When it comes to helping folks,
Jeanette Johnson’s a real veteran – literally and figuratively. Grandma JJ, as she insists to
be called by all, is a most modest and kind-hearted lady who doesn’t think it’s
a big deal to help support two of the girls at the Rubin-Zeffren Children’s
Home in Netanya.
Surfing the net one day and perusing a
prayer site, Grandma JJ saw a flash photo of two girls at the Home in Netanya. All she needed was to stop and look at
the sheer desperation in their eyes and she knew she needed to help these girls
in Israel. She called the number and spoke to Chavie Lieberman who answered
many of her questions about the girls at the Home. Soon she received two photos
in the mail.
Once JJ received
those two images, she did not dare chose one over the other, she says. “How could I make such a
choice? They both needed my help.” So, that day she made up her mind to help
BOTH girls and to be part of their support system. She just could not let these
Johnson was born and raised in Santa Monica, California. She also served in the
United States Armed Services and spent a few months in Viet Nam. Due to
injuries sustained on duty, JJ had to return to the States for therapy. Her
experiences in the Army, which left her with yet another nickname, “Sergeant”
can fill up an entire book, which would undoubtedly be a ‘page turner.’
Besides her dedication to Sarah and
Eliana at the Home, Grandma JJ has other favorite charities she gives her ’all’ to including her
aid to the Red Cross Relief during recent flooding, her membership in the VFW –
Veterans of Foreign Wars, and her local charity – Gallatin Cares – a local
center that serves meals and donates new clothing to the needy.
Grandma JJ was a great pleasure for Lev LaLev. After our initial conversation,
she continued answering our questions through e-mail correspondence the next
day even though she had to visit the Veterans’ Administration (V.A. Medical
Center) all day, while storms were brewing in and around Gallatin.
JJ tells us how
she found the girls (at the Home) while reading a prayer site. “Up popped the girls’ pictures with
the western wall in the background. I looked into one of the children’s eyes
and saw a lot of hidden pain. To me, they said ‘Doesn’t anyone care????’
Jeanette Johnson continues by writing, “It tore my heart out! When I see and
know a child is in trouble, I am led to get help for that child.”
JJ lives on a limited income, she feels that she can’t let the children down. She says,
“They are Israel’s future!” Grandma JJ
is 72 years young. She has 3 grandchildren:
Summer, who is 18, Jordon, a 17 year old, and Kraylor – her only
grandson, who is 14.
JJ’s son, James Johnson, has a very noble job. He is the director of operations
for the Baja California School for the Deaf. He does fund raising, and gathers
volunteer teams for the school, and much more.
JJ also tells us that the whole Johnson family is involved in this
With great pride
and excitement, JJ continues telling us how she helped the Red Cross during the
floods in Montana.
She is also involved with Diane Black’s Congress Vets Group of Tennessee and
the electoral board for voters.
Her work and
passion was to manage group homes for teens that are disabled. If all these
volunteer activities are not enough, JJ also helps to save stray animals. That, along with trying to learn
Hebrew so she can read notes sent to her from Israel is still not enough to
keep her totally occupied. Grandma JJ is also trying to complete her Spanish
JJ thinks into the future, where she’d like to work on children’s books with strong
messages. But ultimately, Grandma JJ’s biggest wish is for her relationship
with the girls to grow stronger!
Lev LaLev applauds
Jeanette Johnson, A.K.A. Grandma JJ! And, to be sure, Sarah and Elana are
thrilled to have someone to call “Grandma JJ!”
Sponsor a girl (or two!) at the Children’s Home, NOW!