Throughout the entire month of June, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven’s Food Pantry & Food Assistance Program 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 honor the graduate, celebrate Pride, 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 near the greeting card aisle or you may ask the Amity Stop &Shop Florist for assistance.
Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven Names Alissa Wurtzel New CEO
May 31, 2022
The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven is delighted to announce the appointment of Alissa Wurtzel as their new CEO.
For the past twenty years, Alissa has spent her professional life improving the social and emotional welfare of individuals and families, most recently as the Clinical Director at Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven. In that role, Alissa is leading the agency’s implementation of a new electronic health record system and has reimagined and restructured a number of critical programs serving the most vulnerable in the community. Working with the agency’s leadership team, Alissa has helped ensure their post-pandemic roadmap includes enhancing timely and accessible services for seniors, Holocaust Survivors and their caregivers, those struggling with mental health issues, those in need of emergency assistance, food and/or housing support.
During her career, she has worked as the Director of Psychological Health for the Connecticut Army National Guard as well as a Senior Clinician with Community Health Center Inc. Before joining JFS of Greater New Haven, Alissa worked as a medical social worker for the Hartford Health Care Hospice Program, empowering families with the education, materials, and access to spiritual, religious, and cultural supports they needed to care for their loved ones at the end of their lives.
A Connecticut native, Alissa earned both her BA and Master’s Degree at UCONN. At school, throughout her career, and now at JFS of Greater New Haven, Alissa has worked diligently and passionately to ensure equity and inclusion are cornerstones of her practice and that people of diverse backgrounds, especially those who are traditionally underserved, feel welcome and supported whenever accessing and receiving care. Please feel free to welcome Alissa personally at: email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
JFS Names Brian Prousky Interim CEO
Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Brian Prousky as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Prousky will use his expertise to guide the agency through this transition of leadership and post pandemic renewal.
Most recently, Brian was the Executive Director of Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto. In this role, he was instrumental in developing programs and partnerships that improved the lives of vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families. Brian passionately represented the agency, its service users and the broader community on various local, national and international forums, including on the Board of Directors of the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies. He solidified the agency’s financial position while expanding programing to serve emerging needs. This included reimagining and rebuilding the agency’s poverty reduction program so that it contained a constellation of holistic supports built around the Social Determinants of Health, achieving quality outcomes for those who, quite sadly, experienced all the deleterious impacts of poverty.
In 2020, the agency was recognized internationally with a best practice award for its service delivery in this area. Most notably, Brian built an organizational culture that was transparent and collaborative – one that was open to renewal, re-imagination, agility, adaptability, all of which served the agency well during a time of great uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
Prior to leading Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto, Brian was the Director of Services at the Durham Children’s Aid Society and York Region Children’s Aid Society, two large child welfare agencies.
Brian was a founding member of the Durham Region Intimate-Partner Violence Empowerment Network (DRIVEN), a collaborative, collocated program (involving seven on-site partner agencies) serving women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
Brian was also a founding member of the Regional Adoption Program for the Children’s Aid Societies of Durham, Kawartha Haliburton and Highland Shores. From 1999-2015, Brian delivered province-wide training to child protection managers in the areas of Risk Assessment, Differential Response, Performance Management and Transfer of Learning. Brian has a particular interest in organizational change management, both from a strategic and cultural perspective.
Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in leading change management processes where staffing and financial resources have been redeployed to increase sustainability and enhance service delivery.
Brian may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JFS CHANGES LIVES – FRIENDS CAMPAIGN 2021
CEO of Jewish Family Service to Retire
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 email@example.com 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!