Dr. Rela Mintz Geffen z”l dedicated her life’s work to serving the Jewish community through education and building understanding. In her honor, on the third anniversary of her passing, her sons Uri Zvi Monson and Rabbi Amiel Tuvia Monson have created the DR. RELA MINTZ GEFFEN JEWISH COMMUNITY CHAPLAINCY FUND to provide spiritual connection and support for Jewish residents in Capital Region long-term and elder care facilities and their families served by Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York (JFS).
Dr. Geffen was born in the city of Troy, NY and passed away on February 3rd, 2019. She was a renowned Jewish Sociologist, former President of Baltimore Hebrew University, and Dean and Professor at Gratz College in Philadelphia. A prolific writer and lecturer, she thrived on being a Jewish resource and educator. She was an enthusiastic champion of both her own work and her students’, sharing in their proud accomplishments – both personal and professional. In her final years, she was dedicated to the study of Jewish grandparenting and the role of the Aging Population in American Jewry.
The Community Chaplaincy Program of JFS focuses on meeting the spiritual needs of aging residents, primarily in long-term care facilities. The breadth of services includes:
- Providing pastoral care and counseling;
- Visiting with individuals who are otherwise unaffiliated, isolated and disconnected from Jewish life;
- Providing programming on Jewish topics;
- Consultation/education with facility staff on Jewish traditions, holiday preparations and dietary guidelines to help them become more culturally sensitive to Jewish residents and their needs; and
- Collaboration with Jewish and non-Jewish professionals in the community.
The DR. RELA MINTZ GEFFEN JEWISH COMMUNITY CHAPLAINCY FUND of JFS will ensure that funds are available for programs and supplies for the benefit of the Jewish aging community in the Capital District of NY. Through the fund, the Chaplaincy program will provide:
- Sabbath and holiday foods, meals and related gifts to regional long-term care residents
- Supplies for ritual and holiday observances
- Large print prayer books: machzorim (high holiday prayer books), haggadot (Passover books), and siddurim (prayer books)
- Funeral and Shiva mourner’s companion books and special resources to provide comfort to those who are in mourning).
- Special programming and expansion of the virtual capacity to broadcast Chaplaincy programs
The DR. RELA MINTZ GEFFEN JEWISH COMMUNITY CHAPLAINCY FUND of JFS is a fitting tribute to Dr. Geffen’s life and legacy. All gifts earmarked for this fund will enable the Chaplain to continue to expand the program’s role and reach, providing more resources to older adults and the facilities in which they reside.
To learn more about named funds and bequests, please contact Jane Ginsburg at JFS: