Community Outreach Services

The Jewish Community Social Work Outreach Service (SOS) Program is a partnership of Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, Inc. and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. This innovative program was created to make a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable and under-served Jewish families in our community.

Through the SOS Program, JFSGNH and the Jewish Federation have cultivated the idea that when families are in crisis or faced with debilitating circumstances, they will have a caring and compassionate place to turn to for help within their community.

The SOS Program carries out the longstanding JFSGNH tradition of enabling an individual to help him or herself, one of the most important moral imperatives of Jewish life. Some of the services of the SOS Program include:

  • Individualized case management services
  • Helping individuals navigate community, state and federal services
  • Counseling services
  • Support groups for the unemployed and underemployed
  • Debt counseling and financial coaching
  • Resume and cover letter review and workshops
  • Job interview preparation

For more information on SOS, email Rachel Scolnic Dobin, LMSW, at or call (203) 389-5599, ext. 109.

Emergency Assistance
The JFSGNH Emergency Assistance Program benefits individuals and families in crisis who find themselves struggling to provide for their own basic needs. JFSGNH offers assistance to vulnerable and at-risk community members in the areas of food, housing, heat, electricity, transportation, clothing, 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 ongoing to ensure long-term well-being and self-sustainability. The overarching goal of this program is to help people in economic crisis to help themselves. We do so with dignity, respect and confidentiality.

Funds are generally distributed for one-time assistance to help a family or an individual to regain self-sufficiency. The following central questions are considered:

  • Is the individual willing to move toward self-sufficiency?
  • Does the individual have a realistic plan?
  • Will providing assistance help move the individual to realize the plan?

In some instances, the individual is better served in ways that do not involve the direct expenditure of funds. This may involve a referral to another community organization, such as Consumer Credit Counseling Services, a substance abuse rehabilitation facility, or a specialized program that serves the homeless.

Ken’s Closet
Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven (JFSFNH) recently launched a new program called Ken’s Closet.  This program was created in memory of the late Ken Sperling, who had a passion for JFS, as well as a clear understanding of how looking presentable positively affects self-esteem.

Through Ken’s Closet, JFSGNH will supply interview-ready clothing to JFS clients who need help navigating the challenges of the job market– with employment as their goal.  Prospective Ken’s Closet clients will be screened through JFSGNH social work programs such as: Social Work Outreach Services, Mental Health & Counseling and the Food Assistance programs.  To learn more about this program or receive information about donating professional attire, please contact Mara Ginsberg at (203) 389-5599, ext. 119 or

JFSGNH is one of just two fuel banks in New Haven for the Operation Fuel Program that provides emergency energy assistance to people in need. Operation Fuel, a member of the  National Fuel Funds Network, is a collaborative effort of staff and the hundreds of volunteers in fuel banks throughout the state that recognizes that the ever-growing energy crisis as an epidemic that attacks not only the poor and the elderly, but the young family down the street, the college student in the apartment next door, and the middle-aged couple who just experienced a layoff. JFSGNH works with individuals and families to determine if they are eligible for Operation Fuel and helps them to process all the paper work.