Dear Hope Sisters:

When the Directors of the Hope for Widows Foundation asked me to post something in honor of the Jewish High Holidays and our Jewish Hope Sisters, I truly began to think. This thinking seemed to be exactly right since the High Holidays are meant to be a time to reflect on the past year and our actions.  And a time to reflect on what we can do to be sealed in the book of life.

Here is how my thoughts went:


  • Should the greeting be a simple L’Shana Tova — just a Happy New Year?
  • Should the greeting be more complex and have explanations of the Holiday and the Days of Awe?
  • Should I reflect and try to write about my past year and ask each of you to do the same?
  • Should we focus on the traditional blessings of our holidays and remember our loved one as a blessing?
  • Should we focus on something more specific to widows; like how difficult these holidays can be?
  • How can I even do this as a convert to Judaism prior to my marriage– surely some of you know much more than me?


So here is what I decided:


  • My wish for all of us (non- Jewish Hope Sisters as well) and the wish of the Hope For Widows Foundation Board is for everyone to be blessed with the sweetness of life.  May the year 5778 be as happy and healthy as possible and may we see our love and support for each other continue to help all of us on our journeys. May the New Year help us continue to grow towards peace and wholeness.


Hugs always!! L’Shana  Tova U’metu!


Jill and the Hope for Widows Foundation Board.







Jill Hochman is a retired US Federal Senior Executive. Jill worked at the US Department of Transportation for 34 years. She wrote the first ever standard for licenses for drivers of big trucks and busses. Much of her career was spent bringing people together to facilitate and improve safety and transportation project planning.

Jill met her husband Charlie at work while waiting for a bus and they were married for almost 35 years. Shortly after retiring, Charlie died from cancer in August of 2014. He was diagnosed just 3 weeks before passing and Jill was not prepared to be a widow with all her retirement years ahead– much less be a single mom to a twenty year old son.

Since taking on this completely unplanned widow/single mom role,Jill joined the University of Maryland Legacy Leadership Program in the School of a Public Health, created a fund in her husband’s name to provide food at her city’s interfaith food pantry, and brings to widows positive intentions and healing energy through her work as a Master Reiki Healer.