It can be so darn frustrating! Our Jewish community has so many resources at its fingertips to help people in need, and yet we still struggle to connect up those who need with those who can help.
That’s why I was so charged up at a gathering of the West Valley Caring Community coalition of three synagogues (Congregation Or Ami, Shomrei Torah Synagogue and Temple Aliyah), three Jewish community helping organizations (Jewish Family Service, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, and JVS – Jewish Vocational Service), and the Jewish Federation.
We met over a simple yet profound idea: that synagogues are gateway institutions tied to their communities with access to significant constituencies while the Jewish service organizations are pros at helping but need access to the constituencies that they are designed to help. Thus was born a poignant partnership called “Caring Community,” designed to place a Jewish Family Service social worker in these synagogues 4 days a week (rotating daily between the three).
Having had significant success with our synagogue/JFS social worker Elenna King, we tackled Phase 2: expanding the Caring Community partnership to include Bet Tzedek and JVS. How thrilling to be able to open the synagogues up as places where the community can come for help!
Whether you are a synagogue member or not, we are here for you.
- Contact our social worker Elenna King directly and confidentially (818-854-9760 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Contact a participating rabbis directly and confidentially for a referral (through orami.org, shomreitorahsynagogue.org, or templealiyah.org)
- Contact the synagogue offices and ask for contact information for our social worker.
Then you and the social worker can call or meet to explore how the Jewish community can help. She has so many resources at her fingertips, including direct lines into a Bet Tzedek legal counsel and a JVS (Jewish Vocational Service) counselor, both dedicated to work with this Caring Community coalition.
What you talk about with this social worker is totally confidential. In fact, unless you sign a consent form, the social worker will not even share with the rabbi or synagogue that you in fact talked or met. Because we care more about connecting you up. Moreover, if you are uncomfortable meeting in your own synagogue, you may set up your meeting at one of the other synagogues.
So getting down to brass tacks (tachlis, the details). Here are a few of the ways that the Caring Community program can help.
The Jewish Family Service Social Worker can help with:
- Aging Parents (first steps, finding good home help, searching board and care facilities)
- Appealing Disability Claims
- Children with Special Needs
- Divorce and Family Issues
- Domestic Violence Resources
- Drugs and Alcohol Addiction Resources
- Family members with Mental Illness
- Grief Counseling
- Home Foreclosure
- Legal Referrals
- Navigating support systems for
- Financial Issues
Emergency Cash Grants
- Other Counseling and Counseling Resources
- Parent Support Referrals (classes, groups, resources)
The Bet Tzedek Legal Services Caring Community Project Attorney can help with:
- Consumer issues
- Elder Abuse
- Elder Law
- Employment rights
- Estate Planning – Wills
- Government Benefits
- Holocaust Reparations
- Referrals for: Immigration and Family Law issues
JVS Caring Community Counselor can help with:
- Career Assessments
- Interview Skills
- Job Changes
- Job Searches
- LinkedIn Advice
- Online Job Application Processes
- Out of Work
- Professional Networking
- Resume Writing
- Salary Negotiation
Start by contacting our Social Worker Elenna King.
Remember: We all need help sometimes. Now Caring Community makes it easy – and personal.
So take a chance. Make a call (or send an email). Getting help should be that simple!
By the way, the Caring Community is funded by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Good works take the support of a whole community.