Caring for Generations

JF&CS News Fall 2010

Welcome Letter from Sy Friedland, CEO

Sy FriedlandDear Friend,

As the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year, draws near it is common to reflect on the past year and look towards the beginning of a new year. Even if this is not a religious occasion for you, the fall and it’s association with the beginning of school makes many people think about beginnings and what the coming months will bring. At JF&CS, each fall we also assess our goals, take note of challenges ahead, and create a vision for the future so we can continue to serve those who need our help.

Each year brings new families and individuals who are struggling through personal crises and difficult situations. They rely on JF&CS to be their safety net. We help feed a hungry family; help a young adult with disabilities find a home and meaningful work; send friendly visitors to lonely seniors; support new mothers and their infants; and provide emergency assistance to help a victim of domestic abuse move to safe, affordable housing.

With your help and the generosity of all our volunteers and donors, we support almost 30,000 people in 80 Greater Boston communities with personalized and compassionate care.

Whether this is a New Year for you, or a beginning of some sort, I hope it brings you and your family peace and wellness. I hope you enjoy this recipe for a Potato and Apple Galette with Sage at a special meal shared with loved ones.


Seymour J. Friedland, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Potato and Apple Galette with Sagegalette

5 tablespoons warm melted butter (or non-dairy margarine)
1 6- to 7-ounce Golden Delicious apple, peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 teaspoons minced fresh sage
3 6- to 7-ounce russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Fresh sage sprigs

Place rack at lowest position; preheat oven to 450°F. Brush 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Line bottom of pan with parchment; brush parchment with 1/2 tablespoon butter. Place apple slices, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon minced sage in small bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Place potatoes, remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons minced sage in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Arrange 1 layer of neatest potato slices in concentric circles in prepared pan, overlapping potatoes in outermost circle (this will become top of galette). Top with second layer of potatoes. Top with apple slices. Cover with remaining potatoes. Pour over any butter from bowls used to toss potatoes and apple. Bake galette until potatoes are tender when tested with tip of sharp knife and top is beginning to brown, about 1 hour. Remove galette from oven. Turn out onto 9- or 10-inch tart pan bottom; peel off parchment. (Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat broiler. Broil galette until top is golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer galette to platter. Garnish with sage sprigs. Cut into wedges; serve.

Recipe source:

Symposium Offers Creative Approaches for Everyday Living with Alzheimer's

On October 29, JF&CS will host a free, half-day, interactive symposium for professionals and caregivers. Jointly sponsored by Your Elder Experts - Safe at Home and the Geriatric Institute, and in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association, this symposium at JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham will present current developments in research and practice that offer new ways of understanding and engaging people with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer's currently impacts over five million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death. With advances in healthcare and medications, people can live 10, 15, or even 20 years with Alzheimer's, creating new challenges for the over 10 million unpaid caregivers dealing with the disease.

Although Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by multiple losses - of memory, relationships, and familiarity - people with Alzheimer’s have many abilities that do not diminish over time. Caregivers can have meaningful relationships and lively interactions with those for whom they care every day. This symposium is for family caregivers, for staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, for everyone who interacts on a daily basis with someone with Alzheimer’s.

The keynote address by Dr. John Zeisel, President of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care and author of the book I’m Still Here: A Breakthrough Approach to Understanding Someone Living with Alzheimer’s, will provide inspiration and practical knowledge as he describes pathways to experiences that capture creativity and meaningful relationships with people living with Alzheimer’s. There will also be a panel of experts who will offer perspectives on new ways researchers and practitioners are recognizing the potential and expanding capabilities of people living longer with this disease.

Karen Wasserman, LICSW, Director of Your Elder Experts, the JF&CS Geriatric Care Management program, and one of the symposium panelists, emphasizes that while the caregiving relationship is ongoing, it is made up of moment to moment interactions. Previous strategies may not work, and caregivers need multiple resources to be able to respond in the moment. What looks like distress and agitation may in fact be boredom, loneliness, or physical discomfort.

“This symposium is for people in the trenches. We hope they will leave with inspiration and with practical and affirming tools for helping their residents and family members.” said JF&CS Geriatric Institute Project Manager Kathy Burnes, MEd.

The morning will conclude with a choice of interactive workshops that target specific strategies to use in day-to-day living and working with someone with Alzheimer’s, including the use of emerging web-based technology, Alzheimer’s coaching, and engaging with the arts.

The program is made possible with the generous support of Lisa and Stephen Lebovitz, former JF&CS president, who helped establish and continues to support dementia care at JF&CS. The symposium builds on the success of the first conference two years ago, dedicated to the memory of Lisa’s mother Gilda Goldstein, who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

Stephen and Lisa are committed to providing support for families caring for those with Alzheimer’s. Stephen said, “We saw through my grandmother and my wife’s mom that it’s really hard on the family when they have to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.”

Stephen added, “There are a lot of misunderstandings and lack of information about how to care for someone who has Alzheimer’s. Education and outreach like this symposium are very important. When we were going through it we didn’t have this resource available. I encourage people to come, meet others, ask questions, and gather the information that’s out there.”

Thank you to our generous sponsors: HouseWorks, Johnson Compounding & Wellness Center, Philips Lifeline, and Cohen and Oalican.

For more information, please contact us at or 781-693-5051.

Young Families Program Wins Award and Grant

Healthy Families, a program of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support®, has won the Home Visiting Award from the Children’s Trust Fund for excellence in providing weekly home visits to participants.

For the past 11 years, Healthy Families has been helping young mothers and fathers ages 14 to 20 raise healthy children and create stable families. We connect them to a network of services that address their needs from peer support to housing and nutrition to employment and beyond.

Program Manager Sue Green said, “This award is due to home visitor tenacity. Weekly visits are important because we have to build relationships first before we start working on issues. Our home visitors are dedicated to providing the best service possible every week.”  

Participants receive intensive home visiting services, beginning during pregnancy up to the child’s third birthday, to help prepare for the birth and address the challenges of raising a child as a teen. Home visitors work with these young families to promote parental wellness; improve education, job, and life skills; encourage optimal child health and development; reduce subsequent teen pregnancies; and reduce child abuse and neglect.

Scheduling and completing weekly visits can be difficult but are vital to create relationships based on trust and to build the momentum needed to solve a myriad of issues. The program received the award, based on home visit completion rates and the percent of participants seen weekly, after leading the state for several quarters.

In other great news, Healthy Families was awarded the Children’s Trust Fund grant to continue serving the west suburban area. The six-year grant awards approximately $275,000 to the program each year.

The program currently serves a large area that includes 22 towns, from Needham to Littleton up to Lincoln and Concord. With this new grant the program has expanded to include the cities of Cambridge and Somerville.

Sue said, “The addition of these two cities enriches our program tremendously. It’s exciting for us to be able to serve more families with greater cultural diversity.”

Learn more

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.

Making Camp Possible

Michal* is a hard-working mother of two active girls who grew up in Israel and immigrated to the United States in 1986. One of the fondest memories of her childhood was attending beautiful camps on the Mediterranean Sea each summer. She had always hoped her daughters would be able to enjoy the same experiences.

But when her divorce was finalized in 2005, she received no child support, and her dreams of sending the girls to camp were dashed. Michal said, “It was something I wished for them but I didn’t think I could make happen.”

Happily, she learned about the JF&CS camp scholarship program and received enough aid to send both girls, ages 10 and 11, to overnight camp for four weeks in upstate New York. There the girls will enjoy sports, swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, overnight trips, campfires, and Shabbat with a special emphasis on Jewish roots and traditions.

Michal’s girls were two of almost 60 children who received scholarships this year as part of this very successful program to provide low-income families with the funding they need to send their children to camp. This year JF&CS distributed almost $20,000 in scholarships.

Tali Cook, Director of the Center for Family Assistance, said, “The importance of the camp scholarship program cannot be stressed enough. These camps not only have a cultural and spiritual impact, they play a crucial role in preventing further poverty as well.”

Sending a child to camp can have a positive influence on the whole family. Camp helps many children maintain, and in some cases create, a Jewish identity while strengthening these children’s ties to their local Jewish communities.

And having their children supervised in a healthy and constructive environment allows low-income families to work full-time during the summer months, crucial in the current economy in which one paycheck can stave off poverty and even homelessness.

Brenda*, a recently divorced mother of five, was left with no savings, income, or work experience when her marriage fell apart. She fought hard to provide for her family and found a job in a preschool. A few months later, however, she broke her leg and had to leave her job.

JF&CS prevented a dire situation by providing financial assistance so that Brenda and her family could avoid eviction and sent her three youngest children to camp for the summer so she can recuperate quickly and get back to work.

Brenda and Michal have been able to provide for their children and create more stable lives with the help of JF&CS. Michal gratefully added, “I wouldn’t be able to make it without JF&CS. This is a great opportunity for them to learn to be more independent. It’s a good experience.”

Back to School Drive

This fall JF&CS equipped 110 happy children with their very own backpacks, school supplies, and $25 gift cards. The Back to School Drive is an extension of the camp scholarship program that began when JF&CS discovered many of these same families have significant needs for school supplies and clothing. With the cost of supplies reaching $50 or more per child, these backpacks are a practical and fun way to help children in very low-income families of all faiths served by the Center for Family Assistance.

For more information about Back to School or Camp Scholarships, contact Tali Cook at or 781-647-JFCS (5327).

Learn more

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Summer Fun for People with Disabilities

In June, 16 men and women gathered around a campfire in Western Massachusetts, singing songs, toasting s’mores, and enjoying a starry evening outdoors. It was a typical scene for many, but for these campers it was far from ordinary.

Each participant is a resident of the JF&CS Supported Housing program for people with disabilities. Our housing program serves individuals with developmental disabilities, chronic and persistent mental illness, autism, and other disabilities. Despite these challenges, the campers enjoyed three days of boating, swimming, fishing, and crafting in the Berkshires.
The outing was just one of many JF&CS organizes throughout the year with the generous support of donors who give event tickets, supplies for group activities, and helping hands. Breanna Robinson, Assistant Director of Residential Services and Sandy Slavet, Director of Disabilities Resource Network, coordinate a variety of outings and events.

Residents have enjoyed trips to the beach, apple picking, bowling, movie nights, Jewish walking tours of Boston, and excursions to places such as Plymouth Plantation, York Beach, ME, and Portsmouth, NH.

Breanna recalled one of the most moving moments of the camping weekend. A young man with autism, on his first overnight trip with JF&CS, was persuaded to join the others singing around the campfire. Breanna said, “He was singing with a huge smile on his face – he lit up – and everyone was cheering and clapping for him. It was wonderful.”

In another highlight of the summer, two clients attended a Red Sox game with donated tickets. Like any other Sox fans, the clients were extremely excited to walk into Fenway, enjoy a Fenway frank, and cheer on the Sox!

These recreational outings are fun, therapeutic, and relaxing and are just as important to residents as the life skills they learn from JF&CS staff. They also offer a sense of community for many who feel isolated by their conditions. Sadly, while these adults have common interests, they’re not always accepted into other groups, or they lack the income to be able to afford fun activities.

Even for those with financial resources, simple logistical hurdles can be daunting -- finding transportation, ensuring a location or activity is handicapped accessible, or arranging for a staff person to accompany them.

Breanna said, “Recreation makes all our lives more fun. Part of the happiness for our clients is the pure enjoyment of being able to do something they never thought they would.”

Going to the beach with friends or treating yourself to a pedicure may seem like a simple treat, but for some it isn't possible without help. If you have tickets to a sporting event or show or would like to share another kind of activity with a JF&CS client, please contact Breanna Robinson.

Learn more

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.

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