JFSGNH Welcomes New Mental Health Director and Aging Adult Coordinator

Alissa Wurtzel, LCSW, joins Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven as the new Clinical Mental Health Director for both the Child and Adult Outpatient clinics.  She brings with her an eclectic skill set of evidence-based treatment modalities and experience with diverse populations.  Serving the mental health and behavioral needs of Connecticut residents for the past 20 years, Alissa is most looking forward to weaving together the past, current, and future needs of the JFS community.

Experienced with individual, family, and group therapy, Alissa has worked with clients as young as 4 and as old as 107.  Alissa feels her strength is in teaching people about the impact that stressors and stimuli have on us as human beings, and she encourages individuals and groups to use their intuition and uniqueness to identify solutions.

Before joining JFS, Alissa’s specialty areas were in trauma informed care, EMDR, medical social work, Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT), and co-occurring disorders.  Alissa is grateful for previous experiences with community health clinics, children and families using animal assisted therapy, the Connecticut Army National Guard, and hospice patients and their families.  She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Connecticut.  Alissa can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 117 or awirtzel@jfsnh.org

Elanit Kayne Linder, LMSW, recently joined JFS as the Aging Adult and Community Outreach Coordinator. “I’m invigorated to be joining JFS at a time when the geriatric program is expanding as are the geriatric needs of our community. I look forward to rolling out the JFS Care Navigators Care Management Program,” Linder expressed.   In her new position, Elanit will lead this comprehensive program, which provides needs and psychosocial assessments, care planning, advocacy, linkage to community resources, weekly check –in calls and collaboration with family members. 

Elanit earned her Bachelor’s degree at TISCH School of the Arts at New York University and her Master’s Degree at Columbia University School of Social Work. Elanit’s prior older adult career experience includes assisted living memory care director, director of recreation, and clinical community liaison in various facilities.

Elainit is committed to program development that empowers individuals and communities to their best quality of life in their own vision. She is dedicated to intergenerational programming, cultivating and developing long-term partnerships while supporting clients and families.  Elanit can be reached at 203-389-5599, ext. 114 or elinder@jfsnh.org.

SOS Program Helps the Vulnerable

Through the Social Work Outreach Services Program, JFSGNH offers a lifeline to individuals/families in crisis who find themselves struggling to provide for their own basic needs. JFS offers assistance to vulnerable and at-risk community members in the areas of food, housing, utility, transportation and medical needs, to name a few.

Through a combination of social services and financial assistance, JFSGNH provides short-term stability to families to stem their immediate crises, and then works with them to ensure long-term well-being and self-sustainability. Our goal is to help people in economic crisis to help themselves. We do so while respecting the dignity and confidentiality of clients.

Services Available

One-time Emergency Financial Assistance

Basic Needs Assistance (utility, transportation, and/or food)

Help individuals navigate community, state and federal resources

Referral to JFS Mental Health/Counseling Services

Resources and Referrals

Find out if the Social Work Outreach Services Program (SOS) is the solution you or someone you love might need.

CALL Jessica Maselli 203-916-1680 or jmaselli@jfsnh.org

JFS – A long history of Post Adoption Services

Did you know that Post Adoption Services to families is one of JFS’s specialties? JFS has a long history in helping adoptive families and has experience in helping families navigate through adoption related concerns and issues. JFS professionals offer families a real understanding of what adoptive parents and their children are struggling with. They will work with children between the ages of 1 to 18 who have been adopted internationally, domestically or through DCF. They also work with young adults and even birth parents who completed an adoption plan for their child. Individuals or families who are interested in learning more should contact Hannah Leiterman at hleiterman@jfsnh.org.

Learn New Skills to Manage Emotions – Group for Girls and Young Woman/Gender Non-Binary People

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven is launching a new 10-week therapy group in March for girls, women and gender non-binary people ages 16 to 20 starting March 10th at 2 p.m. The group will provide an opportunity to connect with other young people while learning to manage emotions and stay healthy in quarantine. A different Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skill will be taught in each weekly group. The free group will be facilitated remotely and a link will be provided prior to the sessions.

The group will meet on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. beginning on March 10, 2021.  Here is the outline of the upcoming sessions.

3/10 Introduction of group members and purpose of group

3/17 & 3/24 Mindfulness skills

3/31 & 4/7 Emotion regulation skills

4/14 & 4/21 Distress tolerance skills

4/28 & 5/5 Social skills

5/12 Wrap-up

For additional information please contact Hannah Leiterman at hleiterman@jfsnh.org or 203-389-5599, ext. 114.

“Virtual” Caregiver Support Group

Do you care for a loved one or family member? Do you find yourself isolated from others because of your role? During this time of social distancing, we are launching a new Caregiver Support group “virtually.” If you are on the journey of caring for an ill or aging loved one and looking for support and connection join us online the third Wednesdays of each at 11:00 am.  Upcoming dates include:  Wednesday, November 18th and Wednesday, December 18th.    Please R.S.V.P. at mklein@jfsnh.org or call 203-389-5599, ext. 116. A link will be sent to you prior to the group date

Community’s Caregivers Group

The Towers at Tower Lane and Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven are pleased to offer a new group for
our community’s caregivers, funded by the Jewish Federation.

Do you care for a loved one or family member?
Do you find yourself isolated from others because of your role?
Join us for meaningful time together as we take a break and recharge.
Learn how to find balance in your life as you support your loved one.
Facilitated by a licensed social worker.

This group meets once a month on Wednesdays:
November 13, December 11, January 8, and February 12
5:30–6:30 pm • Kosher nosh provided

To RSVP, please contact Liz Davenport, LMSW at (203) 389-5599 ext. 117.

A Look into the JFS Counseling Program

For over 75 years, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven has successfully provided counseling to individuals and families throughout the community.  Regardless of religious background, race, or stage of life, JFS works tirelessly to get people back on their feet, leading them through difficult times and giving them the strength to carry on with their everyday lives.  Currently, JFS offers child and adult counseling and will soon offer support groups to help those facing challenges such as loss and bereavement, parenting issues and family caregivers’ support.

“Rebecca (name has been changed for confidentiality purposes) called JFS as she felt stressed and noticed that she was experiencing anxiety in every area of her life,” recalls Gayle Daskal, LCSW, a social worker on the agency’s dedicated team. “I let her express her concerns and we explored the roots of her stress and the connection it had to the increased anxiety she was feeling.  Together we worked to establish goals for stress and anxiety reduction. Rebecca learned mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and began using meditation applications such as The Calm App and Insight Timer between her weekly sessions.  With these newly acquired skills and her commitment to practice these techniques, Rebecca found effective ways of coping and managing her stress, which in turn helped her anxiety symptoms in everyday life.”

Although all cases are different, Rebecca is a great example of what the agency strives to provide to anyone who reaches out.  “At times, we all need guidance and change begins with a phone call,” commented Director of the Mental Health Clinic, Margaliet Ligtenstein, LCSW.  “It is very fulfilling to help people work hard toward their goals and thrive again in their everyday lives.”

In recent months, JFS has received requests for such services as parenting teens and support for family caregivers of the elderly.  To this end, JFS plans to offer Jewish Family Life Enrichment (JFLE) Programs addressing these needs in the community.  Please see accompanying program information.

If you or a loved one can benefit from JFS’ services, reach out by calling (203) 389-5599 ext. 105 or email ml@jfsnh.org.  You can also visit the agency’s website at www.jfsnh.org to stay up to date on new support groups.

Find additional program information here: Family Life Enrichment Fall 2019

Help is Always Available

With the recent tragedies in Parkland, Florida and Newtown, CT, we remind our community that help is available. You are not alone! Please refer to the links below:

Crisis Resources

  • For a life-threatening situation, dial 911 immediately.
  • For a crisis or in case someone is experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts dial 211in CT.  Outside of CT, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
    1-800-273 TALK (8255).
  • If someone is uncomfortable talking on the phone, she/he can also use the crisis text line by texting 741741 or use the Lifeline Chat online at: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat

Informational Resources

JFS Licensed Mental Health Clinicians are available for non-crisis counseling. Please call Shelly Bheer, LCSW, Mental Health Clinical Director at 203.389.5599 ext. 114 or email at sbheer@jfsnh.org.

 

May Bereavement Support Group to Meet on May 8th and 22nd

Finding Comfort and Support:
A Jewish Bereavement Group

The loss of a loved one is felt differently by different people. Some who are grieving want extra support when times get more difficult, especially before holidays, but also at any time of year.

The Jewish Wellness & Healing Center at JFS has started a bereavement group. This group is an opportunity to receive peer support from individuals who have experienced something similar so you can cope a little easier.

The April meetings are scheduled on Tuesday, May 8th and Tuesday, May 22nd. Each group member will get the opportunity to verbalize their feelings and receive appropriate feedback from other group members and the facilitator.

Rabbi Fred Hyman, Ed.D, Director of Pastoral Counseling of the JFS Jewish Wellness and Healing Center, who has many years of experience as a congregational rabbi and as a mental health clinician, will facilitate this group.

The group will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the JFS office 1440 Whalley Ave. New Haven.

If a bereavement support group might be of help to you, please know that you are welcome to attend.

For more information and/or registration, please contact
Rabbi Fred Hyman at 203-389-5599, ext. 135

March Bereavement Support Group to Meet on March 12th and 26th

Finding Comfort and Support:
A Jewish Bereavement Group

The loss of a loved one is felt differently by different people. Some who are grieving want extra support when times get more difficult, especially before holidays, but also at any time of year.

The Jewish Wellness & Healing Center at JFS has started a bereavement group. This group is an opportunity to receive peer support from individuals who have experienced something similar so you can cope a little easier.

The March meetings are scheduled on Monday, March 12th and Monday, March 26th. Each group member will get the opportunity to verbalize their feelings and receive appropriate feedback from other group members and the facilitator.

Rabbi Fred Hyman, Ed.D, Director of Pastoral Counseling of the JFS Jewish Wellness and Healing Center, who has many years of experience as a congregational rabbi and as a mental health clinician, will facilitate this group.

The group will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the JFS office 1440 Whalley Ave. New Haven.

If a bereavement support group might be of help to you, please know that you are
welcome to attend.
For more information and/or registration, please contact
Rabbi Fred Hyman at 203-389-5599, ext. 135