Caring for Generations

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JF&CS Blog


JF&CS Blog

A gavel in a court room.jpg
January 13, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

A gavel in a court room.

For Rosa*, the Greater Boston area was a haven from the violence that plagued her community in Central America. However, after years of living in Massachusetts, she was apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in January 2019 for overstaying her visa. Denied bail, Rosa was separated from her two young children. To make matters worse, her abusive ex-partner received temporary custody of her older child after her detainment. With the threat of deportation looming, Rosa felt utterly devastated.

A Team of Support 

Rosa was a longtime JF&CS client, so when news of her arrest spread to our office, her contacts in the agency sprang into action. “We immediately huddled,” recalled Janet Segal, the Director of our legal services program. “We had to figure out what we could do to help.”

Janet joined with Karen Garber, the Program Coordinator of our bilingual program for young children and parents impacted by trauma and mental health challenges, to devise a strategy to assist Rosa. Together with other JF&CS colleagues, they identified two areas in which they could be of service: Rosa’s custody battle and her petition for asylum.

To aid in the custody case, Janet Segal secured the help of Boston College Legal Services LAB, a community legal services office housed within Boston College Law School in Newton. Attorneys from LAB immediately filed papers in court seeking to protect Rosa’s custody interests while detained by ICE and following her release, if and when this was to occur.

The Struggle for Asylum 

Initially, JF&CS could not help Rosa on the asylum front because her family had already hired an immigration attorney on her behalf. However, after Rosa’s initial hearing, which she lost, the attorney the family had hired was no longer involved in her case.

At this point, Karen Garber made a concerted effort to get Rosa the best legal representation available. Karen reached out to her contacts at Greater Boston Legal Services, a renowned legal services organization, and urged them to take Rosa on as a client. “Karen was such a strong advocate for Rosa,” said Janet Segal. “She was relentless.”

Ultimately, one of the immigration attorneys at Greater Boston Legal Services agreed to represent Rosa. After a hard-fought battle, Rosa received a hearing and was granted asylum in June. Upon her release, Rosa was almost immediately reunited with her children.

While everyone at JF&CS is thrilled that Rosa will be able to stay in Massachusetts, Karen Garber notes that “winning the asylum case is not ‘happily ever after’ — it is the beginning of a new chapter with new challenges to overcome.” As Rosa continues to face life’s obstacles, we are confident that she has the tools she needs to persevere.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

January 10, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

We sat down with Gail Schulman, our new CEO, to learn more about her and what drew her to JF&CS.

Why did you decide to work in human services after working in high-tech for over 20 years?

It sounds corny, but I really want to make a difference in the world. I feel blessed in many ways, and I want to use my talents to improve people’s lives. At the end of the day, there is nothing more important.

What drew you to JF&CS?

JF&CS’s reach is extraordinary—where else can you help babies, older adults, people with disabilities, and those struggling with poverty all under one roof? I especially appreciate the innovation and the heart embedded in the programs. JF&CS isn’t just a social services agency; it’s a place with emotions, relationships, and soul. I do think that heart comes at least partly from JF&CS’s foundation in Jewish values, which are core to my own life. I feel inspired by the agency even at this early stage, and I hope I can inspire others as well.

Which JF&CS program, initiative, or event are you particularly excited about?

My early enthusiasm focused on Family Table and Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® because of my own experiences—as a volunteer for Family Table, and as a recipient of support by a Rubin Visiting Mom. Now that I'm on board, I love that our CHAI Works day and employment program for adults with disabilities is right in our building, reminding us of our mission every day. In fact, every time I encounter a new program, I get a renewed jolt of inspiration.

What are you most looking forward to as CEO?

I'm looking forward to having an impact. JF&CS does life-changing work in so many areas. I’m excited to play a key role to enable that work.

What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?

That a key part of leading is creating a forum where people trust each other and will share their ideas openly. Leaders have access to deep knowledge through employees, volunteers, recipients of services and the community, and there's truth in that age-old story that we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Our work at JF&CS is to make sure that we constantly listen to the needs of the community, and that our services evolve to meet those needs.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like spending time with my two eighteen-year-olds and my husband. I also like to run. I’m training for a marathon in February, so if you see me hobbling around, you’ll know why my legs are tired.

Recommend a book.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

If you’re interested in getting involved with JF&CS, visit our Volunteering page!

January 8, 2020

Posted by Joe Wolke

Students at Kesher Newton hosting a bake sale for Family Table.

In addition to working as a Distribution Assistant for JF&CS Family Table, Joe Wolke teaches Jewish history and philosophy to middle school students at the Kesher Newton school. Joe’s two jobs dovetailed nicely when students at Kesher Newton launched a project to collect holiday candles for Family Table.  

The students in the Kesher Newton afterschool Hebrew program are taught from a very early age that being part of the Jewish community includes taking responsibility for those in need. The school regularly promotes projects that allow students to put this part of their education into practice. This year, the 16 middle school students of Kesher Newton have taken responsibility for leading the school’s Chesed project to provide JF&CS Family Table with Shabbat and Chanukkah candles so that every Jewish client can celebrate these holidays. This project is intended to demonstrate to the students that community needs like this can be met with the help of even the youngest students in the school.

The year-long project was dubbed “Candles for All” (נרות לכולם) by the students. In the project’s first week, the students created a logo, posters, collection boxes for every classroom, and a set of year-long fundraisers to meet their collection objectives. The first set of activities culminated with a bake sale held in conjunction with Kesher’s annual Chanukkah party. Over the two months since the project’s inception, the students of Kesher Newton collected over 100 boxes of Chanukkah candles and, through funds raised and direct contributions of candles, have already been able to provide more than five cases of the Shabbat candles that Family Table distributes as it serves nearly 500 families every month.

Lighting the WayCandles for All

The Candles for All project is designed to help Family Table in three important ways. The first objective of the project is the collection of as many candles (and the funds to purchase them) as possible for Family Table’s clients. As one of the students put it, “Every dollar we raise to buy candles frees up a dollar they [Family Table] can use to buy food.”

Second, the students have taken responsibility for repackaging the candles in bags of eight (enough for four Shabbatot) to be included in Family Table’s monthly distributions. Students also make Shabbat greeting cards that are included in each package, creating a direct connection between them and the recipients. These hands-on activities give the students a very tangible connection to the project; one they wouldn’t have if they were just raising funds.

The third, and possibly most important, objective of Candles for All is to raise awareness of the work that Family Table does in the Greater Boston area. While many of the Kesher students are already familiar with Family Table because of volunteer efforts with their families or synagogues, the middle school students still felt it was important to go class to class to talk about Family Table and encourage everyone to get involved. In the next few months, Kesher is planning to have representatives from Family Table give more detailed talks about what they do. Kesher has also scheduled talks from former recipients of Family Table so the students can get a better understanding of the vital role that Family Table plays in the community.

Looking Ahead

While everyone at Kesher is pleased with the success of Candles for All, they are not stopping here. The project will be a year-long effort with additional fundraisers and educational programs to come. Through projects like this, the students at Kesher Newton learn that the need to help others in their community never goes away. We should applaud their commitment to Chesed projects (acts of human kindness) as an ongoing part of their everyday lives.

Are you interested in supporting our food pantry? Learn how you can fundraise for Family Table!

January 7, 2020

Posted by JF&CS

JF&CS is pleased to introduce Mary Curlew, LICSW, our new Community Education and Training Specialist. In this role, Mary develops and delivers compelling presentations and trainings on mental health issues that impact older adults. Ranging in topics from social bullying, suicide prevention, brain health, and aging with optimism, these workshops are delivered in the community to older adults and professionals who work with older adults.

Mary is excited to join the JF&CS team, sharing that she has long admired the agency’s work and reputation. “When I was in my early 20s, I met an outreach worker from JF&CS through my work at a homeless shelter,” said Mary. “I remember being impressed by both her depth of knowledge and compassion.” Mary later worked with Peggy Kaufman, the director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support®, through Postpartum Support International and was “again, amazed by her depth of compassion and knowledge.” Mary went on to say, “Working with Kathy Burnes and the rest of the team in Services for Older Adults confirms the wonderful impression I had of JF&CS.”

Two Decades in Behavioral Health

Prior to joining JF&CS, Mary spent 20 years working in the behavioral health field, primarily in outpatient care. Her clinical experience has “progressed through the lifespan,” as she initially worked with preschool and elementary-aged children before focusing on adolescents, then adults, and finally, older adults. Mary especially enjoyed working with groups through behavioral therapies that had a teaching component and providing training, consultation, and supervision to her interdisciplinary colleagues, such as primary care physicians, doulas, nurses, and other direct care workers.

“I loved providing group therapy, education, and training not only to clients but to service providers as well,” said Mary. “So, the position of Community Education and Training Specialist at JF&CS seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that full time.”

A Great Start at JF&CS

Only a little more than four months into her new job, Mary is out in the community, leading workshops on subject matter that is important to her, both personally and professionally. “I am finding that service providers are very appreciative of the knowledge and insight that our program provides,” said Mary. “Each training is informed by my clinical experience and the wealth of information here at JF&CS.”

Mary is also developing new workshops that draw on her background in trauma and behavioral health. “I am looking to provide training for service providers in assisting trauma survivors with emotional regulation and recovery,” explained Mary. “I feel very strongly that lived experience, and the current internal and external resources people have to deal with distress, need to be more of a focus in behavioral healthcare.” Additionally, Mary sees a need for more general health and wellness training to improve the overall behavioral health of older adults.

As she plans ambitious new education initiatives, Mary feels fortunate to have support from her colleagues at JF&CS. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful,” said Mary. “It is wonderful to be part of such a caring and effective team.”

If you are interested in learning more about organizing a workshop with Mary, visit our Aging and Mental Health Training page.

Many Voices One Message.jpg
December 31, 2019

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

At JF&CS Journey to Safety, we imagine a society that sees, believes, and supports survivors of domestic abuse. We have a unique role to ensure that this scourge is visible through a Jewish lens in the Jewish community. Journey to Safety provides services to all abuse survivors who reach out to us for help, while providing culturally and religiously sensitive services for Jewish and Russian-speaking survivors. As we have seen firsthand, when clergy speak out against domestic abuse, it makes a world of difference in the Jewish community. This year, we are proud to announce that 118 rabbis and cantors from different Jewish denominations in Massachusetts took a stand against domestic abuse. Please take a few minutes to learn about our efforts and what you can do to help!

As part of our Many Voices, One Message campaign, Jewish clergy added their names to the following statement: “We join together in saying we will not tolerate domestic abuse in the Jewish community.” The statement appeared in the Jewish Journal and Jewish Advocate and will be featured in the Jewish Ledger in January. The campaign is a joint effort of the Jewish Domestic Violence Coalition, JF&CS Journey to Safety, and Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence.

Tied to Jewish Tradition

Each year, we publish the Many Voices, One Message campaign close to Chanukkah. We chose this time of year specifically to connect Chanukkah’s brightly lit menorahs with the campaign’s goal of bringing light and hope to dark spaces and connecting with survivors of abuse, who are often isolated and alone.

This year’s initiative took on an extra dimension of meaning as well. In Jewish tradition, the number 18 represents life. It seems especially fitting that the campaign was endorsed by exactly 118 rabbis and cantors, underscoring the idea that everyone should be free to live their lives safely and without fear that their spouse or partner will deliberately harm them physically, emotionally, financially, sexually, or spiritually.

Spreading the Message

With this year’s statement finalized, the real work is just beginning. Our goal is for Jewish survivors of domestic abuse around the state to see this statement, feel less invisible, hear the message that people in their community – including so many Jewish clergy – support them, and then hopefully reach out for help. Please help us circulate this statement by liking and sharing it on social media; printing and hanging it in Jewish spaces; and finding other ways to publicize it in newsletters, bulletins, and other print communications.

Finally, we know that we were not able to reach every Jewish clergy member in Massachusetts. If you know a clergy member who signed this statement, please thank them for their support. If you know a rabbi or cantor whose name does not appear this year, please ask them to look for the invitation to sign on to the 2020 initiative next fall.

Many thanks to all the rabbis and cantors who signed on to this year’s campaign and to all of you for helping us circulate and promote this important outreach initiative. We wish everyone a happy, healthy new year!

Additional thanks to New Jersey’s Project S.A.R.A.H., which gave us permission to adapt their campaign for use in Massachusetts and to The Miriam Fund, which provided funding for this campaign during its inaugural year.

Barbara Wasserman and Andrew Pearlstein
December 26, 2019

Posted by JF&CS

Barbara Wasserman and Andrew Pearlstein
For Barbara Wasserman and Andrew Pearlstein, philanthropy felt like the missing link needed to complete their family. "We had a realization years ago that we had worked hard and raised our family, but the one thing we hadn't done enough of was give back," said Andrew. "We've really stepped up our involvement, commitment, and philanthropy the past six years."

With three grown children, Barbara and Andrew found themselves with more time to dedicate to causes they feel passionate about. Barbara and Andrew were first introduced to JF&CS through friends who recognized how their skills could benefit the agency. Barbara served on committees, attended our annual Women’s Breakfast fundraiser, and volunteered to provide supervision to graduate students working towards their social work license at JF&CS. Andrew served on multiple committees and was eventually nominated to the Board of Directors. Now, Andrew is president-elect of the Board.

After getting involved and seeing first-hand what JF&CS accomplishes, they felt a connection to the agency that inspired them to make a legacy gift. They saw just how many services JF&CS provides that can help individuals and families throughout their lifetime. “There are so many needs that JF&CS addresses. When you work with the agency, you have the opportunity to make a direct impact,” shared Barbara.

By naming JF&CS as a beneficiary of their Donor Advised Fund, Barbara and Andrew further strengthened their commitment to JF&CS by making a contribution that will allow us to continue building a foundation of well-being and resilience in the future. “By making a planned gift, we’re making a statement that says the work JF&CS does matters and we’d like it to be available to all in the community,” said Andrew. “Once one becomes connected to an organization, the philanthropy follows naturally. JF&CS makes you want to take part in volunteering as well as giving back.”

Barbara and Andrew consider philanthropy to be part of their Jewish values. “Growing up, it felt like it was an obligation to be philanthropic, but it goes further than that today,” said Andrew. “We want to be a model for our kids. They’re growing up and making their own decisions. It’s not about whether or not they want to give back, it’s about how they want to give back,” said Barbara.

Joining the Tree of Life Society is their way of leaving their mark on a cause they care so much about. “At this stage in our lives, we’ve been around long enough to have worked hard and learned a lot, and now it’s time to leave an impact through our giving,” said Barbara.

“Making a planned gift isn’t difficult or high pressure at all. It’s our way of showing our connection to the cause, and it helped that the process was so easy,” said Andrew. By joining the Tree of Life Society, Barbara and Andrew are helping the future of JF&CS and everyone who comes to us in need. “We’re expressing our commitment to JF&CS by making sure that it continues its work and remains a healthy organization going forward,” said Andrew.

If you would like to learn more about the Tree of Life Society, contact Jill Snider at or 508-208-2341.

Carl Zack, Interim CEO of JF&CS
December 23, 2019

Posted by Carl Zack, Interim CEO of JF&CS
Carl Zack, Interim CEO of JF&CS
Throughout my tenure as Interim CEO of JF&CS, I have had the opportunity to witness the lengths that staff go to in order to help those in need every day. I recently sat in on a meeting of direct service staff across the agency where they shared current cases and success stories. I was told about clients that entered the agency through different avenues with different needs. In this meeting, I heard about people who had come looking for help in domestic abuse situations, while others needed help applying for and acquiring the benefits to which they’re entitled. 

One client I heard about has stayed with me. She and her children fled an abusive relationship two years ago, and she has never received the court-ordered child support owed to her. She was unable to financially care for her children and worried about the holidays, but after turning to JF&CS for help, our staff was able to guide her in getting back on her feet after being left with emotional and physical scars from her abusive relationship. 

What impresses me most is how staff establish a support system that will last clients a lifetime. No matter what they come to us for, they leave with all their needs met. We don’t just look at the one issue they walked in with, but a whole variety of other challenges they could be facing. Staff know just the right questions to ask to learn about the whole person and ultimately offer help in ways clients never expected. At JF&CS, we offer a range of services that support families and individuals in all different ways. Whether they need help with food, housing, legal services, or acquiring benefits, our staff go above and beyond to find resources that will build a foundation for resilience and well-being. 

I am so grateful that I have been able to witness our mission come to life every day. Our staff set out to make an impact in the community while valuing our Jewish traditions. Supporting the well-being of anyone in our community is what we’re here for, and we strive to provide the services our clients need to move from crisis to stability.

If you’re interested in getting involved with JF&CS, check out our numerous volunteer opportunities.

December 17, 2019

Posted by JF&CS
A CHAI Works-South participant holding a dog.
“There is just something about spending time with animals that puts a smile on your face,” said Heidi Isler, the Manager of JF&CS CHAI Works-South in Canton, MA. “Petting a dog or a cat is so soothing, so healing.” For participants in our community-based day program for adults with disabilities, volunteering with The Pet Pantry has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with new four-legged friends — and their owners.

Helping Pets Stay in Their Home

The Pet Pantry is a nonprofit organization in Brockton that distributes pet food and related items to those in need. Founded in 2009, The Pet Pantry helps families keep their pets in their homes when they are struggling financially. “We have served people who are enduring all kinds of situations,” said Corinne Lawson, president of The Pet Pantry. “We have clients who have undergone major surgeries and are paying off medical bills, single parents or those who are recently divorced, veterans, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.”

Since July of this year, CHAI Works-South has been helping The Pet Pantry with distributions every few weeks. The distribution process begins at The Pet Pantry’s outpost at the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts, where the CHAI Works team picks up large bags of dog and cat food, cat litter, leashes, toys, and other items. Next, our volunteers take the donated supplies back to the CHAI Works office where they measure, rebag, and relabel the pet food and litter.

“Preparing the pet supplies for distribution is very instructive,” said Heidi. “Our participants learn to work as a team, to clearly communicate with one another, and to take pride in their work.” In addition to prepping the donated items, CHAI Works participants also make their own homemade dog biscuits and toys to distribute to Pet Pantry clients.

Distributing Pet Supplies

After all of the supplies have been rebagged and relabeled, the CHAI Works team heads over to Sullivan Towers, an affordable housing development in Brockton, to distribute the items. “Visiting Sullivan Towers is such a meaningful experience for our participants,” said Heidi. “They really enjoy having the chance to interact directly with the people and animals they are helping.”

During each distribution, the CHAI Works volunteers set up a table with all of the available pet supplies, so residents at the complex can “go shopping” for the items they need. This marketplace-style distribution presents a great opportunity for CHAI Works participants to practice their social skills.

Before volunteer sessions, Heidi and the CHAI Works staff help participants think about appropriate conversation topics and questions. The residents of Sullivan Towers always give our volunteers a very warm reception. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for residents to hang around after they have finished shopping so they can keep chatting with our participants!

A Rewarding Partnership

Of course, a highlight of the volunteer experience is meeting the residents’ pets! During most visits to Sullivan Towers, some of the residents will bring their furry friends to the distribution. “Interacting with the dogs and cats at the apartment complex is a blast for the CHAI Works volunteers,” said Heidi. “Most of our participants don’t have pets at home, so this is a real treat.”

The Pet Pantry is currently working on converting a semi-trailer into a new distribution/storage center and hopes to expand its services to more communities. As The Pet Pantry grows, Heidi hopes that CHAI Works-South can help the organization in new ways. “Partnering with The Pet Pantry has been such a joy for our participants,” said Heidi. “We believe so strongly in their mission, and we can’t wait to see what is next for them.”

JF&CS Day Programming and Employment Services create meaningful and fulfilling opportunities for individuals with disabilities to lead productive and integrated lives in their communities and increase their feelings of self-worth and confidence. For more information, visit us online or call 781-647-5327.

Deb Shrier
December 13, 2019

Posted by Deb Shrier

Deb Shrier

Welcome to Humans of JF&CS! Periodically, we will be featuring different staff members to highlight the amazing work they do.

Behind our 40+ programs are compassionate, committed, and dedicated staff who care deeply about our mission and our agency. With this broad range of programs comes a team of staff members with diverse interests, passions, and skills, who all share a deep commitment to building a strong foundation of well-being and resilience for our clients. We hope these staff spotlights give you a taste of the incredible individuals behind our services and a sense of the deep compassion and dedication they bring every day.

I’m part of the Adoption resources team at JF&CS. I conduct home studies with pre-adoptive individuals or couples, give expectant parent counseling, and provide search and reunion work. I began working at JF&CS after Betsy Hochberg, Director of Adoption Resources, and I met at a conference years ago. I was working at a different adoption agency at the time, but our tables were located right next to one another. We talked about our personal and professional link to adoption and the real need for post-adoption services for families. Six months later, our similar thinking on post-adoption services led me to working at JF&CS with Betsy. 

The most exciting part about what I do is getting to work with so many different types of clients and hear everyone’s unique story. Listening to these personal reflections informs the way I do my work. I’ve learned a great deal from my clients over the years and I’ve made important changes in my clinical approach. There are so many different aspects to my work that it never gets dull or boring!  

I’m so proud of the work done throughout the agency to make a difference in people’s lives. Whatever part of the organization we work in, we’re working towards the same goal. I also love having so many intelligent and knowledgeable colleagues. I know I can always find the answer to any question or find an important resource! JF&CS is truly a very special place to work.  

Marjie Sokoll speaking at The Selfhelp Home in Chicago.
December 11, 2019

Posted by JF&CS

Marjie Sokoll speaking at The Selfhelp Home in Chicago.

Marjie Sokoll, the Director of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing at JF&CS, recently visited Chicago to offer three interactive presentations on the Spirited Aging program. Launched by Marjie in 2014, the Spirited Aging program supports people of all ages and backgrounds in their search to find meaning, joy, and spirituality in their lives as they grow older. While in Chicago, Marjie spoke at The Selfhelp Home, Temple Emanuel, and Jewish Child and Family Services.

Marjie was invited to Chicago by Debbie Lipsett, a member of the Betty Ann Greenbaum Miller Center for Jewish Healing Advisory Council. Chicago is Debbie’s hometown, and she has developed meaningful connections with the organizations that Marjie spoke to during her trip. “Everyone loved Marjie’s warm, engaging, and empathetic style,” said Debbie. “They would love to see her come back for another visit!”  

Debbie and Marjie have known each other for several years, and last November, they were the inspiring guest artists at the JF&CS Memory Café, where they presented on Spirited Aging through Movement and Music.

Along with her colleagues, Barbara Sternfield and Sue Spielman, Marjie has been privileged to have many opportunities to present on Spirited Aging to older adults and aging services providers, and she was excited to bring the program to Chicago.

Combating Ageism

Marjie Sokoll presenting on Spirited Aging at The Selfhelp Home in Chicago.One of the key messages Marjie shared during her presentations in Chicago was the damaging effects of ageism. How serendipitous then, that when she arrived at Logan Airport to fly to Chicago, she saw the pioneering anti-ageism campaign of Boston’s new Age Strong Commission. Large digital photos of older adults ranging in age from 67 to 103 were flashing on the big screen with the tagline, “I’m a lot of things and CRANKY, FRAIL, OVER THE HILL isn’t one of them. I #AgeStrong. How do you?” In a profile about the multimedia campaign, The Boston Globe wrote, “In increasingly woke Boston, some call it [ageism] the last socially acceptable bias.”

While presenting at The Selfhelp Home in Chicago, a continuing care retirement community, Marjie asked attendees to share their age, if they felt comfortable, and to share their thoughts about aging. A 102-year-old woman at the event said, “Age should not be a criteria for describing how a person should be known.” Marjie told her that she couldn’t agree more! In fact, the woman’s comment reminded Marjie of Ashton Applewhite, the writer and activist, who delivered a popular TED Talk titled “Let’s End Ageism.” In her talk, she defines ageism as “discrimination and stereotyping on the basis of age” and explains that “stereotypes are always a mistake, of course, but especially when it comes to age, because the longer we live, the more different from one another we become. ”

The presentation at Temple Emanuel was a Kick-Off Event to start discussions on aging and growing older. It was open to the public, and the room was filled with people of all different backgrounds. The rich discussion involved many topics, including ageism, which research shows can affect well-being. These types of discussions underscore the purpose of the Spirited Aging program and are very helpful when navigating the experience of growing older.

Aging and Resilience

Howard Sitron, Debbie Lipsett, and Marjie SokollFor her final presentation at Jewish Child and Family Services in Chicago, Marjie drew upon the Spirited Aging program she runs for the JF&CS staff in Waltham. “The workplace is ideal for the Spirited Aging program because it is so multigenerational,” said Marjie. “It is wonderful when we can discuss meaningful topics with staff of all ages, and we know from research that bringing different generations together is one of the most effective ways to combat ageism.” Marjie felt inspired being with her Chicago colleagues as they shared their own experiences, personally and professionally.  

Marjie ended the presentation by quoting Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, who wrote about his own aging in his autobiography, Recollections. His words highlight the importance of flexibility, resilience, and the continuing need to grow as a human being. “I don’t mind getting old,” wrote Frankl. “As I say, aging doesn’t bother me as long as I have reason to believe that I am also maturing. Perhaps this is still going on, since now I see the flaws in a manuscript I finished two weeks ago.”

For information on all of the JF&CS programs geared toward older adults, visit our Services for Older Adults page.

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