebration

By Gretchen Giles


Offering free drop-in medical services, including a full day of no-cost acupuncture treatment each week, the Jewish Community Free Clinic celebrates its ninth year of serving Sonoma and Marin counties with a summer celebration fundraiser on Aug. 29. Founded in honor of the traditional Jewish concepts of tzedakah ("justice/charity") and tikkun olam ("repairing the world"), the JCFC was established by Dr. Robin Lowitz in 2001 in order to serve the more than 140,000 North Bay residents who are uninsured. Last year, the clinic saw more than 1,900 clients totalling some 3,000 visits. According to JCFC volunteer coordinator Hannah Jern-Miller, that number is up by about 700 people from 2008.

While the JCFC does not dispense or prescribe narcotics, cannot do ob/gyn services or STD testing and doesn't have a psychiatric team, it does offer regular well-baby care and immunization services and is available twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday, for drop-in family practice clinics. It is also able to make recommendations for services it can't provide within its network of volunteer practitioners. Each week, the JCFC strives to help community members with minor ailments, medical education, ache and pain treatment and everything necessary to keep healthy kids healthy. The acupuncture treatments are care of the Acupuncture School of Berkeley, which sends certified practitioners to oversee students who need to get their training hours pinned down. "A lot of people didn't even know what it was," Jern-Miller says of the treatment. "But they got offered it and they keep coming coming back; we definitely have regulars."

This year's fundraiser features three Americana songwriting bands—the Courtney Janes, the Easy Leaves and Old Jawbone—as well as a yoga class at 2pm led outside by Devorah Blum (if you did yoga at the Kate Wolf Fest, you did it with Devorah), face painting for the kids, plenty to eat—home made by JCFC staff and volunteers—drinks for purchase and a silent auction. And rest assured, being Jewish is not necessary for any of it. "We offer services to anyone without health insurance regardless of religion," Jern-Mill assures.

All of this happens on Sunday, Aug. 29, from 1pm to 5pm. $18 per person, $36 per family or $54 per carload of revelers. 5500 Burnside Road, Sebastopol. To buy advance tix, call 707.585.7780.


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