Transitions in Jewish Community Services

Transitions in Jewish Community Services

by Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services

Shorter days, cooler temperatures, football and and the sweetness of apples dipped in honey.  All signs that we are in the midst of transitioning to a new season and a New Year.

Several of our programs at JCFS Chicago are also transitioning to better serve the community. It's clear that the months ahead will be filled with energy!  Shanah Tovah - may this New Year be filled with health, happiness and peace.

Jewish Chaplaincy Services: The Jewish Chaplaincy Initiative

As more and more individuals age in place the gaps in fulfilling the need for spiritual and pastoral support continues to expand.  And while there is much that our community already offers, many hospitals, long-term care facilities and hospices, isolated families and homebound older adults still remain underserved.  That’s why – with support from the Jewish Federation’s Fund for Innovation in Health (underwritten by Michael Reese Health Trust) and a JUF Breakthrough Fund grant – our illness, loss and spiritual support is excited to offer Jewish Chaplaincy Programs: The Jewish Chaplaincy Community Initiative.  

In coordination with the Chicago Board of Rabbis, CJE SeniorLife and a diversity of community partners, Jewish Chaplaincy Programs will be launched over the next months as a two-year pilot in the Chicago City North area.  The overall goal of Jewish Chaplaincy Programs is to provide welcoming and easily accessible pastoral support to Jewish individuals, families and institutions across denominations, lifespan, language, culture and traditions, regardless of affiliation.  Amy Schwartz, Jewish Chaplaincy Programs Project Coordinator, will be sharing more updates in the months ahead.  

Feel free to contact Amy Schwartz or 847.745.5456.

HIAS Chicago (a program of JCFS)

HIAS Chicago was awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of State to continue and increase resettlement efforts.  This is familiar territory for HIAS Chicago.  Founded to assist Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the early 1900s, HIAS Chicago has been addressing the needs of various immigrant and refugee groups from around the world for more than 150 years.  

HIAS Chicago was particularly instrumental in the resettlement of Jews from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and in the last 40 years, has assisted over 40,000 immigrants and refugees from the FSU, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America.  The new contract opens the door to many opportunities for congregational and community engagement.  

For more information, contact HIAS Chicago Director Jessica Schaffer or 312.673.3232.


Response is JCFS’s program for teens and young adults aged 12-24. On November 22nd  Response will relocate to a new fully accessible building at 3033 N. Touhy in Chicago  (next to the Bernard Horwich JCC).  All Response programs and services will continue; in fact, this relocation will allow many of the programs to expand.  Counseling will be available at both the new Touhy facility as well as the JCFS offices located at 5150 Golf Road, Skokie.  

Response, in partnership with Mt. Sinai Hospital, will continue to provide prevention-based education, emotional support, testing and reproductive health care for young adults.  Response’s Outreach Team will also be out and about in schools and synagogues, and throughout the community providing experiential, prevention-based education to teens, professionals and parents.

For more information, contact Robin Stein, Director of Response or 224.625.2900.