News

CEO of Jewish Family Service to Retire

November 19, 2021

by MiriYam Judd, Shalom New Haven Writer 

Amy Rashba  first  walked  into  the  Jewish Family Service  (JFS)  offices almost  three  decades  ago—a  27-year-old social  work student  two years into  her  master’s  degree  at Southern  Connecticut  State  University. She was an intern, just  there  for  her  field  placement.  Now, over  35  years later, she  is finally walking out. 

Rashba’s  commitment  and  dedication  to  the  Jewish community of  Greater  New Haven  cannot be understated.  In her  time at  JFS, she  has headed  a number  of  initiatives, from  the  mental  health  program  to  the  aging  adult   program.  Rashba is best  known for  her  work with adoptions, having  run  and   transformed  the  infant  adoption program  during  her  years with the  organization. “One  of  my favorite  things I did here  was start the  Stars of  David program,” Rashba  said, referring  to  the  social  group  for  Jewish families  brought  together through  adoption.  “It’s  a really  incredible,  beautiful  thing to see,  families who have adopted  all coming together  to  celebrate  each  other. It means a lot for  a child to look  around  the  room  and  realize,  ‘I’m not the  only  one  with a family like  this.” 

Even  though  Rashba  hasn’t  run  the  adoption  program  since her  appointment  as CEO in 2018, she  still receives  cards,  photographs  and  updates  from families she  worked  with. But programs  and  initiatives  pale  in comparison  to  what some describe  as Rashba’s  most  important  contributions  to  JFS. 

“When I think about  Amy running JFS these  past  several  years,” said Heni Schwartz, a social  worker  at  JFS since 1986,  “the  thing that  jumps out  at  me  the most  is the  word, caring. Caring for  the  agency’s  health  and  vibrancy, caring for the  clients  that  we  serve, caring for  the  staff, caring for  the  Jewish community, and caring for  the  community  at  large.” 

Schwartz noted  Rashba’s  eagerness  to expand  programs to  serve  more  people  in need  and  her  receptiveness  to the needs  of  any given  population  among  her  most  impressive accomplishments during  her  time at  JFS. “We  were  lucky  to have her,” Schwartz said. This was a common description of Rashba among  her  coworkers. 

Sydney Perry, former  CEO of  the  Jewish Federation  of Greater  New Haven, explained the  difficult  position one  is in when they go from  being someone’s coworker to their superior. Rashba worked at JFS for nearly 30 years before being named CEO in 2018, interrupted  only  by two short moves to Israel in the early 90’s. Rashba, Perry explained, handled this transition with grace and poise. 

“It’s a tough situation to  be  in, the  switch from being someone’s colleague to being their boss,” Perry said. “But it wasn’t tough for Amy, because people always knew they could trust her. She has so much humility and empathy, and she always wants to listen to what people have to  say. She is a natural leader.” More than just a leader, Perry explained, Rashba has always been and will always be  a social worker at heart. 

“No matter  her  role  at  JFS, leader  or  not, Amy was always a social worker. She always cared,  she  was always so  dedicated,”  Perry explained.  “She never  let ego  get in the  way of  her  work. And  she  brought  great  people  in to  help her, because  that’s  what  great  leaders do.  Even  when she’s not there, they will be.” 

Ilene  Rosalimsky Bronen,  who serves  as president  of  JFS, explained  the  profound  impact Rashba has had  on the community  and  the  legacy  she  leaves  as she  departs. “Amy identified the need  for and started  the  Shalom Group in 1987. She was responsible  for  leading our  Adoption Program. The positive  and  emotional  impact  on  these  families will  continue,” Rosalimsky Bronen  said. “Her  leadership as CEO exemplifies integrity and a work ethic which we  are all grateful  for. She has been a passionate advocate for JFS clients and our  programs,  and  we will miss her very much.”

As  Rashba’s  time at  JFS comes to a close, her gratitude and impact on the Greater New Haven Jewish community only continues  to grow. “My entire  professional  career has been  spent  at  JFS,” Rashba  explained. “I was 27 and unmarried.  All sorts  of  amazing  life  events  have  occurred during  my time here. When I think about  the career  I was able  to  have  at  JFS, I will  be forever  thankful, to both the  people I worked with and  the  people who came to me for help. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime.”


 

Hadassah Magazine – Living on the edge of food insecurity

The November/December 2021 Issue of Hadassah Magazine features an article that mentions the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Food Pantry. Reporter Cathryn J. Prince’s “I Never Thought I’d be Needing This” – Living on the Edge of Food Insecurity explores food insecurity nationwide and visited the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Food Pantry to talk about its food assistance program.

BLOOMIN’ 4 GOOD BOUQUETS TO BENEFIT JFS DURING NOVEMBER!

Throughout the entire month of November, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven’s Food Pantry will receive a $1 donation for every $10.99 Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquet with the red circle sticker purchased at the Stop & Shop located at 112 Amity Road in New Haven. It’s a great month to purchase a bouquet to show “Thanks” to family or friends, or as pick me up, or just because. Flowers can make someone’s day, spread smiles and brighten up a room. Now they can feed the hungry, too! It’s as simple as that! The Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets with the red circle sticker are located in the floral section of the store or you may ask the Amity Stop &Shop Florist for assistance.

Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets Benefit JFS During August!

Throughout the entire month of August, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven’s Food Pantry will receive a $1 donation for every $10.99 Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquet with the red circle sticker purchased at the Stop & Shop located at 112 Amity Road in New Haven. Purchase a bouquet as a pick me up, a thank you, or just because. Flowers can make someone’s day, spread smiles and brighten up a room. Now they can feed the hungry, too! It’s as simple as that! The Bloomin’ 4 Good Bouquets with the red circle sticker are located in the floral section of the store or you may ask the Amity Stop &Shop Florist for assistance.

School Supply Drive For Families in Need

JFSGNH is collecting new school supplies for children and teens (between the ages of 4-17) whose families use our agency services.  Items currently needed include:   one-subject, wide ruled notebooks; Multi-subject  notebooks (both wide rule and college rule):  two-pocket folders; No. 2 pencils; pens blue or black; child safe scissors; colored pencils; child safe pencil sharpeners; water based markers; white glue sticks, erasers; loose-leaf notebook paper; construction paper; highlighters, etc. Donations may be dropped off at the JFS Food Pantry, 1440 Whalley Avenue on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.  If you are an organization, business or school and you would like to conduct a collection to assist us, please contact shagan@jfsnh.org or call the Pantry at 203-397-0796.  Please note that in September we have days off for the high Holidays. We highly recommend calling the Pantry to make sure someone will be there or to schedule a drop off day and time. Thanks in advance for helping our kids to get ready for a great school year ahead!

Journey Through Grief Virtual Support Group – New Day and Time!

If you are an older adult who is grieving the loss of a spouse or significant other and would like support and guidance at this time, the Aging Adult Program at Jewish Family Service would like to help. Our virtual support group will meet on Zoom the second and fourth Monday of every month at 1:30 p.m. Come talk about what you are experiencing in a supportive and safe environment. If interested, please reach out to Andrea Joseph, LCSW at ajoseph@jfsnh.org or 860-800-9494.  Upcoming dates are – August 9thand  23rd; September 13th and 27th; October 11th and 25th

Mental Health Post COVID – We’re Here for You

As restrictions are lifted, we are hearing more about the effects of the past year due to social isolation, unemployment/economic losses, working from home while caring for children/other family members and personal health issues.   According to Psychiatric Times these stressors contributed to the fact that 40.9 % of adults surveyed reported at least 1 adverse mental or behavioral health issue related to the past year.  Of these adults, more than 30% reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. These symptoms won’t just go away when restrictions lift. Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression can have lingering effects – especially without intervention.  JFSGNH can help you emerge from the past year of fear, anxiety, panic and isolation.  Currently, JFSGNH has openings in both our Children’s and our Adult Outpatient Mental Health Clinic  We have a sliding fee scale and can even work with those who are unable to meet their deductible.  Give us a call today at 203-389-5599, ext. 115 to start your journey toward wellness.  

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

Caring, Compassionate Counseling for Adults, Adolescents and Children

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven is now accepting new clients into its Mental Health/Counseling Programs.   If you or someone you know has concerns or is struggling with any of the issues below, give us a call today.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Child Rearing or Parenting Concerns
  • Divorce or Separation
  • Trauma Related Issues
  • Couples Counseling
  • Post Adoption Counseling
  • Loss and Grief

There is no wait list.  JFS accepts most insurances and offers a sliding scale for those without insurance.  All ages, religions, ethnicities, LGBTQ and backgrounds welcome. 

Call 203-389-5599, ext. 115 and begin your journey toward wellness today!

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.