We are well into the 2020 summer and, my, how our lives have changed! We usually approach summer with great anticipation: the end of the school year, barbecues with friends, swimming at the beach, the kids going off to camp.
This year, unfortunately, our reality is different. Many of us have been home, some with our kids, some not, for months. There’s been no exciting transition from school and work life to a summer break. Our community (and the world) is still fighting COVID-19 and we are all feeling the effects.
On Tisha B’Av (the 9th of Av), when we mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, it is customary for many to fast so that they can truly experience the anguish of loss. Sadly, this year, many around us have already lost so much… loved ones, jobs, the ability to provide food for our families. Whether we fast or not, whether it’s Tisha B’Av or any other day, it is important to think about those in our community who experience deprivation, mental illness or isolation all the time.
Please peruse this newsletter, check out our website, and follow us on facebook, instagram and linkedin. For those of you who need help and for those of you who want to help, we are here for you. I am personally grateful to, and so proud of, the JFCS staff, leadership and volunteers for their compassion and commitment to the welfare of our community.
I wish you all a very meaningful Tisha B’av and every day.
Please be well,
We are so proud and excited to welcome our new president, Rachel Scheff. Rachel has been a part of the JFCS family for over 7 years and has been an asset and a leader from day one.
“It is with great honor and humility that I step into this new role,” Rachel said at the annual meeting, “I’ve been blessed with learning the lessons of Jewish traditions and values, philanthropy and volunteerism throughout my life from my parents and grandparents. Taking the time and seizing the opportunity to help another matters; it matters a lot.”
Rachel said that she hopes that others prioritize supporting and volunteering with JFCS as it is vital to the community's well-being, “I hope my passion will become your passion, I hope JFCS becomes your cause.”
Welcome Rachel, we know that JFCS will grow and succeed with you at the helm.
You can reach out to Rachel at RachelS@jfcsnnj.org
Zoom Support Groups
JFCS offers a number of virtual support and bereavement groups that bring together individuals who have common experiences and help them work through their grief, anxieties, and concerns. Due to the pandemic, we have seen a sharp increase - over 20% - in psychotherapy appointments.
Many of our clinicians have received feedback indicating a need for JFCS to form groups dedicated to COVID-19 losses. “As a community mental health agency, it is our job and our mission to be responsive to the needs of the community. Right now, we have heard that those needs include support for people who have been affected by COVID-19.” said Jessica Fleischer, Chief Operating Officer at JFCS.
Allison Limmer, LCSW, our Director of Clinical Services has already seen how effective these groups are: “Our COVID-19 groups have reduced isolation by instilling a sense of not being alone while connecting and processing unique experiences.”
COVID-19 support groups have been meeting weekly over zoom for six sessions each. Some groups focus on adults who have lost a spouse/partner or parent to COVID-19. A separate group works with health-care workers and first responders. “Attendance is strong, but that is because this is a time where people need connection, and they find strength and value in talking to people who understand their experiences firsthand." explains Jessica. JFCS welcomes requests for different categories of counseling groups.
For more information, visit jfcsnnj.org/groups.
Our COVID-19 support groups were featured in the Jewish Standard.
Click here to read: "This is a time when people need connections" by Abigail Klein Leichman.
JFCS’s Wolff Caregivers groups have been meeting virtually 3 times a month over zoom since the beginning of the pandemic. The support groups bring together caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia to swap tips and to seek comfort from one another. The responsibilities involved in caring for someone with these debilitating diseases are many and take a real toll on caregivers.
In response, and to offer additional support to this population, JFCS has put together a series of virtual events with a focus on self-care. Titled “But who takes care of YOU?” each session will focus on teaching caregivers to do something positive for themselves.
Our kick-off Zoom event will be held on Monday, July 27th at 7pm, and will be led by Nancy Siegel, MA, an educational consultant whose topic is “Taking care of YOU during challenging times.” The coronavirus has affected many families and individuals in a variety of ways, but caregivers have been especially isolated due to health concerns and have been bearing the brunt of the care for their loved ones without a break. Nancy will teach participants to extricate themselves mentally from their current situations and, by using a series of methods, including practicing mindfulness, to find some reprieve.
JFCS Wolff Caregivers is planning to hold a monthly Zoom series until the end of 2020. Session topics will range from Cooking for Caregivers, Spirituality for Caregivers during the High Holidays, and Positive Psychology. All sessions will be led by experts in their fields. Stay tuned for future Wolff Caregivers event announcements.
Register at jfcsnnj.org/caregivers to get the zoom link.
Show someone that you care for them, while supporting JFCS's essential work, by buying Tribute Cards from JFCS.
A pack of 10 cards and envelopes is $180 and goes towards ensuring that JFCS can continue to provide programming and services.
Questions? Call 201-837-9090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org