News

 

Hugging is back!

Now you can send a holiday hug to your favorite people. Just complete THIS FORM and we will send a handwritten postcard to the people of your choice…from YOU!

JFS hugs our community in so many ways:

  • Delivering kosher meals
  • Providing counseling and support
  • Offering resources to families to help with aging parents
  • Shopping and delivering groceries
  • Drive seniors to medical appointments
  • And so much more.

Sending holiday hugs supports our vital services and spreads joy in the new year.

Want to call in your hugs order instead? Contact Christina Murray at 518-516-1101 and she will take care of it for you!

 

Despite seasonally chilly Northeast weather and a few showers, over 30 dedicated JFS volunteers gathered at the outdoor pavilion at the Albany JCC for the JFS volunteer appreciation lunch.  They were acknowledged for being JFS unsung heroes – shopping and delivering groceries, driving seniors to medical appointments and errands, delivering kosher meals and contributing their expertise on the JFS board and committees.

A banner displayed several quotes from the volunteers who were asked, “What is the best part about volunteering at JFS?” One individual said, “I enjoy providing immediate comfort to someone, while connecting to my local Jewish community.” For many, it’s all about “giving back to the community,” “building friendships” and the “gratification they feel by helping others.”

“Volunteers are a vital part of service delivery at JFS,” said president and CEO Jane Ginsburg. “They are out and about directly serving members of our community.” It’s not uncommon for a volunteer to report back to us that someone they see each week might need more help. “We can refer clients to other JFS services like counseling, case management or to our Senior Resource Network,” said Ginsburg.

If you someone you know would like to volunteer with JFS, please contact us at 518-482-8856 or info@jfsneny.org.

Here are some photo highlights...
We are delighted to once again partner with our Jewish community institutions for our
3rd Annual Mensches & Mimosas, adding 30 more honorees to our group of unsung heroes!

Over the past two years, the annual JFS Mensches & Mimosas has recognized 49 honorable menschen from organizations throughout our region for selflessly giving their time, their passions, and their hard work to our community. 

As part of this celebration, we will present Alan Iselin with the JFS Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for his commitment to serving humanity with humility and being a role model for future generations.

Here’s where you can watch this year’s celebration:
June 2, 2022
7:00 p.m. Mensches & Mimosas
6:55 p.m. Preshow
Watch on the JFS YouTube Channel
Watch on the JFS Facebook Page
OR
Click this Screen

Many Thanks to Our “M&M” Supporters! View them here!

You can still support our honorable menschen and JFS.  Proceeds from this event help support and grow the free services we provide to our community.
  1. Click here to use our online form,
  2. Click here to print a pdf form, or
  3. Call JFS to process your credit card via phone: 518-482-8856
If you have any questions, please call Monica Tan at 518-516-1104 or email mtan@jfsneny.org.
 
 See a list of past Honorable Menschen here.

Thanks to the generosity of legacy donors, Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York was able to award five scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students scholarships to help with their college-related expenses. To be considered for a scholarship, applicants were asked to write a brief essay on their understanding of Jewish Family Services’ impact on the community and suggest innovative ways for college-aged people to support JFS’s mission to serve those in need.

The 2021-22 Awardees:

 

SARAH BEARDEN was awarded $2,000 from the Hessberg Trust. She is a freshman at Columbia University studying Civil Engineering.

DAVID BERIN received $1,000 from the JFS Combined Scholarship Fund*. Hailing from Bethlehem, he is currently a freshman at UCLA.

ELIJAH FERET was awarded $1,000 from the David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund. A member of Agudat Achim in Schenectady, he is a sophomore at Catholic University of America studying Biomedical Engineering on the premed track.

DANIEL GULKO received $1,000 from the David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund. He is in the MD program at Albany Medical College and is interested in studying Neurology.

SHIRLY TSUR-MAGEN received $1,000 from the JFS Combined Scholarship Fund*. She is a former JFS intern and is working towards a Master’s in Social Work at the University at Albany, SUNY.

 

“Leaving a legacy can be done in many ways. It is particularly special to leave a portion of a person’s estate to a charitable organization for the good use of the organization and related uses, said Jane Ginsburg, president & CEO at JFS. “We are honored to steward planned gifts from donors who established scholarships in their Wills for the organization to distribute.”

 

JFS scholarships of $1,000-$2,000 are now available to support Jewish students with college-related expenses. Scholarships are made possible by:

  • The David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund
  • The Hessberg Trust
  • The JFS Scholarship Fund*

Eligibility requirements vary per scholarship. Students must be residents of Albany, the surrounding area, or attend college or graduate school locally. Applicants must be at least 17 years old and be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university for the 2021-2022 academic year.

To be considered for a 2021-22 JFS scholarship, applicants must complete a brief online form , which includes writing a brief essay on

  1. Their understanding of Jewish Family Services’ impact on and for the community, and
  2. Suggest innovative ideas on how college students can support the mission of JFS and serve those in need.

Preference will be given to applicants who express interest in volunteering with JFS.

The deadline is Friday, September 10, 2021.

The recipients will be selected from submissions and will be awarded their scholarship in late September. Please note we may choose to use the winning entry in JFS publicity and marketing communications.

* This fund is currently made up of the following funds: Frederick DeBeer Scholarship, Jewish Family Services Scholarship, Beatrice B. Levy Scholarship, George M. Simon Scholarship (restricted to a resident of Albany) and the Eli Werlin Scholarship.

Apply online here.

Thanks to the generosity of a grant from the B’nai B’rith Gideon Lodge Fund, a component of The Jewish Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, JFS is now providing a $1,000 stipend to a Jewish high school student or college freshman under 18 years old willing to help JFS fulfill its mission to help and support the more vulnerable members of our community.

This is a great opportunity for a student to give back to their community, while gaining valuable volunteer experience.

The hours are flexible, roughly 2-5 hours per week depending on projects. Activities may include driving* for Project 5, shopping and delivering groceries for the homebound, or creating a fundraising program to benefit the more vulnerable in our community (see our latest Two of a Kind Program). Other ideas? We welcome your compassion and creativity. 

To apply, please complete this brief application.

Scholarship is for the 2021-22 academic year and will be paid in two disbursements. Student will be paired with a staff person to support their efforts.

Decisions will be made by the end of September with activity to start soon thereafter.

*A New York State driver’s license in good standing and reliable transportation is required.

The TWO OF A KIND program helps children in need start the school year on the right foot!

Parents & Organizations

If you or someone you know has a child that needs new shoes for the school year, please sign up here by Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
Once purchased, we will make arrangements to have the shoes delivered to your home. Please know that children’s names will remain anonymous. Only their shoes size, preferences, etc. will be communicated to donors.

Donors
If you would like to purchase shoes or make a donation so that a child in need has new shoes for school, please complete this short form.
For donors who opt to shop for the shoes, we will email you a list of shoe selection options on August 20th so that you can go shoe shopping! We encourage you to Make it FUN and Brighten a Child’s Day! Donors can include a card or note in the shoe box. Maybe add a book, stickers, fun pencils — little things that fit right in the box with the shoes.

You’ll be asked to wrap the box and include the child’s information on the box so we can match your gift to the correct child. 
Shoe drop off will be required by September 1.Drop off location is JFS, 184 Washington Ave Extension, Albany NY 12203.
If you are unable to do the shopping but want to help, we welcome donations on behalf of this project and will use the funds to purchase shoes, on your behalf, for our community youth.
Thank You Helping Provide a Little Soul, Sole for Children in Your Community!

 

Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Northeastern New York, in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, is delighted to bring Rabbi Amiel Monson (who prefers to go by ‘Rabbi Ami’) to the Capital Region. Rabbi Ami will provide spiritual connection and support for residents in independent and long-term care facilities, and pastoral care and bereavement support for the community at large. Rabbi Ami is stepping into the role that for nearly 25 years was served by Rabbi Beverly Magidson.

“I am excited to join the Capital Region community as the new Community Chaplain, and I am honored to continue the program whose foundation was created by Rabbi Bev. I have deep respect for her mentorship as I become familiar with the role. I thank Jewish Family Services, Daughters of Sarah, the Jewish Federation, and Temple Israel for helping ensure this incredible program continues and that I am able to provide services, support, and pastoral care to residents of the greater Albany Jewish community,” said Rabbi Ami Monson.

Originally from Philadelphia, Rabbi Ami spent the last seven years on the West Coast in a range of positions including spiritual support and counseling for elder residents at Los Angeles Jewish Home and The Nest (Los Angeles, CA) and Youth Director at Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA). His work with older adults was pivotal in his realization of being called to work with the aging population as a rabbi. Rabbi Ami graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) with a BA in Comparative Religion and a certificate in Jewish Studies. He went on to achieve three master’s degrees from Gratz College (Elkins Park, PA) — in Jewish Education, Jewish Communal Service, and Jewish Studies. He graduated The Academy for Jewish Religion (California) and was recently ordained. He follows generations of family rabbis, including his father, and maternal grandfather, who served at Temple Beth El in Troy in the 1940’s, and great grandfather. 

Jane Ginsburg, President & CEO of Jewish Family Services, said, “When I learned that Rabbi Ami Monson was looking for a fulfilling opportunity, I was delighted. Ami and I met in college and connected through Hillel – Ami was the guy that everyone knew and everyone liked, and most importantly, he liked everyone back. Though we were only in touch via Facebook, it was clear that he not only hadn’t changed, but he’d also only expanded his networks and used his special gift of making someone feel seen and heard daily. I’m thrilled he, likewise, saw the value in this role and had the faith in us to move his young family across the country to join us as JFS and at Daughters.”

“For the last 2+ decades, Rabbi Bev has provided essential nurturing and healing pastoral care to our seniors living in nursing and assisted living facilities. She has done so with love and dedication, enhancing the lives of our loved ones. As Jewish Federation hands off this program to Jewish Family Services, we wish Rabbi Bev well in her retirement and warmly welcome Rabbi Ami to our community and wish him every success,” said Rob Kovach, President & CEO of Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.

Rabbi Bev Magidson, who served as Community Chaplain for 25 years, said, “Jewish residents of independent and long-term care facilities (whether they are skilled nursing or assisted living facilities) may be the only Jewish resident or part of a very small group.  They may be isolated by unit or floor. Chaplaincy Services brings Jewish cultural and religious practices to these residents, with familiar foods, music, or prayers.  The program also sends regular newsletters to help activities directors infuse Yiddishkeit to the programs and in honor of the Jewish holidays. Through the chaplain’s outreach residents know that their community cares about them!!”

“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Ami join the Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors. Our chaplaincy services form a critical element of our mission to provide to the aged members of our community ‘excellent health care and social service care Jewishly,’  Guided and informed by our exceptional Jewish heritage, we expect that Ami will continue to strengthen that Jewish operational focus — a focus the remains unique to Daughters of Sarah,” said Mark Koblenz Chief Executive Officer for Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors. 

“Temple Israel is proud to stand with our community partners to help bring Rabbi Ami to the community. We know that Rabbi Ami will be a true asset for the entire Albany Jewish Community, and we are proud to step up and help ensure our community and region benefit from his experience and pastoral care,” said Gary Ginsburg, President at Temple Israel.

This Chaplaincy program under Jewish Family Services is provided in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel, Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, B’nai B’rith Gideon Foundation and the Theodore Strauss Fund (A restricted fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York). In addition to working in long-term care facilities, Rabbi Ami will provide grief and loss support as needed and as appropriate throughout the community, and will be a key asset to the JFS team to ground the agency’s activities in the Jewish values of its foundation.

Spearheaded by Jewish Family Services, we have a team of volunteers and professionals ready to help you get your COVID-19 vaccine. While we are not a point of distribution for the vaccine, we can register with you or for you. There is already a waiting list, as we all learn how to navigate the system, and information pushed out by the state and counties is updated daily.

Whether you need help registering or getting to your appointment, we want to help. Call JFS’ main number at (518) 482-8856*. If you live in the NNORC, feel free to call that number directly, 518-514-2023*.

 

HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW

Albany County
Individuals 65 and older who live in Albany County can call the Sheriff’s office to be placed on a waitlist for a vaccination appointment. 
Call 518-720-8036, Monday-Friday from8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When the vaccine becomes available, they will be offering drive-through appointments at:
Albany County Sheriff’s Department
Public Safety Building
58 Verda Avenue
Clarksville, NY

They will also schedule appointments in the home for those who are homebound due to medical needs and require ambulance service. 

This is a two step process:

  1. You call the Sheriff’s office and give them your name, phone number, and age.
  2. When they get their allotment of vaccines, they will call you to schedule an appointment time.

Schenectady County
Schenectady County Public Health Services (SCPHS) is registering individuals to receive the vaccine. At this time, SCPHS vaccination is only available to individuals in Schenectady County who qualify according to the State’s eligibility criteria. (Please note, while the state will vaccinate those 65 and older, Schenectady County’s age limit is 75 and older.) Here is the link to their online pre-registration form. Once your form has been submitted, County staff will contact you when appointments are available.

Schoharie County
Schoharie county is also registering individuals to receive the vaccine. Here is a link to their online form. They will contact you once they receive their allotment and will schedule a vaccination appointment with you.

Rensselaer County
At this time, Rensselaer County is using the NYS vaccine system.

There are two ways to schedule an appointment through the NYS system: online registration and telephone.

ONLINE REGISTRATION
This link will take you to the NYS online form.
NOTE: You must have an active email address OR a mobile phone that accepts text messages to use this online form. The state requires this so that they are able to contact you. If you do not have email or the ability to receive text messages, please plan to schedule your appointment via telephone. JFS volunteers are available to help you with the email requirement and we can print your vaccine authorization once you are scheduled.

TELEPHONE REGISTRATION
Call the vaccination hotline: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
NOTE: The hotline is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Albany County forged a partnership with Mohawk Ambulance to ensure senior citizens unable to travel from their homes for the vaccine will have the vaccine brought to them. Individual stops to senior living communities and senior residents of single-family homes will be available if they sign up for the vaccine.

PATIENCE IS KEY
Please be patient when trying to schedule an appointment as only a limited number of vaccines and appointments are available at this time.

Please see this important message from the Capital Region Hub – Regional Vaccine Network. Most importantly is to visit capitalregionvax.org for the most up-to-date vaccine information.

BE INFORMED
The Albany Times Union published a detailed article on vaccination for individuals over 65 years of age. Read it here:

Read some frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

*Please note that JFS is closed on the weekends. All calls will be return in the order they are received and as quickly as possible.

Volunteer Application Part 1

Name(Required)
Nickname
Please indicate your preferred pronouns:(Required)
Address(Required)
MM slash DD slash YYYY
Preferred Method of Communication
Best time(s) to contact:

When is your availability to volunteer? (Please check timeslots that apply.)

Please note: we typically do not ask for volunteer services on Federal and Jewish Holidays.
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Hidden
Which volunteer opportunities interest you?(Required)

Thank you for taking the time to time complete this application. We are committed to provide training, resources, and support to ensure your experience is fulfilling and we value your commitment.

Please Note: All Program Volunteers are required to authorize Jewish Family Services to complete a criminal background check. If there is anything you’d like to discuss privately, please contact Rachel Gershon Rourke.

Volunteers who will be driving clients are required to submit copies of these documents: a valid driver’s license, current automobile registration, declaration page(s) from your automobile insurance, and Department of Motor Vehicle Records Research Authorization. A background check will be obtained of your driving record. You will need to include a witness signature for the permission for the Department of Motor Vehicle check.

Release and Waiver

Consent
Name
MM slash DD slash YYYY

Our Community Volunteer Coordinator will review your application and contact you within one week of your submission.

Please complete this initial registration to be a JFS volunteer. We are so excited to meet you!

Feel free to reach out to our Community Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Gershon Rourke:
518-722-4980, Ext. 1003 or email Rachel.

Your Name(Required)
Best time(s) to contact you:
Address(Required)

 

This year’s JFS Mensches & Mimosas virtual celebration honored 30 unsung heroes from the Capital Region, who were nominated by partner organizations from the Jewish community for their selfless dedication and leadership. As part of the celebration, Alan Iselin received the JFS Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for serving humanity with humility.

The virtual celebration included pre-recorded videos of the Honorable Menschen who answered, “What inspires you to be a mensch?” Honorees shared inspiring tales of their organization’s members, leadership and of their volunteerism being passed down from their parents, “It was the Jewish values instilled in me as a child,” said Melanie Hecker from Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany. Mark Koblenz from Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors spoke about their mensch nominee Neil Manasse who embraces the organization’s core values: honoring your mother and father and performing acts of loving kindness. Ruth Facher Mendel (Congregation Beth Emeth) was interviewed by her daughter Lisa Finkle to whom Ruth passed down the tradition of serving.

Rabbi Scott Shpeen (Congregation Beth Emeth, Albany) presented Alan Iselin the JFS Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award commenting on Alan’s years of leadership in the Albany Jewish community, greater Capital Region and nationally. In accepting the award, Alan Iselin, a JFS board chair in 1966, said he is “dazzled” by the services at JFS and the breadth of their coverage. “This organization has grown, it has added services, and continues to be a wonderful [resource] for the community,” said Iselin.

Several JFS service recipients shared their gratitude to JFS. Rosyln Foote commended JFS Project 5 for giving for helping her maintain her independence by giving her private rides to appointments. Steve Lobel recounted how the JFS Senior Resource Network provided critical resources and support so that he and his sister could move their mother from Florida to Albany after some serious health issues. Lenore Kesten expressed her appreciation for receiving kosher home delivered meals, particularly because she can no longer prepare her own meals.

“Monies raised from Mensches & Mimosas help support and grow JFS services that are provided regardless of an individual’s ability to pay,” said JFS president & CEO Jane Ginsburg. “It is through the generous philanthropic support from our community that helps our programs, and in turn our community, thrive.” JFS support groups, grocery and meal delivery, and senior adult services are just some examples of programs that are provided at little or no cost to recipients.

Here’s where you can watch this year’s celebration:
Watch on the JFS YouTube Channel
Click this Screen

Many Thanks to Our “M&M” Supporters! View them here!

You can still support our honorable menschen and JFS.  Proceeds from this event help support and grow the free services we provide to our community.
  1. Click here to use our online form,
  2. Click here to print a pdf form, or
  3. Call JFS to process your credit card via phone: 518-482-8856
If you have any questions, please call Monica Tan at 518-516-1104 or email mtan@jfsneny.org.
 
 See a list of past Honorable Menschen here.

Alan Iselin is the recipient of this year’s Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for his extensive and inspiring work as a pillar of the Albany Jewish community. Alan is an American hero and veteran, having served as Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947. He then earned a Bachelor of Naval Science at the University of Colorado and later a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Miami.

In his professional and humanitarian life, Alan has had a long and diverse career. He worked for more than a quarter century as an investment management consultant for many high-profile foundations (Lehman Brothers, Bankers Trust Company of Albany, B.T. Capital Investment Group), earning him high accolades in New York State and beyond. Governor Mario Cuomo appointed Alan as Chairman of the SUNY Albany Council and appointed him as a member of the New York Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

Alan has been recognized and appointed to many roles by prominent local political figures, including Governor Hugh Carey; appointment to New York State Post Vietnam Coordination Committee by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller; and appointment to the Board of Directors of the Albany Civic Auditorium by Mayor Erastus Corning. He has also served as a chairman in innumerable other institutions, such as: the Hebrew Union College Board of Governors; the College of Saint Rose Friends Annual Campaign; United Way of Northeastern New York; United Jewish Appeal; the Cerebral Palsy telethon; the Palace Theater of Performing Arts; St. Peter’s Hospital Board of Trustees; and more. He has served on the executive boards of a wide variety of organizations, including Jewish Family Services (President), the Albany Chamber of Commerce (VP), Blue Cross-Blue Shield (Director), Congregation Beth Emeth (President), Mercy Care Corp. (Board of Directors), and many more.

With his many accolades and achievements, Alan’s greatest sense of pride comes from his loving family. He was married to his dear wife, Barbara Hellman, for more than sixty years, and together they raised children Gayle, Harold, Linda, and Joanne. His 10 grandchildren are his joy and pride.

Past recipients of the Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award Herm Ungerman, David Alan Miller, Jean Becker, Amy Klein, Fred Erlich, Mara Ginsberg, Chanie Simon, Rabbi Beverly Magidson, The Golub Family, Jerry & Ilene Sykes, Michael Castellana, Steve Lobel, Morris and Esther Massry, Dr. Mark Sullivan and Representative Michael McNulty.

A photo of Ruth Pelham

Ruth Pelham is one of America’s greatest songwriters . . . and an even better community organizer.”  -Pete Seeger, legendary folksinger and activist

Come join singer and community organizer Ruth Pelham on Wednesday May 11 at 1:00 p.m. at B’nai Sholom Congregation at 420 Whitehall Road in Albany for NNORC’S annual Older American’s Month event. This year’s event theme is “Age My Way.” As the first in-person event that NNORC will host since the onset of COVID two years ago, all NNORC residents are welcome and masks are encouraged. 

 Ruth Pelham is a familiar presence in the NNORC community through the many workshops she’s presented through the years and the original songs she’s composed, like “Remember Well,” “Engage at Any Age,” “A Taste of My Childhood Delights,” and “Turn On the Light of Love.”  Ruth’s songs are full of warmth and wit, are easy to learn and sing along with, and they embrace themes that are poignant and relevant in these challenging times. 

 For the “Age My Way” event, Ruth will invite participants to join her in singing and chatting about how we can age in our own way. This may include remaining in our homes, supporting each other as friends and chosen family, contributing our time and talents to the enrichment of our communities, and so much more. As is always a part of Ruth’s presentations, participants will also join in a hands-on activity that catalyzes individual expressions of creativity and fosters group connection and friendship.  

 For the May 11th workshop, Ruth has composed a new song called “Age My Way” that features an upbeat melody and words that affirm elder power and camaraderie. About the goals for the workshop, Ruth says, “The negative effects of ageism often echo through self-images and societal expectations that do not correspond to how we truly want our lives to be. This workshop will give voice to discovering and naming our strengths, and to casting off the messages and habits that are barriers to us each living fully.” 

To register for this program, please call 518-514-2023 or email NNORC@jfsneny.org

 Ruth Pelham lives in Albany, NY where, since 1977, she has been the founder and director of Music Mobile whose concerts, residencies, workshops, special initiatives, and international cultural exchange projects have impacted the lives of generations of Capital Region residents. Ruth is currently working on “The Music Mobile Legacy Project” that will tell the story of Music Mobile and its long history of building peaceful communities through music, learning, and community engagement.  

 Note: Ruth will be performing two concerts for children and families at the Albany Tulip Festival on Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 at the Kid Zone Stage. Concerts are free and will take place from 3:30 – 4:00 pm and 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. on both days. 

 

The JFS Caring for Aging parents panel provided vital information to a growing segment of the community who are now in a caregiver role.

On Tuesday, April 5th, over 50 people attended the virtual panel discussion that featured an author who wrote a book about caring for her own aging parent (BJ Rosenfeld), dispute and mediation specialist (Alice Rudnick), an occupational therapist who specializes in aging safely at home (Lynda Shrager, OTR, MSW, CAPS), a clinical social worker (Tara Hempel, LCSW-R). The latter two are part of the staff of experts at JFS who specialize in working with seniors, adults and families who are coping with life transitions.

The panel answered dozens of questions submitted by participants from accessing resources for a parent who lives in another state to having difficult conversations with aging parents to finding balance and managing stress when adult children are caring for their parents and their own families.

Clearly, the number of people who are in a caregiver role is expanding and the need for supportive services and helpful information grows in tandem. JFS will continuing to assist those caregivers and seniors as we work to enrich the lives of individuals and the community through compassionate and collaborative human services.

The Zoom presentation can be viewed here.

If you are a caregiver and need resources and support, please contact the JFS Senior Resource Network or the JFS clinical team.

JFS NENY is delighted to partner with Jewish Family Service Houston (JFS) Alexander Institute for Inclusion which shines a light on the lives and aspirations of individuals with disabilities in Houston and beyond. They seek to lower stigmas and increase access for individuals with disabilities in the workplace, places of faith and communal organizations through direct service, education, arts and advocacy.  

This February is JFS Houston’s 10th annual ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival, which brings an array of virtual programs that promotes inclusion and celebrates the lives, stories and talents of people with disabilities, making an impact that lasts far beyond the Festival. The timing of this festival is beshert – coinciding with Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance & Inclusion Month.  

JFS Houston is graciously giving JFS NENY full access to the virtual portions of ReelAbilities Film Festival, including the opening event on February 15th with a special JFS access code (a $10 value)! 

Beyond the initial two programs, the 12 streaming films from February 16 to 24 provide an intimate and educational view into various disabilities including hearing loss, ALS, cerebral palsy, mental health conditions and more. These feature-length, narrative, and documentary films can be an excellent tool for the workplace or classroom to enhance awareness of people with disabilities. 

Below is the full roster of virtual events and here is a link to the event brochure.

UP Abilities—An Extraordinary Evening with Extraordinary Speakers

February 15, 7:00-9:00 PM CST
Featured speakers for the evening include: 

  • Josh Blue, a comedian with Cerebral palsy who finished third in the last season of America’s Got Talent;  
  • Christine Ha, the first-ever blind contestant and season 3 winner of the competitive amateur cooking television show “MasterChef”; and  
  • Mike Veny, a mental health expert focused on building emotional wellness. 

Use the promo code JFSNENY to attend this event for free. (Tickets are normally $10.) 

Click here for registration. 

ReelWorkplace

February 17, 12:00-1:00 PM CST
Meg O’Connell, CEO & Founder, Global Disability Inclusion, and Peter Rutigliano, Managing Director – Data Analytics, Mercer-Sirota will present their first analysis of new data from a multi-year study of more than 3 million employees and explore the intersection of gender, race, age and disability. This is an opportunity to enhance DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) efforts by learning how to engage—and attract—employees with disabilities. The event is free to attend. 

Registration and additional speaker information is here   

ReelFilm

February 20, 21, 22 and 24 from 7:00-8:00 PM CST 

Each evening, there will be a virtual, hosted discussion around a variety of films depicting various disabilities, ranging from ALS to hearing loss to mental health conditions.  

Here is a link to watch a film and register for the discussion.

On Demand ReelFilm

February 16-24  

During this time, participants can have on demand access to a catalog of free, streaming feature-length, narrative, and documentary films covering a variety of disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, dating with a disability, Alzheimer’s, blindness, and so much more. All films are captioned and audio-described.  

Here is the link to the full catalog of films. 

PROVIDING SUPPORT, SERVICES & RESOURCES FOR OUR COMMUNITY