Making Connections
Your Monthly Update on Our Work and Impact

In a few weeks’ time, many of us will celebrate Passover. We will tell the story of gaining freedom from slavery in Egypt, only to then face 40 years of wandering in the desert, searching for a way home. During these pandemic days, I've sometimes felt as though I'm still wandering.

We hear from JF&CS clients that there are many moments when they feel as though they are still wandering, too: When a parent is diagnosed with dementia, and they don’t know what will unfold. When a child is struggling with a mental health challenge, and they don’t know where to go to get them help. When inflation means they can’t afford both rent and gas that month, and they don’t know where to turn.

One of the core components of our work at JF&CS is what we call “wayfinding.” Our Information and Referral team staffs our phone and email five days a week to help people access the resources and advice they need. We specialize in mental health, older adults, people with disabilities, and economic insecurity. We can also connect you with resources on a variety of other challenges.

I hope you’ll enjoy the collection of stories we share below about helping people find their way, and that you’ll remember too that JF&CS is here when anyone in our community needs guidance.

Happy Passover!

Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Looking for a Haggadah for your Passover Seder? The Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing at JF&CS created "The Wandering is Over Haggadah" which includes translations in English, Hebrew, and Russian.
Last year, JF&CS professionals spoke to almost 1,200 callers seeking mental health supports alone – plus hundreds more seeking guidance across our other areas of expertise.
Jon & Wendy's story:
Figuring out the next steps
for aging parents
Allen Linden with his son Jon
Jon & Wendy Linden
with Allen
Jon Linden’s parents, Allen & Adina, lived in the same house in New Hampshire since 1967. Allen worked as a Chinese history professor at UNH and Adina taught elementary school art. Jon's dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and his disease progressed to a point where they couldn’t live on their own.

“She’s healthy and he’s not, and we need a plan,” said Wendy Linden, Jon’s wife. “What do we do? So, I thought I should call Jewish Family & Children’s Service. I remember sitting in the parking lot in the car when I got to work in the morning. The woman at JF&CS stayed on the phone with me for half an hour. She was incredibly compassionate. She gave us information based on our situation about the different types of supportive settings we could consider. She mentioned 3-4 places where they could live together until he got worse and then move him to a memory care unit. You’re trying to make these big decisions when you’re so emotional. She just distilled it down to something we could handle. It really helped us get on the right path.”

Jon and Wendy called JF&CS again some years later as Allen’s disease worsened. “Alzheimer's is such a cruel disease because whatever you do, you’re never sure you’re doing the right thing,” said Jon. “It was validating and grounding to have a knowledgeable voice just really listening to our particular situation.”

Allen died two years ago, and Adina is still living at the retirement community in Needham that they moved to from New Hampshire. She runs art classes for residents and occasional Shabbat services.
Jennifer & Peter's story:
Navigating the options for
an adult child with disabilities
Jennifer* and her adult son Peter* called JF&CS confused about how to help Peter. For a long time, Peter has experienced anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Now, his social anxiety and executive functioning issues were making it hard for him to keep a job.

“The staff at JF&CS discussed therapy options and educated us about many more resources, including Social Security Disability Income and vocational help through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission,” said Jennifer.

“We learned that JF&CS also offers a program called Disability Lifespan Solutions that pairs families experiencing mental health issues with a family navigator to help advocate for services and access benefits. A family navigator was exactly what we were looking for and didn’t even know it.” 
Melissa's story:
Finding financial support for
a new mom in crisis
We recently received this note from a community member named Melissa* who called JF&CS on behalf of a neighbor:

“There is a member of our community who is going through a difficult time. She is trying to raise two children, including an infant, on her own without access to a bank account or financial support. To complicate matters, she was in the process of getting a green card through marriage but does not know her status. A group of us in town have banded together to help her, but we were not sure how to obtain resources.

Someone from CJP connected me with a woman from JF&CS. She shared the comprehensive programs JF&CS offers. When we spoke, it was the end of her workday, but she still made sure I had all the information I needed and gave suggestions that were helpful to other women who had experienced similar situations. She generously offered that I could call back any time to ask further questions. The sincerity and care came through so strongly and made me feel that we were on the right track in getting this woman the help she needs.”
Watch this brief, inspiring video on our work to help people navigate the challenges of aging
CJP SeniorDirect is the information and referral line run
by JF&CS and funded by CJP.
Ben & Norma's story:
Receiving guidance and
enabling others to receive it, too
Benson and Norma Shapiro were introduced to JF&CS Services for Older Adults when they were interested in learning about senior living options.

“We met with Karen [Wasserman, Director of JF&CS Your Elder Experts], and she helped us understand the entire process as well as the landscape. We are planners and although we do not expect to move into independent housing for another five to ten years if we’re lucky, it was incredibly useful,” says Ben. “After that, we increased our donation to JF&CS, even though we paid for this service, because we thought we got much more value than what we paid for.” Ben and Norma are now legacy donors to JF&CS by making a gift in their will.

“The work of JF&CS improves life for everybody, both the recipient and the donors and everyone else. You are creating an enormous amount of good across religious and socio-economic class boundaries.”
Create your JF&CS Legacy today.
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