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Meet a Via Rider: Rabbi Deborah Bronstein

Judaism and social justice are the two currents running through Rabbi Deborah Bronstein’s life.

In 2014, after the seizures caused by her epilepsy worsened considerably, Rabbi Bronstein made the difficult decision to give up the keys and stop driving. Although she’d lived with epilepsy since she was 14 years old, she wasn’t prepared for this barrier. 

“I didn’t expect my epilepsy to limit me in the way it has,” she shared. Soon, her community realized that she was no longer driving, and Jewish Family Services referred her to Via. 

Of course, not being able to drive did not impact her Jewish faith. But it did make her daily living and social activism harder.

“In particular, physical therapy is very important to me, and I think I would have had to quit if I didn’t have Via.” These days, Rabbi Bronstein uses Via to get to and from her physical therapy appointments every week. “They are all very good drivers, and I never have to worry.”

While the ability to travel independently is essential, Deborah particularly loves the service she receives.. “[Via’s drivers] are very tender to old and frail people. There have been times when my balance is bad, and the drivers are always there to support me or offer me an arm. They treat everyone who gets on the bus as an important person.”

Judaism is central to Deborah’s life, and her favorite part of riding with Via is the conversations she has with the drivers. She loves the theological discussions she gets to have with those of different faiths.

“The drivers have deep hearts, and I’ve become very attached to many different drivers over the years.” 

Rabbi Bronstein is grateful to have this community resource available to her and wishes that more communities had similar programs. As for her social activism, the Rabbi is still motivated to fill her days with volunteer work.

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