Highlights From Our Agencies

VISTA SPOTLIGHT - Hannah Mandel, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Hannah Mandel is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. With around 10,000 Holocau...

Hannah Mandel is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. With around 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles, Hannah has completed a community needs assessment, identifying the most important issues affecting the different survivor communities including survivors from the Former Soviet Union, child survivors, and older survivors. Hannah has used this assessment to develop three new programs for JFS as well as created a manual on how to best work with survivors, which she uses to train volunteers in these programs.

For the first program, Hannah applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the County of Los Angeles to place iPads in the homes of homebound, socially isolated survivors. Hannah approached the LA Museum of the Holocaust and is partnering with their 3rd Generation group, having its members visit survivors at their homes bi-weekly to teach them how to use the iPads, helping them become technologically literate, learn to use applications such as Skype to communicate with family that may be in another state/country, and provide them with routine socialization. This year-long program addresses a population in dire need of new programming.

Secondly, Hannah connected JFS with Nachshon Minyan, a congregation in the San Fernando Valley, where 16 families volunteered to be paired with 16 survivors in the Valley, adopting them into their family for a year (though she expects the relationships will last much longer). These survivors were selected because of their homebound status, social isolation, and/or lack of family in the area. The families will visit the survivors once a month, call bi-weekly, and bring the survivors to services, establishing routine socialization, which will subsequently improve their health.

Furthermore, Hannah developed a monthly art therapy class for survivors, providing another outlet for the survivors to express themselves and socialize with one another. Hannah is honored to be working with the survivor community in Los Angeles, developing relationships with survivors that have changed her life and relationships that will continue well after her time in AmeriCorps VISTA.

Appointment of Interim Executive Director at JFS Northeastern NY

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has appointed Scott Hollander as Interim Execu...

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has appointed Scott Hollander as Interim Executive Director. Scott has spent over 40 years in the Human Resources and Quality Management fields working with start-up companies and those undergoing rapid and dramatic change.

After his retirement, Scott was the Interim Executive Director of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center for nine months. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several nonprofit organizations in Albany County, New York and in Berkshire County in Massachusetts. He has been a Board Member at the Albany Jewish Community Center and also Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany.

JCCA Ametz Adoption Program to Close

Kathy Brodsky has decided to retire from the Jewish Child Care Association at the end of February after 28 years, 6 as a...

Kathy Brodsky has decided to retire from the Jewish Child Care Association at the end of February after 28 years, 6 as a consultant and then 23 years as Director of the Ametz Adoption Program.

Kathy has developed and grown the Ametz Adoption Program almost single-handedly and is recognized in New York, and around the country, as a leader in the field. Her knowledge, expertise and devotion have made Ametz a model for high quality, sensitive and individualized service. Recognizing her contribution to the field, she was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2011.

In light of Kathy's retirement, the difficult and changing world of adoption and the need for JCCA programs to be sustainable and mission central, JCCA's CEO Richard Altman and the JCCA board have made the difficult decision to close Ametz at the end of February.