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JF&CS Blog

Angela Tucker
July 14, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

Angela Tucker
Angela Tucker, an internationally-recognized adoption educator, led a virtual workshop hosted by JF&CS.

Since the tragic killing of George Floyd, the call for racial justice and an end to systemic racism has made U.S. headlines on a daily basis. For those who work in adoption, however, talking about racism and racial trauma has long been essential to their work.

At JF&CS Adoption Resources, many of the prospective parents we work with are open to adopting a child outside of their own race. “Transracial adoption is something we talk about during the home study process,” explained Betsy Hochberg, Director of Adoption Resources. “A social worker will explore the concept with prospective parents and discuss the unique challenges and responsibilities that transracial adoption can bring.”

As couples prepare to adopt, Adoption Resources offers educational materials and workshops that address the complex reality of transracial adoption. “We want to support parents as they learn and think deeply about these issues,” said Betsy.

Virtual Workshop with Angela Tucker

Adoption Resources recently hosted a virtual workshop titled “Can You Support or Participate in Transracial Adoption AND Fight Racial Injustice?” The workshop was led by Angela Tucker, an internationally-recognized adoption educator who is also a Black transracial adoptee. “We were so fortunate to partner with Angela for this event,” said Deb Shrier, Associate Director of Adoption Resources. “She is an expert at facilitating insightful conversations about difficult subjects.”

Angela spoke about how the voices of transracial adoptees are often overlooked in white-dominated spaces. Drawing upon her own experience and research, Angela educated attendees about common issues related to transracial adoption, shared strategies for responding to adoption-specific micro-aggressions, and led a discussion on how to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for adoptees.

Eighty-five couples participated in the Adoption Resources workshop on Zoom. Approximately half of the attendees were pre-adoptive parents, and the other half were already parenting a child of a race other than their own. All of the parents who attended shared an interest in learning how they could handle tough questions and support and advocate for their children.

“I appreciated Angela’s honesty and the way she addressed issues about racial conflict within a transracial family,” said one of the parents who attended the workshop. “Hearing it from her, although it was difficult, helped me to understand some of the challenges my child might encounter growing up as a Black son of a white mother.”

Ongoing Education

Participation in transracial adoption requires a lifetime commitment to learning, growing, and advocating for social change. The Adoption Resources team continues to consult with colleagues in the adoption community and other experts to increase their knowledge of adoption and race.

“Many of our families are looking for anti-racism resources right now,” said Deb. “We have been recommending books, articles, and videos that share the lived experiences of Black people and transracial adoptees. Centering these voices is key as we work to change society and ourselves.”

Learn more about Adoption Resources.

Wendy Schiffman Wilsker, the Chief Advancement Officer at JF&CS
June 24, 2020

Posted by Wendy Schiffman Wilsker
Wendy Schiffman Wilsker, Chief Advancement Officer at JF&CS
When we rebranded our Annual Report, Impacting Lives, last year, we imagined a report to our investors, recognizing our community of supporters, sharing our financials, and reflecting on the impact of our work in the prior year.

This year, Impacting Lives will share the story of our work on the frontlines, supporting our community during the COVID-19 crisis and in creating a more just and equal society. And while we will report on our Fiscal Year 19 (October 1, 2018 - September 30, 2019), we will also share how we are supporting our community in the moment.

In the past few months, we have been truly overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors and volunteers. Within one week of asking for help, over 60 new volunteers signed up to pack and deliver groceries for our Family Table food pantry. Since early April, we have distributed 1,300 handmade “Thinking of You” cards to our older adult clients, designed by families, school groups, and caring individuals. Additionally, we have raised more than $1 million in response to our Caring During Crisis campaign.

While many in our community turn to JF&CS for help and support, nearly 5,000 of you turn to JF&CS to give back through time, talent, and treasure. We are fortunate to live in a community where tikkun olam, or “repairing the world,” is a part of the fabric of our identity. Because of you, thousands of people have the support they need to care for themselves and their families.  

We hope that you are inspired as you read the impact of your generosity. We look forward to a time in the near future when we can gather in person and share our gratitude. Until then, my personal thanks are beyond measure.

Read all of our Impacting Lives articles

A masked volunteer at a Family Table distribution day.
June 23, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

A masked volunteer at a Family Table distribution day.

“So many people already live paycheck to paycheck,” said Meredith Joy, the Director of the JF&CS Center for Basic Needs Assistance. “When the public health crisis began, we saw hundreds of families go from relative stability to all-out emergency.”

JF&CS has long been a safety net for the Jewish community and people of all backgrounds facing economic insecurity. During the pandemic, however, our agency has seen unprecedented levels of need. Requests for food, emergency financial assistance, and help applying for public benefits have skyrocketed in recent months.

“Serving our clients during this crisis has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life,” said Meredith. “At the same time, it has been completely gratifying and inspiring to watch our community come together to make sure everyone is taken care of during these difficult times.”

Kosher Food for Those in Need

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, our Family Table food pantry was already providing groceries to more than 500 households each month. Since March, nearly 200 additional families have received emergency groceries as well.

“Many people have lost their jobs and suddenly have no money to feed their families,” shared Bernice Behar, the Director of Family Table. “We have also been hearing from frail older adults, many of them Holocaust survivors, who simply can’t risk going to a supermarket to purchase food.”

Chart showing the increase in Family Table emergency groceries since the start of COVID-19.When the crisis began, Family Table quickly pivoted to meet the new socially distant reality. Regular monthly food deliveries have continued on schedule, with volunteers packing grocery orders outdoors. Additionally, Family Table’s weekly in-person food distributions have been converted to a contactless drive-through format. “It took a little creativity,” said Bernice. “But we’ve been able to ramp up our food distributions while keeping our staff, volunteers, and clients safe.”  

JF&CS has also launched a new emergency grocery delivery program for people who need food urgently but can’t get to one of our pantry locations. Family Table has been able to draw upon its roster of more than 1,200 dedicated volunteers to make these critical deliveries.

“We have been blown away by the response of Family Table volunteers during the pandemic,” said Bernice. “In just one week after the crisis began, sixty-five new volunteers responded to our call for assistance.”

Keeping Clients in Their Homes

Since the pandemic began, JF&CS has heard from numerous clients whose finances have been completely upended. When *Lena reached out to us in early April, she knew her family wouldn’t be able to pay rent that month. Her husband,*Brad, had been laid off from his new job, and his initial application for unemployment benefits was denied. To make matters worse, the youngest of Lena and Brad’s three children, a 9-month-old baby, was still suffering from significant medical complications due to being born prematurely.

JF&CS was able to ease the worry and anxiety that Lena and Brad had about keeping their family afloat. The first step was to address their immediate food needs by providing groceries from Family Table. The next step was to pay for one month of rent to keep the family current while Brad’s unemployment appeal took place.

Chart showing the increase in emergency financial assistance since the start of COVID-19.“Lena and Brad’s situation is all too common right now,” said Meredith. “The need for emergency financial assistance for essentials like rent and utilities has never been higher.” While there is a short-term moratorium on evictions and terminations for fuel and utilities, these measures are temporary, and when the moratoriums are lifted, people will be responsible for paying the amount they owe.

“We encourage people to reach out to JF&CS as soon as possible,” added Meredith. “Whether it is emergency financial assistance or an interest-free loan, there are a variety of ways we can help.”    

Navigating the Complex World of Benefits

The economic crisis has prompted thousands of people in Massachusetts to apply for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), but the application process can be complicated and overwhelming. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the SNAP Advocates at JF&CS Bet Tzedek Legal Services have been working tirelessly to help clients obtain the benefits they are entitled to.

Chart showing in the increase in Bet Tzedek legal consultations since the start of COVID-19.“The public benefits landscape has shifted dramatically since the pandemic began,” said Meredith. “Our Bet Tzedek team has been an invaluable resource when it comes to benefit matters, both for our clients and for our colleagues at other Jewish communal partner agencies.”

*Noah and *Sandy were referred to JF&CS by their rabbi after their application for SNAP benefits was denied. Lindsey Daley, our Senior SNAP Advocate, worked with the Department of Transitional Assistance to resolve the issue with the family’s application and identified two areas where Noah and Sandy were eligible for additional benefits. The family now receives $768 per month in regular SNAP and an additional pandemic-related SNAP benefit of $1,197 to provide food for their children while they are home from school.

Receiving benefits and financial assistance makes a world of difference for our clients. In a thank you message, one of our clients wrote, “You have helped me experience the goodness in this world…You are really doing God’s work here on Earth.”

*Names changed to protect privacy.

Headhsots of JF&CS staff members.jpg
June 22, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

As JF&CS confronts the public health crisis, our staff continues to adapt, lead, and share their expertise both locally and nationally. Congratulations to the staff recognized below, and thank you to all of our staff for their tireless efforts to make an impact in our community and beyond.

JF&CS Receives Pillars of Excellence Award for Advocacy

Lindsey Daley The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) recognized JF&CS with their Pillars of Excellence Award for Advocacy at their virtual conference in May. Lindsey Daley, the Senior Benefits Advocate at JF&CS, accepted the award on behalf of the agency. “Advocating to improve the lives of vulnerable people and those without power is central to our work,” said Lindsey. “We believe it is crucial to be actively involved in taking a stand on policies and laws that impact the lives of our clients.” In June, as a follow-up to this award, Lindsey co-led a national webinar for NJHSA member organizations on how to better engage in advocacy efforts to expand the impact of their work.

Karen Wasserman Gives Expert Elder Care Advice on WBUR and Jewish Boston  

Karen Wasserman Karen Wasserman, Director of Your Elder Experts at JF&CS, recently took to the airwaves, sharing resources and advice on caring for older adults during the pandemic. For many, managing the care of an older adult is presenting increased challenges. You can listen to Karen’s interviews on Radio Boston and The Vibe of the Tribe. “Everyone’s anxiety is heightened now, and often times the decisions around elder care are done in a crisis,” said Karen. “People need us now more than ever.”

Tiffany Clark and Lucy Fisher to Present at Infant Mental Health Conference in Australia

Tiffany Clark and Lucy Fisher Tiffany Clark and Lucy Fisher, clinicians in our Project NESST® program for substance-exposed newborns and their families, were accepted as presenters at the 17th annual conference of the World Association for Infant Mental Health in Brisbane, Australia. Originally slated for this summer, the conference has been postponed to June 2021. Tiffany and Lucy will deliver a presentation about the challenges of working with vulnerable families impacted by trauma and substance use disorder. “We are looking forward to attending and presenting our work with ongoing support and advocacy from our colleagues in Project NESST® and the Center for Early Relationship Support®,” said Lucy.

Beth Soltzberg Helps Memory Cafés Around the World Go Virtual

Beth SoltzbergBeth Soltzberg, Director of the Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program at JF&CS, has played a pivotal role in guiding memory cafés as they transition to virtual programming. Beth is the founder and director of the JF&CS Percolator Memory Café Network, which fosters the spread of these social and creative engagement programs for people living with dementia, along with their family members, friends, and care providers. Since the pandemic began, the Percolator has held several online meetings attended by hundreds of café providers and teaching artists around the U.S. and internationally to share encouragement, practical tips, and best practices. “The main goal of memory cafés is to reduce the social isolation that often comes with dementia,” said Beth. “In this time of physical distancing, this need has become acute. Cafés are capable of evolving to meet it – as long as we work together and share what we are learning.”

Mary Curlew Leads Workshop for Elder Mental Health Coalition

Mary Curlew Mary Curlew, the Community Education and Training Specialist at JF&CS, was recently invited to lead a workshop hosted by the Elder Mental Health Coalition, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Department of Mental Health. Mary’s expertise in responding to and recovering from trauma was the focus of this workshop. “We’re helping direct service providers respond to the needs in our community, as well as helping them deal with their own grief and loss due to COVID-19,” shared Mary. “People are experiencing so much distress in housing and older adult communities. It made sense for us to equip direct service providers with the tools they need to respond both to the mental health needs of older adults as well as their own self-care.” Throughout the public health crisis, Mary has been leading online trainings on Social Isolation, Coping with Loss, and Social Aggression for a variety of local organizations, including MassHousing and the National Association of Social Workers MA.

Laura Beals Wins Heller Award for Teaching

Laura Beals Laura Beals, the Director of the Department of Evaluation and Learning at JF&CS, was recently honored by The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where she teaches a course entitled “Evaluation for Managers.” Laura, who received the annual Heller Award for teaching, was the first adjunct faculty member to win this honor. Nominators called her “an exceptionally engaging lecturer and creative leader in the classroom” who “regularly drew on her own experience in the field, drawing a vivid picture for students about what it is like to be an M&E [monitoring and evaluation] professional.” She challenges and inspires students to always do their best work.

A CHAI Works participant painting at home.
June 21, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

A CHAI Works participant painting at home.

Life during a pandemic is truly uncharted territory. This period of upheaval and uncertainly has taken a tremendous toll on mental health — causing widespread feelings of isolation, anxiety, and despair. At JF&CS, our programs have adapted to meet the current social-emotional needs of our clients while helping them build skills of resilience and strategies for persevering during these difficult days.

Creating a Community for New Mothers

While being a new mother is never easy, parenting in the era of social distancing can feel incredibly lonely. The JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS) is helping to mitigate these feelings through Zoom support groups and free consultations for parents. “JF&CS is a supportive presence,” said Peggy Kaufman, the Director of CERS. “We let new moms know that they’re not alone, we listen to their concerns, and we’re providing a connection that’s difficult for them to have while social distancing.”

Our free weekly support groups for new parents have seen record attendance, with participants Zooming in from around the Greater Boston area and, in some cases, from around the country. The Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Support Group has tripled in size since mid-March. CERS has also introduced new support groups for single parents and parents of toddlers and is developing a group for pregnant women. “Whatever challenges new parents are facing, we are here for them,” said Peggy.

Providing Direction and Purpose for People with Disabilities

For individuals with disabilities, the pandemic has brought stress of the unknown. Many of our clients thrive in highly structured environments, and their mental health has been affected by the disruption of their daily routine.

When the outbreak began, our CHAI Services programs for people with disabilities pivoted to provide engaging online activities, support, and structure to our clients. “We have moved many of our programs over to Zoom and YouTube to create a sense of normalcy for our clients,” said Sara Freedman, the Director of CHAI Services. “Even though they can’t participate in their usual routine, we’re giving them resources to help create a new routine from their homes with some familiar faces and activities.”

Our CHAI Works day program for adults with disabilities has been offering 5 hours of virtual programming a day for over 90 participants. The Department of Developmental Services, the state agency that funds CHAI Works, praised our virtual programming as some of the best and most comprehensive they have seen. Incorporating educational classes and fun activities like martial arts and art projects, our programming is designed to keep our participants intellectually stimulated and connected with their friends.  

In addition to group programming, CHAI Works is also providing weekly 1:1 sessions for participants and their families to check in with our staff. The mother of one of our participants told us that the online programming and weekly check-ins have helped her daughter remain in good spirits while at home: “She has purpose, she has direction, and she is getting exercise. She is painting up a storm and is happy most of the time.”

Keeping Older Adults Connected

Older people, particularly those with compromised health, are at the highest risk for COVID-19. Due to concerns about the spread of the virus, many older adults can’t leave their homes, can’t have visitors, and are feeling extremely isolated. “The crisis has created a heightened sense of fear and anxiety for older adults, and this is intensified by being cut off from family and friends,” said Kathy Burnes, the Director of Services for Older Adults at JF&CS.

To combat isolation and ensure that we are identifying needs as they arise, JF&CS is doubling up on reaching out to our older clients by phone, mail, and video platforms. Not only are case managers making sure that clients have essentials like food, medicine, housing, and home care, but they are also offering reassurance and links to online and telephone engagement activities. Our case managers are helping people connect to needed telehealth services, supporting adult children and their parents around end-of-life planning, and serving as guardians for people in nursing homes. As people confront all kinds of changes and transitions, JF&CS is responding with assistance around coping with loss. We have also expanded our caregiver and bereavement support groups, which are being held on Zoom.

“These changing and difficult times have cast a spotlight on older adults in ways that have made the risks they face painfully clear,” said Kathy. “Our commitment is to do all we can to help foster resilience and interdependence.”

Learn more about the Mental Health Support available through JF&CS. 

A Free Parent Coaching session on Zoom.
June 20, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

A Free Parent Coaching session on Zoom.

When schools closed due to the public health crisis this spring, many parents were left feeling stressed and overwhelmed. For parents of children with disabilities, however, the closure of schools was especially devastating. “Predictable structure is vitally important for children with disabilities,” explained Sara Freedman, the Director of JF&CS CHAI Services. “Without their daily routines, children with disabilities are feeling bored, they are feeling isolated, and they may start acting out.”

Many parents of adult children with disabilities have also found themselves in a challenging situation. With day programs and places of employment temporarily shuttered, adults with disabilities are stuck at home, missing their friends or co-workers and grappling with hours of unstructured time.

A Resource for Parents

To help parents during this period of uncertainty, JF&CS CHAI Services is offering Free Parent Coaching. “We knew we couldn’t replace the structure or respite that individuals and their families were missing without school, day programs, and extracurricular activities,” said Sara. “But we wanted parents to know that they weren’t alone during this time and that JF&CS is here to support them.”

Available to anyone who has a child with a disability, our Free Parent Coaching sessions are tailored to the specific needs of each family who reaches out to us. JF&CS CHAI Services is staffed by experts in clinical, educational, and behavioral management who have both professional and personal experience working and living with people with disabilities. Whether it is helping parents create a daily schedule for their child, putting emergency plans in place, or recommending additional resources, our knowledgeable staff members are a lifeline for parents and guardians.  

Helping Families Chart a Course

Since our Free Parent Coaching service was launched in March, JF&CS has been able to help clients with a wide range of issues. “We have gotten a lot of great feedback from communities and parents,” said Sara. “People are thankful to have a number to call where they can ask for help.”

For *Miriam and *Aaron, a couple we recently started working with, the pandemic exacerbated issues their 19-year-old son *David was already facing. David, who was diagnosed with autism, left high school in June of 2019 with no supports in place and no daily structure. With the current COVID-19 situation, David was feeling extremely isolated and depressed.

Our Free Parent Coaching team was able to offer David’s parents several resources, including a review of his 504 Accommodation Plan from high school, a walk-through on filing for Supplemental Security Income, help with reaching out to Jewish Vocational Services, referrals for therapists who specialize in working with young adults with high-functioning autism, and options for neurological testing through MassHealth and the Brookline Center for Mental Health. We also discussed the best way for Aaron and Miriam to counsel David about his support options while being sensitive to his aversion to being labeled as “disabled” or “special needs.”

“Miriam and Aaron have been enthusiastic about working with us,” said Sara. “They have been great partners as we explore all the resources available to them and put together a daily structure for David.”

Get in Touch

If you are a parent in need of support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to JF&CS CHAI Services. From a Free Parent Coaching consultation to more hands-on assistance, guidance, and advocacy from our Disability Lifespan Solutions program, JF&CS has the expertise to meet the challenges families are facing.

To set up a phone call or video meeting, please email us at or call 781-693-5640.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

The Shaer family.
June 19, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

The Shaer family.

Eight years ago, Lori and Jon Shaer were looking for an opportunity that would enable them and their young children to engage in hands-on philanthropy. When they learned about the JF&CS Family Table food pantry, they found the perfect outlet for volunteering. “We wanted to directly impact people with our children and show them how important it is to give back,” said Lori.

Today, Lori and Jon, along with their now-teenage children, Madi and Ben, are active volunteers and supporters of JF&CS. The Shaers regularly participate in Family Table Sunday distributions. “Our kids get to see the smiles on the faces of those they are helping and delivering groceries to,” said Jon. In addition to volunteering as a family, Lori and Jon have found ways to express their individual interests through JF&CS.

Each week, Jon visits a Holocaust survivor as a Friendly Visitor volunteer. “My father was wonderful about visiting my grandmother as she got older. After she passed, I learned how many older adults do not have that support, so it stuck with me,” said Jon. When Jon visits with his older adult friend, they discuss politics, current events, Israel, and what it means to be Jewish. “It’s been very fulfilling to be able to share my time, and I like to think it’s been fulfilling for him as well,” said Jon.

Lori initially found her interest in JF&CS through Family Table and then extended her leadership to the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support® (CERS). She served on the Women’s Breakfast committee for many years, and in 2019, Lori co-chaired the annual Women’s Breakfast to help raise vital funds for CERS. “When I became a new mom, I felt very fortunate to have support from family and friends,” said Lori. “I appreciate and admire all of the support CERS provides to their clients during challenging times. It felt important for me to find a way to help.”

Lori is also the Family Table Site Coordinator for Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, acting as a liaison for the program in her temple community. During the COVID-19 crisis, Lori has been collecting donations from members of the congregation to purchase canned tuna and salmon for Family Table. Each month, more than 100 canned goods arrive at the Shaer household, which Lori’s son Ben delivers to JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham. “Lori’s role as the Family Temple Site Coordinator speaks to her dedication and thoughtfulness during this time of crisis,” said Family Table Director Bernice Behar. “She is keeping her temple community involved to help those in need.”

Lori and Jon also believe in the power of collective philanthropy. Earlier this year, they made a challenge gift for the Passover appeal which attracted more donors and raised more money than in previous years.

“There is no shortage of worthwhile organizations to support in the Greater Boston area, but JF&CS has something for everyone, whether you are a volunteer or a client,” said Jon. Lori added, “We feel blessed to be a part of the JF&CS family.”

The TeenSafe Peer Leaders and the TeenSafe Fellow meeting over Zoom
May 21, 2020

Posted by Elizabeth Schön Vainer, Director of JF&CS Journey to Safety

The TeenSafe Peer Leaders and TeenSafe Fellow meeting on Zoom.

Spring is always a busy and exciting time for JF&CS TeenSafe, our group dedicated to preventing teen dating abuse in the Jewish community. Like many other youth programs, we were moving at full speed when so many things began to shut down quickly and completely in the middle of March.

Fortunately, participants in TeenSafe were able to pivot and start meeting on Zoom to continue their activities. Together with the TeenSafe Fellow, our teenage peer leaders are offering virtual workshops on healthy and unhealthy dating relationships, working on a year-end impact project, and creatively getting the word out that Love Should Be Safe.  

At a time that has been marked by isolation, disappointment, disruption, and loss for many teenagers, TeenSafe is connecting and engaging them ⁠— continuing “business as usual”, knowing that nothing is “as usual.”

Help Us Find Our New Peer Leaders

Now, many weeks into this new normal, we are planning for the fall, with the hope that we will meet in person (but ready to continue via Zoom if necessary). Raising awareness among teens and adults about dating abuse and how to prevent it remains a crucial issue. Research tells us that one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

TeenSafe works to change that statistic by helping teens and adults recognize controlling or abusive behavior and know what to do when they experience, witness, or hear about it. Workshops are planned and conducted by the TeenSafe Fellow and trained peer leaders. TeenSafe peer leaders earn community service hours for their participation.

There are a few ways you can help TeenSafe find our next group of peer leaders:

1. Please share this flyer to spread the word that we are looking for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to join the TeenSafe 2020-2021 peer leader cohort.

2. Please encourage educators and youth advisors to forward our flyer AND to reach out to us to schedule a program for their students.

3. Follow TeenSafe on Instagram and please spread the word about TeenSafe on your own social media channels.

4. Invite your friends to join TeenSafe for a Zoom Open House on June 3 where teens and parents can learn more about our program.

Thank you so much for your help! If someone you know is interested in TeenSafe, please have them email our TeenSafe Fellow at We wish you all a happy and HEALTHY spring!

If you or someone you know would like to speak with someone about a potentially controlling or abusive dating relationship, the National Dating Abuse Helpline, Loveisrespect, is continuing to respond to calls, texts, and online chat requests (866-331-8453 or text "loveis" to 22522). This service is available 24/7.

Seinfeld playing on a television.
May 15, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

Seinfeld playing on a television.

“The greatest Jewish tradition is to laugh. The cornerstone of Jewish survival has always been to find humor in life and in ourselves.” - Jerry Seinfeld

At times like these, a little laughter goes a long way. For one JF&CS client, the classic sitcom Seinfeld provided the perfect outlet for his anxiety and creativity.

A few weeks ago, our client was working through a lot of difficult emotions surrounding the pandemic, but he wasn’t comfortable sharing these feelings with others. The client receives services from our Clinical Case Management program, which provides coaching and support for adults with disabilities. Since the client is very creative, his case managers, Hanna Homan and Tedra Halzel, suggested that he try expressing himself through role-playing and writing.

The client loved the idea and decided to draft a quarantine-themed conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza, two characters on his favorite show, Seinfeld. While writing the scene, the client was able to open up to his case managers about his concerns related to COVID-19 and discuss strategies for coping with them.

“Working with the client on identifying his feelings through the script was amazing to watch,” said Hanna. “I look forward to continuing to encourage him to use scriptwriting to express his emotions. He is a very talented person, and I am so happy we can highlight his story!”

And now, without further ado, we present the client’s original Seinfeld script!

“The Quarantine”: A Seinfeld Story

Jerry: Hello! (Jerry notices that George hasn’t said a word.) Is something bothering you?

George: Take a wild guess!

Jerry: Did you have another argument with Elaine again?

George: Yes, I had another argument with Elaine. OF COURSE I DIDN’T!!!

Jerry: Then what’s really bothering you?

George: The truth is — I’m nervous.

Jerry: Nervous about what?

George: I’ll tell you…as long as you don’t mention this to anyone we know.

Jerry: I’m all ears.

George: I’m nervous about the coronavirus. There, I said it!

Jerry: Yeah… you know what? I am too.

George: If this virus keeps up, I might as well quit my job and start turkey farming!

Jerry: I know you have a reason to be worried about the coronavirus, but you can’t let that ruin your life!

George: Then how do you deal with nervousness?

Jerry: Since you asked, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The trick is to take your mind off of the coronavirus by thinking of something completely different. That way, you won’t stay nervous as long.

George: So, you think of something completely different.

Jerry: Yep.

George: Like what? 

Jerry: Well, I dunno. If a book about failure doesn't it a success? 


The Clinical Case Managers at JF&CS are experienced clinicians who work with adults with autism spectrum disorder, mental illness, and other disabilities to overcome challenges and pursue their personal goals. Find out more, here.

March 31, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

***For the most up-to-date information on how you can help JF&CS and our clients, please visit our Volunteering page. 

Looking for a way to help at this critical time? JF&CS has a variety of meaningful volunteer opportunities to support our clients and their increased needs. Your caring can make a difference in our community.

JF&CS Family Table – Marblehead and Waltham

Deliver food to clients in need

Volunteers pack and deliver groceries to clients. Strict social distancing guidelines are in place.

If interested, please fill out a brief Family Table application by April 17 for Marblehead or April 27 for Waltham if you have not completed a volunteer application or CORI form previously. The Marblehead distribution will take place on April 26 and Waltham will take place on May 10. Lisa Katz, Family Table Volunteer Coordinator, will be in touch; you can also reach out to Lisa directly at if you would like to volunteer.

Please note: Based on guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, we have determined that individuals may not attend next month’s distribution if any of the following apply:

  • You are 70 years of age or older.
  • You have an underlying health condition, such as moderate to severe asthma or serious heart conditions, or if you are immunocompromised.
  • You are feeling unwell.
  • You have recently come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone who is ill and whose COVID-19 status is in question.

Card Making Project

Reach out to isolated older adults

Write personalized “Thinking of You” cards that we can send to our isolated older adult clients. In the past, this generation primarily communicated through handwritten notes and letters, so your personally written note will be particularly meaningful. If you are interested, contact Sue Spielman at

Social Media Engagement

Help individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

We are creating a library of activities for our clients who are at home, without structured daytime activities. Volunteers can record themselves on their phone doing an adaptive art project, dance, workout, yoga, song session, relaxation, or meditation. Clients will be able to access the videos on the JF&CS Youtube channel! To get involved, please contact Angie Waring at

Amazon Wish List

Provide basic needs for families with young children

Our Amazon Wish List highlights our greatest needs around providing diapers, wipes, and other essentials to our clients. You can purchase items directly from our Wish List or send us a gift card to help support our clients and their families.

We cannot care for all of our vulnerable clients with the support of our volunteers. Thank you!

Please contact Ava Harder, Volunteer Services Manager, at if you have any questions about the above opportunities.

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781-647-JFCS (5327)
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