Free Summer Meals

If you have a school-aged student or know someone who does who will be in need of breakfast and lunch this summer, simply text “FOOD” to 877877 and receive a message back with a location closest to where they can get free summer meals. You can also log in to and type in a zip code and it will list the locations in the immediate area. Even if you aren’t in need, someone else’s kids are. No child deserves to go hungry, ever.

Daskal and Caplan Recognized as CCFSA Family Champions

The CCFSA Board

JFS is proud to congratulate Mental Health Clinician Gayle Daskal, LMSW, and Board President Linda Caplan on receiving the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies (CCFSA) Family Champions Award on Wednesday, May 22nd at the New Haven Lawn Club. Each year, the CCFSA recognizes a staff member and a board member from each of their participating family service agencies.  Both Gayle and Linda are well-deserving of this honor, and below you can find a little bit about them, as well as the reasons they received this award.


Gayle Daskal, LCSWMental Health Clinician

From left to right: DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, CEO Amy Rashba, LCSW, Mental Health Clinician Gayle Daskal, LCSW, Foster Care Manager Elaine Benevides, LCSW, and PPSP Team Leader Margaliet Ligtenstein, LCSW

When it comes to the definition of “Can Do,” Gayle Daskal’s name is embedded in the definition.  Gayle joined the JFSGNH staff three years ago as a per Diem clinician for the Permanency Placement Services Program. It was here that Gayle found herself performing therapeutic supervised visits with parents and children, providing clinical recommendations to DCF and the courts, and helping to stabilize pre-adoptive placements for children in the foster care system. She also showed her creative side while making Life Books for children within the DCF system of care and working with pre-adoptive families.  During the past three years, Gayle has shown that she is a hard-worker, is very reliable, and especially sensitive to client’s needs. She became a full time staff member one year ago.  As with any state funded program, contracts and programs themselves change and Gayle rolled with the changes and stepped up to create a new visitation program for families.  She has also taken on many new responsibilities including working with Holocaust Survivors in the Greater New Haven Area and meeting with clients for individual therapy sessions in the JFS Mental Health Clinic, including the child-parent psychotherapy.  Through the changes, Gayle has never lost her smile and cheerful disposition.  She is an inspiration to clients and JFS staff alike.

Gayle graduated with a Bachelors in arts from the University of Connecticut in 2012.  She earned her Master’s in Social Work, with a concentration in Clinical Social Work, Child Welfare, and Jewish Communal Service from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in 2015.  She graduated as a member of the Phil Alpha Honor Society for Social Work: Tau Epsilon Chapter, and was awarded the Student Government Peer Mentor Award upon graduating as well as the United States Department of Health and Human Services – Yeshiva HRSA Grant Trainee for clinical practice with high risk adolescents.  She is trained in Child-Parent Psychotherapy, and the Circle of Security-Parenting Program.

Linda CaplanBoard President

President Linda Caplan with her husband Mark, and CEO Amy Rashba

Linda Caplan is an extraordinary and dedicated leader of the JFS Board.  She has worked tirelessly to help guide JFS in a very strong and positive direction.

She has unlimited passion, humor, and integrity and has a strategic vision that will greatly benefit JFS in the future.  Linda is an inspiration to our entire board and staff.

Linda became involved with JFS in 2013 as a volunteer in the JFS Food Pantry.  She joined the JFS Board of Directors in 2015.  Linda was named President of the Board in 2017.

Linda received her BS in Economics from SCSU and MBA from UNH.  She launched her first career working in procurement for large industrial companies.  She left the business world to raise her three children.  As Matt, Hanna and Leah went through the K’Tanim program at Temple Beth Sholom, Linda started her second career as a pre-school teacher.  Linda eventually retired from teaching and was able to more fully focus on volunteer roles with various organizations, including Hamden Hall and the Jewish High School of Connecticut.

Linda began her affiliation with JFS as a volunteer in the food pantry.  She later became a founding volunteer in the Food4Kids program, which provides nutritious weekend food for more than 350 New Haven children at risk of going hungry.  Linda lives in Wallingford with her husband, Mark, and a very pampered poodle, Martini.

From left to right: DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, LMSW, CEO Amy Rashba LCSW, Mental Health Clinician Gayle Daskal, LCSW, Board President Linda Caplan, and CCFSA Board President Barry Simon

JFS in Need of Foster Parents

At any given day, there are over 4,000 youth in Connecticut in need of a home, and the number will continue to increase as foster families dwindle. These youth, who lack the nurturing relationships that is crucial to their development, deserve an equal opportunity at a successful life, and sometimes their only hope is the love and care of a foster family. As National Foster Care Month arrives, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven desperately seeks families and individuals of all backgrounds who are interested in providing the necessary care for a youth in need.

Foster parenting is not for everyone, but we believe that if more people spread the word regarding our mission, then it would help us find more families; those who have the time, care and patience it takes to parent one of these youths. There are families and individuals out there who have lots of love to share. We just need you to help us reach them.

Although they might not show it, every youth that is placed in our program needs a solid support system. It is our goal to place these youth in a stable home, so we will work with you every step of the way. We get to know all of our families prior to placement, and ensure that the needs of the youth match the strengths of your parenting style. We provide extensive training, and our case workers are on call ready to assist in urgent situations. The stipend supports household stability, so that we can help create a bright future for these deserving individuals.

If you would like to hear more about the program, attend an informational session, or have someone you would like to refer, please reach out as we look forward to your correspondence. Contact our Foster Care Team Leader Elaine Benevides, LCSW, at 203-389-5599 ext. 115 or People of all religions, races, sexual orientation or cultural backgrounds are welcome to apply as the youth come from varied backgrounds.

Thank you,

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, Inc

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:

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


Jewish Family Service to Honor Past Presidents and Launch Expansion of Aging Adults Program at Annual Spring Celebration

Living comfortably and independently as we age is something we all aspire to for ourselves and our loved ones. Jewish Family Service (JFS) works tirelessly serving the aging population in our community and assisting their family members and friends. However, more help is needed.  With a focus on empowering the individual, the Agency is developing a more comprehensive aging adult program to further meet the needs of this growing population in our community. But JFS cannot do it alone!

Kicking off this initiative is the JFS Spring Celebration to be held on Thursday, June 13th. The event will honor all 18 JFS past Board presidents who have had a great impact on our local community and who fully support the expansion of these vital services.  Those being honored are: Darcy McGraw Altman, Charlotte Brenner, Rabbi Gerald Brieger*, Richard Epstein, Jack Fast, Betsy Fiske, Cindy Papish Gerber, Steve Jacobs, Ivan M. Katz, Beverly Levy*, Moses M. Malkin*, Frederick S. Moss*, Herbert S. Newman, David Ottenstein, Hilda Podoloff*, Linda Randell, Carol Robbins, Rosalyn Sperling, Marvin Teplitzky*, Mary Lou Winnick, and Peter Zackin.

(*Of Blessed Memory).

As an individual’s physical strength and mental acuity decline, this complex part of life requires constant attention to well being.  “As an adult with an aging parent, I am acutely aware of the demands of caring for a parent and other aging family members. Grief from loss, managing chronic health issues, social isolation, depression and anxiety are very real issues that can be difficult to navigate alone,” notes Peter Zackin, Past President.  Often, family members must provide assistance to their loved ones. However, this level of care is not always feasible or affordable. Many times, families are unaware of and overwhelmed by the myriad of services available to help their loved ones. This increased need for comprehensive case management is the impetus behind the agency’s expanded initiative and is critical in assisting families in managing these transitions.

Aside from case management services, individuals may need emotional support.  “When I lost my husband of 52 years, I didn’t know where to turn.  Thanks to the professionals at JFS, I’ve learned to cope with my grief and I am starting to enjoy the things I used to do again,” recalls a woman who continues to utilize the Agency’s services.  JFS believes everyone should receive this type of care and emotional support so that individuals can live happily and comfortably. JFS licensed clinicians and case managers work diligently to develop individualized care plans and coordinate the essential services.

The need in the community is high, and in order to provide services to all who require them, JFS must grow its aging adult services. JFS social worker Liz Davenport, LMSW states We do try to help everyone that seeks our services; however, sometimes we are forced to prioritize those individuals with the greatest needs. The demand from the community for elderly services is growing, and we want to ensure that everyone receives quality care in a timely manner.”

In order to achieve the agency’s objective of developing its Aging Adult Program, it requires expanding the current social work program.  Chief Executive Officer, Amy G. Rashba, LCSW, articulates that the agency’s goal is to hire a full time licensed clinical social worker who is solely focused on the aging adult population.  As the baby boomers age, the need for case management will only continue to increase, and we want to make sure JFS is fully prepared to meet and exceed the community’s needs.”

For more information about the event, you can visit  We hope you can join us for the Spring Celebration to support our efforts to provide care for our aging adult community. For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Rachel Scolnic-Dobin at (203) 389-5599 ext. 109. In addition, if you or a loved one needs support or assistance, please call Aging Adult Case Manager Liz Davenport, LMSW, at (203) 389-5599 ext. 117.

JFSGNH Announces New CEO

Amy G. Rashba, LCSW, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven (JFSGNH). “We are thrilled that Amy has accepted this leadership role,” says Linda Caplan, JFSGNH Board President.  “Her energy and devotion to JFS is inspiring.”

Rashba’s career at the agency began in 1986 when she came to JFS as a MSW student.  Shortly after joining JFS, Rashba developed the Shalom Group, offering educational enrichment and social interaction to developmentally disabled Jewish adults.  During her 30-plus years with the agency, she has created new programs, helped families adopt children and provided counseling services throughout our community to children, families and aging adults and takes great pride in directing both the adoption and mental health programs. “Having spent my entire professional career here, it’s a privilege to lead JFS, an agency I am passionate about,” says Rashba. “I’m grateful to the staff and Board for their support and look forward to many years of collaborating on the future of our beloved JFS.  I am humbled to have made a difference in the lives of those in our Jewish community.”

“Amy’s ability to develop and cultivate relationships with staff, board and community makes her a natural to lead JFS”, says Caplan.  “She has a unique combination of approachability and positivity and is well-respected by clients, peers and community members.”

Rashba’s local Jewish roots run deep.  A Hamden native, she attended the New Haven Hebrew Day School, and her father owned the renowned Glick’s Delicatessen in New Haven.  She and her husband Steve were married at B’nai Jacob and their children attended local preschools- daughter Ilana at Yeladim, and son Jordan at Temple Beth Sholom.  The family has been members of Temple Beth David of Cheshire for over 20 years.

A summa cum laude graduate of Quinnipiac College, Rashba earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) at Southern Connecticut State University. Upon being named CEO, she said, “It is my honor to be leading the amazing staff at JFS who all work hard every day to provide quality services to our community- protecting children, creating families, feeding the hungry and healing hearts.”

Amy Rashba looks forward to bringing more awareness of JFSGNH’s many programs and services to the Greater New Haven region.

To contact her:



JFS Launches Ken’s Closet Program for Community

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven (JFSGNH) is excited to launch a new program called Ken’s Closet, clothing for men and women. This program honors the memory of the late Ken Sperling, who had passion for JFSGNH, as well as a clear understanding of how looking presentable positively affects self-esteem.

Through Ken’s Closet, JFSGNH will supply work-ready clothing to clients who need help navigating the challenges of the job market — with employment as their goal; in addition to other life situations/circumstances. Prospective Ken’s Closet clients will be screened through JFSGNH programs such as Social Work Outreach Services, Mental Health & Counseling and the Food Assistance.  To schedule an appointment with a social worker, please contact Rachel (ext. 109) or Liz (ext. 117) at 203-389-5599.

Stay Home During the Food4Kids Non-Event Fundraiser

You can Stay Home in Support of Food4Kids New Haven this November!  Food4Kids is hosting a “Non-Event” fundraiser this month allowing you an evening to do whatever you like.  We hope this evening will include a donation to this vital kids feeding program.

Food4Kids New Haven provides weekend supplemental food to 354 children in the New Haven school system.  For as little as $211, you can sponsor one student for a full academic year.  To sponsor a child or to make a donation to this program, please click here.    Be sure to choose Food4Kids in the drop down menu on the donation page.

JFS Honors Adoptive Families During National Adoption Month

JFS honored adoptive families on Sunday, November 4th at the JCC in Woodbridge as part of National Adoption Month. JFS Adoptive families were treated to family friendly activities including the play scape, rock wall, crafts, games and an ice cream party!  The event was organized by Liz Davenport, MSW, and Marissa Gonsalves, JFS Student intern.  Pictured are just some of the fun events during this celebration.  National Adoption Month is recognized each year as a time to acknowledge and celebrate families formed through adoption. It is a time to encourage others to adopt and increase awareness of the adoption process.  For more information about the JFS Adoption Program, please call Liz Davenport, MSW, at (203) 389-5599, ext. 117.