Making Connections
Dear Friend,

When you enter our building in Waltham, you immediately see the words, “Everyone has a purpose in life. Ours is to help people find theirs.” During this pandemic, part of our work at JF&CS has been to both sustain and restore a sense of purpose to people whose lives have been upended. Let me share a few examples.

  • For many people in our community, “purpose” comes from their work and providing for their family. The pandemic has caused unprecedented unemployment and forced many businesses to close down. JF&CS is helping people address the economic crisis, with both compassion and practical assistance. We are providing emergency financial assistance for rent and utilities and emergency groceries through Family Table. At the same time, we are helping clients access government benefits, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

  • More than 120 clients with intellectual disabilities participate in our Day Programming and Employment Services, where they build a sense of pride, purpose, and independence. Without in-person meetings, we worried that our clients’ skills would backtrack and that they would, in turn, lose hope and connection. Instead, our staff has met with our clients every day by phone and over Zoom to continue to nurture a sense of purpose and community.

  • There is perhaps no greater sense of purpose than a parent’s connection to their baby. During this period of social isolation, new parents are at greater risk of depression, insecurity, and loneliness. JF&CS staff are connecting to new parents across the state, individually and in support groups, to provide emotional sustenance and practical parenting advice, enabling families to have a healthy start even during these challenging times.

  • “Purpose” is inextricably linked to a sense of health and well-being, but these are times that are testing our collective mental health. JF&CS offers a wide array of support groups and programs to support mental health in the community. And we are connecting with individuals and synagogues to make mental health resources available without barrier or stigma.

I could go on and on, but the point is clear: this is a time of communal stress and communal need. It’s a time when JF&CS’s services are more critical than ever.

Thank you for helping us support everyone in our community as they find their purpose, even in these challenging times.

Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer
Over 150 People Attend JF&CS Seminar on Transracial Adoption
Since the tragic killing of George Floyd, the call for racial justice and an end to systemic racism has made U.S. headlines on a daily basis. For those who work in adoption, however, talking about racism and racial trauma has long been essential to their work.

At JF&CS Adoption Resources, many of the prospective parents we work with are open to adopting a child outside of their own race. “Transracial adoption is something we talk about during the home study process,” explained Betsy Hochberg, Director of Adoption Resources. “A social worker will explore the concept with prospective parents and discuss the unique challenges and responsibilities that transracial adoption can bring.”

Interest-Free Loan from JF&CS Helps Local Flower Business Bloom During COVID-19
“I didn’t expect to start a business this year,” said Rebecca Remis. “But when the pandemic happened, it was actually the right time to make one of my longer-term dreams a reality.” After the public health crisis upended her plans to work on a flower farm in Western Massachusetts, Rebecca decided to launch her own sustainable floral design company on the North Shore.

Named after Rebecca’s maternal grandmother, Birdie’s Blooms sources flowers from nearby farms to create stunning bouquets. With a background in sustainable farming and floral design, Rebecca had the knowledge and connections she needed to start her new venture. The only thing she was lacking was capital to grow her business.

JF&CS Convenes Synagogues for Workshop on Mental Health Needs
On June 25, representatives from more than 20 synagogues participated in a virtual workshop hosted by the JF&CS Caring Communities Resource Network (CCRN). The Zoom workshop focused on how synagogues can address mental health needs during the COVID-19 crisis. “Mental health is not restricted to the outpatient clinic,” explained JF&CS’s Mary Curlew. “Having protective factors like an understanding and supportive community in place can significantly improve one’s mental and holistic health, especially during times of heightened stress.” Mary shared strategies for supporting congregants who are struggling and also detailed the mental health resources JF&CS can provide.

Sue Spielman, the CCRN manager, sees the value of communal sharing of experiences and information. “Synagogues are places of deep caring, and yet each congregation can sometimes feel like an island,” said Sue. “Members really appreciate the opportunity to learn from each other as well as from professionals in the field.” Founded in 2007, the CCRN is a program of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing at JF&CS.
Join Family Table for the Ride for Food - Off the Beaten Path
JF&CS Family Table is excited to once again participate in the Ride for Food, an annual fundraiser organized by Three Squares New England. The money we raise from the Ride supports Family Table as we provide groceries to the growing number of families in Greater Boston facing food insecurity.

This year, the fundraiser is called “ Ride for Food - Off the Beaten Path.” Instead of just cycling, participants can now choose any independent activity they'd like to raise money for our food pantry. You can ride a bike, hike, run, swim, read books, or even bake cakes...the possibilities are endless!

Our goal is to raise $50,000 for Family Table by October 4. Registration is just $25 and there is no fundraising minimum. Please join our Family Table team or donate to a team member today! Thank you so much for your support! | 781-647-JFCS (5327)
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