Accelerating Social, Academic and Health Equity
Monthly Report to the Community
February 2022
Dear JFS Friends, Supporters, and Collaborative Partners,

February is Black History Month, a time in which we pay tribute to the struggles and triumphs of our African American brothers and sisters – a mighty heritage that is threaded through our country’s complex and vibrant tapestry, a legacy that spans generations and testifies to the power and courage of the human spirit.

JFS is committed to the struggle of anti-racism, fighting antisemitism and combating all forms of hate. We continue to take a leadership role in this important work. Impact thus far:

1.    Over 220 community members trained in Active Bystandership. 10 organizations - Synagogues, Churches, Mosques - as initial concentration.
2.    12 Train the Trainers trained to lead the Active Bystander training.
3.    Spanish and Portuguese Active Bystander programs established.
4.    Focused campaign to share vaccination information with communities of color with many videos and initiatives, follow the links for examples:
5.    Established a specific social media presence to promote all MW DEI efforts - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - click and follow to instantly receive the latest updates.
6.   Joined an action group to assist Framingham Public School District in responding to race-based conflicts (fights, graffiti, tension).
7.    Convened very first Indigenous Peoples Day event in Framingham inviting Nipmuc nation as participants and accelerated Indigenous People concepts and instruction in the Framingham Public Schools.
8.    Working on establishing a summer training program/internship program to train students and specifically athletes to be Active Bystander trainers using a Peer-to-Peer model.
9.    Soon to launch a program that positions Framingham High School students of color as mentors to elementary school and middle school students.
10. Many other initiatives coming soon.

We are very grateful to the members of the Committee on Anti-Racism and Fighting Antisemitism for their investment and collaboration in these efforts. For this month’s eNewsletter, we asked Robin Welch, former JFS Board member and co-Chair of the Committee to share his thoughts on why this work is so important today. Scroll down to read the interview and learn how you can get involved in the fight to repair the world (Tikkun Olam) for future generations.

Our mission underlies all of the work we do at JFS, and I am pleased to share a few other updates on work we are doing to help our community build a better future.

~ Afghan Evacuee project: Since mid-October, JFS has welcomed ten Afghan evacuee families (34 individuals) to the Greater Boston Metrowest area. This includes children ranging from newborns to 17 years-old. All of the school-aged children are enrolled (pre-school through high school), and all families are currently taking ESL classes and tutoring through their sponsors. Volunteers are helping all eligible adults secure employment, and after many months of going without adequate healthcare, these new neighbors are finally receiving much needed medical and dental services. And, as these families are piecing together new lives for themselves, reunification efforts are underway so they can connect with local friends and relatives and build networks that support their efforts to achieve self-sufficiency.

Click here to learn how you can help these families there are many opportunities for you to assist us to help welcome these new families seeking a better life in our community. 

~ Jewish Family AssistanceAs part of CJP’s Anti-Poverty Initiative, JFS Family Assistance Program continues to provide critical services within our Jewish Community to over 200 individuals. The program, initially established to help Jewish individuals and families struggling financially to regain financial stability, has expanded its scope based on a significant change in the client profile presenting for assistance. FAN caseworkers are working with an unprecedented number of individuals and families coping with psychiatric and addiction disorders, homelessness and a myriad of other issues impeding financial stability. The average level of effort to stabilize clients has increased significantly as financial assistance alone cannot be effective in the presence of such major issues that need to be addressed. The FAN Team are strategizing new service models that will permit time and other resources to be focused on those with greatest need while maintaining connection with clients who, while demanding less time, still require JFS’ assistance.

Please note that we are looking to hire a senior level social worker/case manager to support these clients and provide a vital lifeline to Jewish families experiencing hardship. Click here to read the job descriptionplease share with your networks or apply today! 

~ A growing concern across the health care community, in part exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a spike in psychiatric and mental health emergencies that have led to increased hospitalizations, suffering and instances of homelessness. In an effort to support members of the Jewish community in need of assistance, our partner CJP has developed a new Mental Health Access website where individuals and professionals can find resources and information. Click here to learn more.

In addition, the Metrowest Behavioral Health Partners Initiative with support from the Metrowest Health Foundation are expanding their critical work in helping families and individuals affected by mental health concerns.

~ Healthy Aging: Recognizing the impacts that the pandemic and related social isolation have had on our older adult neighbors, JFS’ services in Greater Framingham’s Naturally Occurring Residential Communities have moved from remote to on-site after almost 2 years. Services are health and well-being focused and, through collaboration with other programs, such as the YMCA and Babson College, have expanded.

As medical practitioners have begun shifting from telehealth to in-office appointments, the demand for Patient Navigator services has been on the rise – outpacing successful recruitment of Navigators in this protracted pandemic period. Despite this, the program has managed to provide continued access to critical medical appointments for those without other resources. Click here to learn how you can help older adults access medical care as a volunteer Patient Navigator.

~ Ensuring our staff’s needs are also met so they may continue to do this vital and sometimes difficult work, as part of our ongoing Staff Well-being Initiative, on Monday, February 7, staff participated in a 2-hour workshop led by well-being coaches David Garten and Paul Sherman. The workshop, entitled “Ask What Matters?! A Practical Approach to Your Total Well-Being” brought staff together to explore approaches for effectively dealing with today’s environment and beyond. 

David Garten and Paul Sherman are the authors of Ask What Matters?! A Practical Approach to Your Total Well-Being. They have a combined legacy of more than 30 years working with individuals and organizations around the world including Fortune 500 businesses, large and small not-for-profits, faith and community-based institutions, colleges and universities, and government agencies. To learn more about their approach and program, visit: .

As you know all our important work requires an investment from the community. From you! 

Looking ahead to the coming months, we are busy preparing for our annual Seize the Dream fundraising gala at the Westin Waltham on Thursday May 5th when we will celebrate our honorees Ken and Jodi Bring and Allan and Rebecca Chasen.

I am excited to announce that, as of this writing, the following 19 restaurants and caterers have committed to attending the event and sharing with us their delicious gourmet offerings:

  1. A Perfect Taste Catering
  2. Bonapita
  3. The Buckley Kitchen & Bar
  4. Burtons Grill and Bar
  5. Copper House Tavern
  6. The Federal
  7. Ken's Steak House
  8. Larry Levine's Kosher Meat Market & Deli
  9. Legal Seafoods
  10. Liora's Catering
  11. Michael's Deli
  12. New City Microcreamery
  13. Rail Trail Flatbread Co.
  14. Red Heat Tavern
  15. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
  16. Simcha
  17. Stazione de Federal
  18. Yummy Mummy Bakery
  19. Zayde's Market

This will be a foodie feast and celebration you won’t want to miss! Join us the evening of May 5th for this exciting event and support us so that JFS has the resources to respond to critical community needs. Click here to purchase a Special Friends sponsorship today.

The contributors mentioned above are just a few of the hundreds of partners that work with JFS to serve over 7,500 people each year. We can’t do it alone. Scroll down to learn about the many ways you can get involved – from volunteer opportunities that fit every schedule to donation drives to job openings.

Every contribution has an impact. What is yours going to be?

Thank you to all who partner with JFS to accelerate social, academic and health equity in our community. It is only through your involvement and generosity that our collective impact is possible.

Lino Covarrubias, CEO
Stephanie Elkind

Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: Previous careers in restaurant and bakery industries, cooking classes, personal chef, and health and wellness coach. Board member of the Brandeis Arts Council

Education: BA Brandeis University.

After a mission trip to Israel with CJP, Stephanie became involved with Women’s Philanthropy, JF&CS, and JFS of Metrowest. Philanthropy has always been important to her family and she was drawn to JFS for its hands-on direct approach to working with local communities.

“When I learned of the Syrian Refugee Project that JFS was coordinating I knew I needed to become involved in a very personal way. One of my most rewarding experiences has been as a part of the Syrian Refugee Project - helping families settle and navigate life in a new country and being an extended family member to a wonderful Syrian family.

Volunteering in an after-school program at the Wilson School in Framingham and the Clothes Closet I also saw up-close more of the truly impactful work JFS does for so many in the Metrowest area and what a difference JFS can make. I am thrilled to be committed to an organization that reaches diverse groups of people in the greater Metrowest area and that works hard to adapt to meet their changing needs.”
Ari Freisinger

Place of Employment: Managing Partner of Liminality Capital

Education: BA from Columbia University, MSC from University of Oxford

Ari feels that JFS gives him the opportunity to have maximum impact on the community. He is inspired by the organization’s mission to make the world a better place by helping those in need, providing all different types of support to both Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community. Lastly, its passionate staff and leadership make every dollar count, allowing the organization to punch well above its weight.
Thank you to these officers for the energy, passion, and commitment they bring to the JFS Board––Learn more about the JFS Board of Directors!
Since October, JFS has welcomed 11 Afghan evacuee families (37 individuals) to the Greater Boston Metrowest Area. Our partners at area faith organizations have been essential in supporting these families as they build a new life in the United States. We are especially thankful for the teams of volunteer coordinators at each faith organization who have recruited, onboarded, and supervised large teams of volunteers.  

Thank you to: 
  • Ann Budner and Barbara Frank of Congregation Beth Elohim, Acton and United Church of Christ, Boxborough
  • Barbara Friedman and Barbara Accetta of Temple Beth David, Westwood 
  • Debbie Gotbetter of Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
  • Robert Andrews and Sarah Keselman of Temple Beth Shalom, Needham
  • Mike Wadness of Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland

We’ll be sharing a more detailed highlight of the work and the rest of the teams soon. Highlighted in the space this month are Robert Andrews and Sarah Keselman from Temple Beth Shalom. 
Rob Andrew, Temple Beth Shalom

After almost 15 years working in college access, Rob has been a stay-at-home father for his twin sons for the last seven years. 
“When I learned about the incoming crisis in Afghanistan over the summer, I thought of many of my close friends, family (including my husband) and former students who are immigrants to this country and think of my ancestors and their immigration stories.

None received the type of help and support like those being resettled by JFS. The work we are doing, side by side with the family and JFS, really gives tools for families to succeed on their own. Whenever I feel like we hit a setback or a challenge, I see their one-year-old’s smiling face and think, we’ve helped changed the trajectory of this child’s life and the tapestry of American diversity is even richer with him growing up here. These families risked so much getting on those planes and welcoming them with so much support and intentional care, puts them on a path for a much brighter future."
Sarah Keselman, Temple Beth Shalom

Sarah is a teaching assistant in the Needham Public Schools, is involved in other volunteer activities focused on racial and social justice, and enjoys spending time with her family and doing all types of puzzles.  
“By supporting refugees, JFS is developing a culture of respect and dignity for all new Americans. Since volunteering, my first-hand experience has deepened my commitment to connecting with others in my community to ensure all immigrants have access to the services and support they need to build happy, safe, and productive lives in their new home." 

Thank you, Rob and Sarah! 
In December, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation to mandate lessons on the Holocaust and other mass atrocities. The bill comes as incidences of hate and antisemitism are increasing across the country.

We discussed the bill with Robin Welch, a former JFS Board member and current Co-Chair of the JFS Committee on Anti-Racism and Fighting Antisemitism.

"There is clearly a loss of Holocaust education. It’s the same loss that goes with Black education and the histories and achievements of so many cultures. Anytime we can learn about anyone other than us, it helps our communities, and it helps the world."
Active bystanders learn how to recognize, safely deescalate, and intervene in potentially dangerous or problematic situations. Join JFS in fighting hate by attending a training to become an Active Bystander, and thank you to all who bravely stand against injustices of all kinds in our community.
Najee Nunnally

"Being an Active Bystander is important to me because I understand why it can be difficult for some to be an active bystander. An individual may be in fear of retaliation/being targeted, may not have context to the situation, feel as though they do not have the tools to be an active bystander etc.

With this understanding, I feel it is important to lean in on these inhibitors as a means of seeking solutions to enable active bystandership. Every situation is different and every person is different. The world we currently live in and have always lived in is one that will benefit greatly from greater active bystandership. We see videos online and on TV from what happens when active bystandership does not occur but we also see the benefits of it when it does occur. 
Thanks to JFS and Quabbin Mediation, I am fortunate enough to be in a position to equip individuals with actionable steps towards active bystandership."
To learn about upcoming news and events as they occur, like/follow the JFS Committee on Anti-Racism and Fighting Antisemitism social media channels, and CLICK HERE for a list of resources specific to this work.

JFS is proud to acknowledge collaborative relationships with over 100 organizations – from public to private, secular to faith-based, local to international – strategic and powerful partnerships that drive collective impact across multiple domains. It is only through our extensive network of collaborative community partnerships that we are able to serve over 7,500 people each year.

One of those partners is Jewish Vocational Services (JVS). JVS is among the oldest and largest providers of adult education and workforce development services in Greater Boston. JFS’s relationship with JVS is key to ensuring that our clients have access to expert, professional employment services that empower them to get new and better jobs so they can earn the money they need to take care of their families.

We are grateful for our longstanding partnership with JVS!

Rosemarie Coelho, LICSW
Chief of Learning, Performance, and Strategy 

With JFS since October 2014
Born in the U.S., speaks English, Portuguese, and rudimentary Spanish
Rosemarie began working in the field of mental health in 1969 at Framingham’s Cushing Hospital, then under the Direction of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and Retardation. Over the course of her half century (plus) career, she has held a number of clinical and administrative positions including Director of the A. Egas Moniz Clinic of Cambridge Hospital, Clinical Trauma Researcher at the Indochinese Refugee Clinic of Brighton Marine Public Hospital, Clinical and Executive Director of Community Counseling Center of Blackstone Valley and Vice President of Clinical and Community Services at Wayside Youth and Family Support Network.

In addition to mental health and addictions counseling, Rosemarie’s clinical areas of proficiency include cross-cultural psychology and trauma treatment. She is fluent in Portuguese and has rudimentary competence in Spanish and French. She attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Emmanuel College and a Masters in Social Work from Simmons College.

Rosemarie (better known as Rosie to friends and colleagues), has been with JFS for close to 10 years and currently holds the title of Chief of Learning, Performance and Strategy. Her key roles include overseeing the professional development of agency staff, measuring program performance and grant-writing.

“It is a singular privilege to work at JFS, not only because of the tremendously impactful work of the agency but because of the dedication, compassion and skill of JFS’ staff and leadership.”
The holiday season may be over, but the giving hasn’t stopped! Thank you, Park 9 office complex tenants, for donating winter hats and gloves to children in need.

JFS is grateful for the incredible generosity of the Park 9 tenants!
JFS of Metrowest’s Healthy Aging Initiative and NORC Program joined the Hastings House residents for their weekly Wii Bowling match. Activities like this encourage residents to leave their apartments and socialize with each other and staff. They also promote physical activity, stimulate conversation, elevate the seniors’ moods, and provide staff with more information about residents’ mental and physical health to support them better.
Earlier this week, JFS staff visited Framingham and Marlborough businesses to discuss JFS’s COVID-19 safety initiative. They distributed over 250 flyers and 70 books in an effort to make accurate, easy-to-understand vaccine information accessible to Metrowest children and parents.
Special thanks to JFS board members, Jodi Bring and Allison Kates for their efforts in replenishing the shelves at the Framingham Public Schools Resource Room. Jodi and Allison reached out to their family and friends to request new and like new donations of casual clothing for women and teenage girls.

The response was overwhelming! They each brought bags and bags of needed clothing to the JFS office, where they were joined by fellow board member, Denise Rosenblum. The three women spent the afternoon sorting and tagging items for distribution at the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet.
Recently, Viola Morse from CBT Sudbury and former JFS staff Lesley Orlinksy helped organize a gift card drive for their congregants to support the Afghan Resettlement work. Yesterday, Viola delivered over 20 gift cards and will be coming back with more.
Discussing the intricacies of the pandemic with children can be hard. We at JFS of Metrowest are trying to change that. JFS has made the Lily the Llama, a children’s book on vaccines, accessible in English, Spanish, and Portuguese with hard copies and video read-alouds, thanks to translations by our CEO, Lino Covarrubius, and Immigrant Services team! We need your help getting the word out!

Flyer display or distribution:

Website/social media feature:
  • The purpose of this project is to spread information, and where better to do that than online? Don’t worry -- we’ve done all of the writing for you! Click this link, and copy and paste the text, attach this image, and post to your social media or website! 

Hard-copy book:
  • You can purchase and distribute hard-copies of Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd by clicking here!

For more information, please contact
Click here to read about JFS's new Senior Philanthropy Associate
Kimberlee McLaughlin!
Special Friend Sponsorships are now available for the 2022 Seize the Dream Gala. Click here to learn more!
Become a Patient Navigator!
Join our Patient Navigator team and accompany older adults to medical appointments, easing the stress of the appointment for both the patient and their families.

You’ll help older adults prepare for upcoming medical appointments, serve as a companion at the appointment, facilitate communication between doctor and patient, and take notes during the visit.

Patient Navigator is a flexible volunteer opportunity that can work with your schedule! We ask you to commit to a minimum of 4 appointments per year. All appointments are during daytime hours.

Interested In Volunteering?

Please complete this short form and a JFS staff member will get back to you,
or email Gail (Manager of Volunteer Services & Community Engagement) at

JFS responds to the ever-changing needs in our community and we are continually adding new volunteer opportunities. Watch the recording of 2021's Seize the Dream, and hear directly from our volunteers about the impact they are making in the community every day!

If you’d like to support this impactful work, please donate!

Kindness begets kindness. The kinder you can be to a caregiver, the kinder they will be to their loved one. Caregiving doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Let us create a community of kindness, one act of kindness at a time.
Contact Malka Young, Director of Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions, to learn how a Geriatric Care Manager can assess your concerns, arrange services and provide critical support to ensure that you
or your loved ones are safe and cared for during the coming months. 

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

Supported by CJP, the JFS Family Assistance Network provides confidential and respectful assistance to individuals and families in Metrowest to help them meet the short-term challenges resulting from financial difficulties
Our goal is to help households remain independent and financially self-sufficient through a comprehensive array of coordinated services including case management, financial assistance and others. Learn more.
JFS Supports Our Veterans
JFS has a commitment with our partner agencies to ensure
no veteran is left behind.

Are you a veteran looking for a job? Check out these resources:

We at JFS are excited to share the Report to the Community for 2021. We are so proud of how JFS has quickly pivoted to respond to the needs of the community, as the numbers who turned for support continued to grow each day. JFS is committed to providing:

  • Support to reducing poverty in the Jewish community 
  • Safety and caring for isolated frail older adults 
  • Assistance to immigrants families, including refugees and asylum seekers 
Need to retire that old junker? Donate your car to JFS through CARS (, and skip the costs and hassles of selling a car, like paying for advertising, insurance, and repairs. Vehicle donations are tax-deductible, and you could reduce your taxable income when taxes are itemized. There is no cost to the donor. All expenses are deducted from the gross sales price.
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support JFS of Metrowest every time you shop, at no cost to you! 

When you link your regular Amazon account to AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same prices, selection, and shopping experience that you’re used to, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to JFS!
Give today and partner with JFS to improve the lives of over 7,500 people in our community each year.
Thank you to Ari, Kim, Najee, Rob, Robin, Rosemarie, Sarah, Stephanie and all who are partnering with JFS to Accelerate Social, Academic and Health Equity in our community.

Your help is needed - get involved today!
JFS of Metrowest | 508-875-3100 | |