Visiting Yad Vashem: An illegal photograph and a shoemaker whose children have no shoes.

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

I hadn't been to Yad Vashem in more than 25 years. Established in 1953, it is the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Here, too, much had changed, and much remained the same. The location is as breathtaking as I remembered it to be: set high on Mt. Herzl, overlooking Jerusalem, with an expansive vista of hazy mountains, clusters of Cyprus trees and the golden city below. There are pristine connecting paths and spaces between the visitors center, the main museum, the museum of holocaust art, the hall of names, the research buildings, the beautiful gardens and memorial sculptures throughout the grounds of this world-renowned memorial center. There are plenty of places to pause, to think, to feel, to attempt to take in the enormity.

Read more

The International Oral History Conference at Hebrew University in Jerusalem

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

Judy Kaplan-Weinger and I take the light rail to Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus), the main campus of Hebrew University.  This is where – more than 30 years ago, as a University of Michigan undergraduate – I had embarked on my study of social identity in American and Israeli women. In Israel, I had worked under the mentorship of Dr. Amia Lieblich – a professor of oral history who will be the keynote speaker of the conference I'm attending. Once again, I find myself looking back at then, now.

Read more

Finding Connection to the Holocaust and Hamburg, in Jerusalem

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

I take the bus to Jerusalem on Friday, arriving before Shabbat to meet my friend and co-researcher, Judy Kaplan-Weinger. We meet at the apartment I've rented for our stay in Jerusalem. It’s in a beautiful old building around the corner from the Bezalel Art School and located within walking distance of the city center and beyond it, the Old City. The chamseen (hot desert wind) has passed, and the weather is sunny and clear, with a perfect temperature for strolling and exploring.

Read more

For Child of Holocaust Survivor, Professional and Personal Meet at Looking at Then, Now

By Dr. Yonit Hoffman, Manager, Holocaust Community Services

This is the first blog of “Yonit’s Journey: Light Out of Darkness,” a narrative of Yonit Hoffman’s month-long trip to Israel and Germany to attend Holocaust-related events – some public, some personal. The director of JCFS’s Holocaust Services program and an authority on the psychology of Holocaust survivors, Yonit is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and descendant of Holocaust victims.

Read more

Light Out of Darkness: Yonit Hoffman to Blog a Journey of Holocaust Discovery

“Yonit” is a Hebrew name – literally “dove of peace” – given by Holocaust survivor Gershon Hoffman to his daughter when she was born in Israel.

Yonit, who lost her grandparents and uncle in the Holocaust, grew up to become a Jewish Child & Family Services manager of the Holocaust Community Services program, a joint effort of JCFS Chicago, CJE SeniorLife, and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. It is one of the busiest and most important social service programs in the Jewish community.

Read more

For Parents of Young Adults with Disabilities, Heichal Home Provides a Vision for the Future

By Chris Krapek

When you walk into the beautiful two-flat in Rogers Park, you’ll smell the food being prepared.

The three residents love to make cuisine from all around the world. They research countries  and customs, cook the meal and maybe even host a few friends. From now until the end of the year, they’ve got every dinner and its theme planned out.

Read more

Ask A Clinician: Tips for Traveling with a Child

Q: We are planning an upcoming trip to see Grandma and Grandpa, but are nervous about traveling with our child who has autism. Do you have any suggestions to help?

A: A vacation or a trip can be an exciting adventure, but sometimes, getting there is the hardest part. When traveling with a child with autism, one of the best things you can do is have a plan.

Traveling can be a stressful experience on anyone.

Read more

Breaking Bad: An Intervention For Bad Habits

by Anthony Tucci, MA, Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern

Do you bite your nails, smoke, spend too much money, overeat, lose your temper or play on Facebook for hours?

So much of my work with kids, parents, adults, and couples involves helping people to break patterns of behavior, or habits, which interfere with their goals. Sometimes we work together to start healthy habits and sometimes we work to stop unhealthy ones.  Most often, we work to do both.

Read more

Fairness: What Does it Really Mean?

By Debra Cardash

“It’s not fair!”  If we had a dollar for every time a child said this phrase, we would all be millionaires.  A working definition of fairness and clear steps to achieve fairness will foster our children’s growth – so this article will focus on how to define fairness, conceive of ownership, distinguish “nice” from “fair” and achieve fair outcomes.

Read more

The Importance Of Foster Parents

By Marc Bermann, Foster Parent Recruiter

There are approximately 20,000 children in foster care in the state of Illinois.

50% of them have chronic medical problems; 30% are victims of various forms of abuse and neglect. Many of them have significant issues of attachment and loss resulting from childhood trauma.

Prior to foster care, sometimes these children are removed from their home and taken into protective custody by the state.  They may be placed in a temporary shelter or substitute care with a relative. Biological parents can terminate their parental rights by choice or court mandate.

Read more