JF&CS Newsroom

Welcome to the JF&CS Newsroom. Learn the latest news through press releases, archived videos, local news coverage and our own eNewletters.

Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies to Host Annual Conference in Atlanta

NJHSA logo online footer 320x202Join the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies, the leading voice for the Jewish human service sector, for their Annual Conference this March at the Grand Hyatt in Atlanta.

This year’s theme: ACHIEVE! Excellence in Person Centered Care, is designed to help Jewish human service agencies achieve their highest potential by providing
the unique forum that connects
colleagues from all over North
America and Israel.

Conference goers will learn best and groundbreaking practices on program development, find innovative ways to build organizational capacity, explore management and lay leadership issues, discover ways to collaborate with The Network and, most importantly, have fun while you do so.

This year’s Conference is in your backyard, Atlanta, Georgia. Reconnect with professionals and lay leaders from Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta, Jewish social service agencies in Georgia and the Network, the go-to resource for advocacy, best practices, innovation and research, partnerships and collaborations!

The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies was formed in May 2017 when two leading Jewish services associations – the Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies (AJFCA) and the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services (IAJVS) – joined forces.

The Network is an international membership association of more than 140 nonprofit human service agencies in the United States, Canada and Israel. The goal: to strengthen agencies so they can better serve their communities through a full range of human services, for the Jewish community and beyond, including healthcare, career, employment and mental health services, as well as programs for youth, families and seniors, Holocaust survivors, immigrants and refugees, persons with disabilities and caregivers.

Interested in the Conference? The Network is addressing Crisis Response and Jewish Poverty through two interactive plenary sessions. Attendees will address how to handle a crisis in your community and/or support others experiencing crisis response as well as work to advance efforts in addressing the challenging and growing dynamics of Jewish poverty.

Deborah Lipstadt, American historian and professor, best known as author of the books Denying the Holocaust, History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier and The Eichmann Trial, will close the Network’s second annual Conference. Participate and learn more for $300. Learn more here.

Membership in the Network brings agency’s professional and lay leadership and their community’s immediate access to cost-saving resources and best practice interventions specifically designed to extend an agency’s capacity to serve those in need. Learn more about becoming a member of the Network here.

30th Annual Havinagala To Be Held at College Football Hall of Fame

Benefit Raises Money for the PAL Program

havinagala committee
ATLANTA, Ga. — Jan. 8, 2019 —Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) Atlanta will host Havinagala to support its PAL Program on Sat., Jan. 26, 2019 at the College Football Hall of Fame. The benefit raises money for the Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program, which provides one-on-one mentor relationships for children who could benefit from extra time with a trusted adult.

PAL serves a diverse range of families, including: single-parent households, LGBTQ+ families, military families, children raised by guardians other than their parents, and siblings of children with developmental disabilities. Big PALs are Jewish young professionals carefully matched with children to help build confidence, self-esteem and a Jewish identity.

The College Football Hall of Fame is this year’s presenting sponsor, as well as the PAL Program sponsor for 2019. This year’s event chairs, Marni & Daniel Bekerman, Brian Meyer and Jodi Seligman are very excited to have the benefit in the football-themed event space just one week before the Super Bowl is hosted in Atlanta. Coordinating with the theme, attendees are encouraged to dress to match their favorite teams’ football colors.  

“The party will take place on the 45-yard indoor football field, and when attendees upgrade to the VIP ticket, they get to enjoy the Chick-Fil-a Fan Experience too. At the event, they can kick a field goal, toss a football, play corn hole, enjoy drinks and refreshments, play to win fantastic prizes and more,” said Marni Bekerman, co-chair of Havinagala. “It really adds so much to an already fun-filled event.” 

The event will be held Sat., Jan. 26 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm at the College Football Hall of Fame (250 Marietta Street NW Atlanta, GA 30313).

General Admission Tickets are $60 online at Havinagala.org or $70 at the door. VIP Tickets are $100 online or $110 at the door. In addition, there will be a sober mixologist crafting non-alcoholic beverages provided by the HAMSA (Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse) program of JF&CS.

The VIP upgraded ticket includes a private bar and access to the Chick-fil-A Fan Experience where guests can enjoy:

• Play to win games including three raffle tickets 
• Fight Song Karaoke 
• Make a pick at the interactive ESPN College Game Day Desk 
• Virtual Face Painting 
• Real-time play calling
• 360-degree Virtual Reality Experience of famous moments in sports history 

Fantastic raffle prizes are still coming in, but prizes include vacations, wine, fitness memberships, sports tickets and restaurant gift cards. 

This year’s platinum and gold sponsors include Perennial Properties and Jeckil Promotions. Atlanta Fever, Button-It Up, Lyft and Onsite Audio Visual are in-kind sponsors. Please contact Jacqueline Papilsky for Sponsorship opportunities at 770.677.9361. Visit Havinagala.org for more information or to purchase tickets.

"Choosing to be a Havinagala co-chair has been more than just helping to plan an amazing event. By supporting the PAL program through Havinagala, I get the unique opportunity to help children who can benefit from a special mentor relationship. I have had the chance to see what that means to a family and how it can help impact a child's life in the best way," said co-chair Jodi Seligman.

About JF&CS

Jewish Family & Career Services Atlanta is dedicated to making hope and opportunity happen for the metro Atlanta community. Established in 1891, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers programs and resources to help improve the quality of life and build self-sufficiency for individuals and families in greater Atlanta.

Our vision is a community of empowered lives; our mission, making hope and opportunity happen. JF&CS serves thousands of individuals annually regardless of age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. For more information about our entire array of services, please call 770.677.9300 or visit JFCSatl.org. The main office is located at 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Atlanta

Partnership Creates Hope and Opportunity for Adults with Disabilities JF&CS Atlanta and Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe Sandy Springs

ATLANTA, Ga., December 2018, —Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) Atlanta has partnered with Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe in Sandy Springs to provide workforce opportunities for adults through their Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services, Supported Employment Initiative.  

Taziki’s Cafe is committed to hiring individuals with disabilities through The HOPE Project, an initiative dedicated to helping students with disabilities and at-risk youth flourish.

The HOPE Project aligns with JF&CS’s strategic goals and mission of making hope and opportunity happen through their Supported Employment Program, which provides the services needed to help employers and individuals with disabilities find each other and meet each other’s employment needs.

The JF&CS program aims to support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The program follows a person-centered approach to ensure those with disabilities have a hand in directing their services and a voice in choosing their own destinies.

“We deeply value this partnership with JF&CS to support The HOPE Project with amazing individuals who are so diligent and committed to doing the very best job possible,” said Melissa Stripling, Taziki’s Café, Sandy Springs. “We’re teaching our other employees to see how adults with disabilities live and how, if you invest just a little time in them, they are wonderful, hard-working co-workers.”

The Sandy Springs restaurant has also indicated interest in purchasing herbs grown in the organic Giving Garden located at JF&CS’ Chamblee headquarters. The garden is tended by adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and volunteers, and is also used as a space for education and therapeutic activities.

“Our vision is to offer a variety of enrichment activities so that our clients might experience a good quality of life, and opportunities to integrate into the community by providing them with developmental supports, a social network, employment and even a means of transportation,” said Melissa DaSilva, Director of Intellectual and Development Disabilities Services, JF&CS. “Partnerships like this with Taziki’s Café are vital in assisting adults find meaningful work that utilizes their greatest talents and abilities in a supportive environment.”

To learn more about the JF&CS Supported Employment Initiative, visit jfcsatl.org. To learn more about The Hope Project, visit wegrowhope.org.

About JF&CS
Jewish Family & Career Services Atlanta is dedicated to making hope and opportunity happen for the metro Atlanta community. Established in 1891, Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) offers programs and resources to help improve the quality of life and build self-sufficiency for individuals and families in greater Atlanta. Our vision is a community of empowered lives; our mission, making hope and opportunity happen. JF&CS serves thousands of individuals annually regardless of age, race, religion, national origin or ability to pay. For more information about our entire array of services, please call 770.677.9300 or visit JFCSatl.org. The main office is located at 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Atlanta.

Melissa DaSilva Named Director of Intellectual and Development Disabilities Services Of JF&CS Atlanta

The Shalom Bayit tree was planted in memory of victims of domestic violence and in honor of the brave survivors who received help from our program.ATLANTA, Ga., Oct. 24, 2018, —Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) Atlanta named Melissa DaSilva its new Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services. In this role, DaSilva will champion efforts to support adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and their family caregivers. The program follows a person-centered approach to ensure those with disabilities have a hand in directing their services and a voice in choosing their own destinies.

“Melissa will play a vital role in further developing and executing the vision of our Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services,” said Faye Dresner, Chief Program Officer and interim CEO at JF&CS. “That vision is to offer opportunities for these adults to build on their abilities and to integrate into the community by providing them with developmental supports, a social network, employment and means of transportation.”

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services at JF&CS includes:

  • IndependenceWORKS, which offers a day program, evaluations, prevocational assessment and support, and job coaching so adults with disabilities can find and maintain work that utilizes their greatest talents and abilities.

  • Supported Employment Program, which provides the services needed to help employers and individuals with disabilities find each other and meet each other’s employment needs.

  • The Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program, a highly individualized, person-centered supportive living program that enables people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

  • Alterman/JETS Transportation, which provides transportation for both seniors and adults with disabilities to and from work, doctor or other appointments, social outings, shopping or other destinations.

DaSilva brings more than a decade of management experience to JF&CS having worked at the intersection of health care, housing and workforce development for sustainable communities. She began her career as a clinical nurse manager at Dekalb Medical Center. With a clinical background and passion to serve communities in need, she pursued a path of business development for areas and organizations needing it most. Before joining JF&CS, she served as the Director of Behavioral Health Safety Net for the state of Tennessee, Deputy Director for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and Chief Innovation Officer for Detroit Central City Community Mental Health Inc.

Having begun her career in Atlanta, DaSilva looks forward to giving back to the city by helping JF&CS explore opportunities and partnerships that align with the organization’s strategic goals and mission of making hope and opportunity happen.

DaSilva earned a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from Hunter College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pace University and a Master of Science in Educational Policy Studies from Georgia State University.

May this year be different: A Yom Kippur prayer for Shalom Bayit (Peace in the home).

The Shalom Bayit tree was planted in memory of victims of domestic violence and in honor of the brave survivors who received help from our program.The following prayer of healing and renewal was created in the spirit of Yom Kippur, 16 years ago, by women and men impacted by abuse and involved with our Shalom Bayit Program.

I share these words to support survivors, to acknowledge that abuse occurs within our community, and to affirm that abusers are responsible for their actions. I invite every reader to take some action toward ending domestic violence and all types of abuse.

May these words strengthen our commitment to bringing about true shalom bayit (peace in the home) O merciful and loving G-d, as we gather together in Your house on this, the holiest of days, we feel repentant, alive, and deeply conscious of our past actions. We open ourselves to You as with sadness we face this truth: at times this past year we have acted cruelly.  Some of us have abused our power and used control to hurt our spouses, our intimate partners, our children, our parents.  Others of us too often looked away, preferring not to see or speak out against abuse in our homes or in the homes of those we know and care about.  We have been afraid to interfere.

Today, O G-d, we pledge that we will no longer allow injustice to reign in our homes or in our community. We will not stand by silently and will find ways to contain our rage and our need for power and control.  In an effort to create change, we will seek counsel from our rabbis and other trained professionals. This day, O G-d, as we pray for renewal and redemption, we promise ourselves, each other and you that we will support shalom in all homes.  May this year be different.  Amen.

If you or anyone you know is suffering abuse of any kind, please know you are not alone.  Contact Shalom Bayit at 770-677-9322 or shalombayit@jfcsatl.org for information about confidential counseling or for more information about our programs for both adults and children. Wendy Lipshutz, LCSW, Shalom Bayit Program Director

PHOTO: The Shalom Bayit tree was planted in memory of victims of domestic violence and in honor of the brave survivors who received help from our program.

Jewish Family and Career Services Announces Leadership Changes

Jewish Family and Career Services Announces Leadership Changes; Existing CEO Stepping Down, Chief Program Officer Named Interim CEO

ATLANTA, September 4, 2018 - As Rick Aranson has announced he is stepping down from his role as CEO, we wish him well and are grateful he has agreed to consult as needed. Faye Dresner, current Chief Program Officer, will assume the role of interim CEO while the Board of Directors identifies new leadership.

“Faye has been dedicated to JF&CS by previously serving as a Board member, as well as in her current role of Chief Program Officer. We have great confidence in her ability to lead the Agency’s important and impactful work as we conduct our search for the new leadership,” says Michael Levy, JF&CS President of Board of Directors.