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Building Collaboration Within Our Own Community

Building Collaboration Within Our Own Community

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Building Collaboration Within Our Own Community

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  1. Building Collaboration Within Our Own Community The Challenge of Establishing JFS as a trusted service provider

  2. Scenario • Demographic Change of the Community • Clients • Funding • Board – Dedicated, long established, not from the mainstream new population

  3. Issue • Developing the trust of the new orthodox community in the local JFS • Integrating the Board and their energy with the new demography

  4. Identity elements of Passaic/Clifton orthodox Jewish community • Pre-existing Jewish community that had been established in Passaic for more than 50 years. Many of the founding families have relocated south and west. • New orthodox community that behaves as if they are the first Jews in the area. • Current community growing at rate of 100 families/year. • Built around the “Yeshiva Gedolah,” a world class Talmudic Institute of Higher learning

  5. Role of Yeshiva Gedolah • Rabbis and the majority of shuls defacto look towards the Rosh Yeshiva for guidance on sensitive community issues • Mental health is a sensitive community issue

  6. Approach • As the orthodox Jewish population has grown, the JFS clientele has also changed. • Over 50% of current counseling cases are from the local orthodox Jewish community • The largest Orthodox elementary school subcontracted with JFS for a school based social worker

  7. Dilemma • Funding from the Orthodox community was virtually non-existent despite numerous mailings and events that targeted the community – Uncle Moshe concert, Simply Tsfat, lectures

  8. Funding issues • Orthodox community funds many charitable causes →school scholarships →food for low income families →non-insured or underinsured families with medical needs →families with deceased parent →Rosh Yeshiva endorsed case management program • JFS did not have official endorsement of Rosh Yeshiva

  9. Initial Approach • Met with all Synagogue Rabbis • Met with Rosh Yeshiva • Held parlor meeting • Results → Nothing

  10. Second attempt • Existing community case management program closed • Void in community service delivery for high risk families was obvious • JFS offered to fill the void • Approached Rosh Yeshiva for blessing and counsel

  11. Steps post “Rosh Yeshiva endorsement” • Set up fund called “Somech Achim” Lit. Sustaining our Brothers • Set up community advisory group – each member selected to represent significant constituency in the community – three local Rabbis, two educators, an attorney, a highly respected local mental health provider, head of the local food distribution group • Set up finance committee

  12. Targeted funding approach • Identified 100 potential funders for “somech achim” individual meetings with finance committee • Targeted each synagogue for Shabbat appeal and synagogue liaison • Planned major community event with local Rabbinic speakers, Rabbi Abraham Twerski, and donor recognition breakfast

  13. Outcome • Group has raised $175,000 for the community case management program at JFS • Agency has been able to expand services by hiring case managers. Members from the orthodox community who were being seen at low cost as part of agency mission are now receiving subsidized treatment through the program. Case management services are available to all agency Jewish clients

  14. Challenges • Confidentiality and boundary issues constant in a program so intimately connected to local community. Case managers live in the community. Community expectations of JFS to handle problems without standard referral practices. • Example – Many issues surrounding child abuse and potential referrals to the New Jersey child protective agency DYFS. JFS director invited local DYFS representative to speak to Rabbis so they would understand the issues. 30% came to the meeting. “The energy for this should not have come from you thinking this is a problem. It should have emanated from a discussion with local Rabbis about the problem, with their request for the meeting.

  15. Board challenge • Largely non-orthodox board interfacing with the needs and demands of the orthodox community • Key elements – open discussion, agree to disagree on strategies, recognition that there is great emotional sensitivity to the “us vs them” distinctions • Ultimate position – we are a social service agency serving people in need, not a religious institution