As a follow up to last week’s letter to the editor from Rabbi Clifford Kulwin of Temple B’nai Abraham (“Debt of gratitude”), Jewish Family Service of MetroWest would like to join in thanking the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for its generous funding support of the JFS Synagogue Social Work Consultation Service, established over three years ago, which is now a network of eight MetroWest area synagogues each with a dedicated JFS social worker and each with their own funding commitment toward the social work position.
We extend a special “thank you” to the rabbinic and lay leadership of AABJ&D of West Orange; Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex, Caldwell; Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael , Springfield; Temple B’nai Abraham, Livingston; Temple B’nai Jeshurun, Short Hills; B’nai Shalom, West Orange; Temple Ner Tamid, Bloomfield; and Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange for their participation as members of the Consultation Service and for the passion they bring to extending the range of what is available to their synagogue members.
Together, these synagogues identified a need to address the ever-changing lifecycle transitions which leave many synagogue members struggling and alone. Together, with JFS social work staffers, they are providing transformative support in concrete and meaningful ways and have impacted over 4,000 individuals in just over three years. They put aside any denomination differences to sit at one table to develop programs and services that respond to a wide range of populations and challenges. Together, they are extending what is traditionally thought of as synagogue membership to most adeptly address the mental health, as well as the spiritual health of their congregants.
We are most grateful to the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey for their funding partnership which has allowed us to pilot this innovative service and are honored to do so each day with a team of dedicated social work staff and partnering synagogues.
Reuben D. Rotman, executive director
Jewish Family Service of MetroWest