Volunteer Profile: Ken Obel

HIAS (founded as Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) Immigration & Citizenship volunteer Ken Obel’s reason for honoring the Jewish value of ‘helping the stranger’ began long before he was born.

“Like most people’s in this country, my family story involves immigrants, and for Jewish people, it’s often not that long ago,” said Ken.

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Donor Profile: Alexis and Jerry Bednyak

Alexis and Jerry Bednyak have become a driving force in Chicago’s philanthropic community. In 2016, the couple founded the Alexis and Jerry Bednyak Foundation to support a variety of causes, including immigrant and refugee rights, educational inequities, medical research, and children’s mental health. While their reach is broad, the couple focuses on “paying it forward” by donating to causes they are personally connected to.

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Financial Assistance Supported a Family in Transition

In partnership with the Jewish United Fund (JUF), JCFS Chicago’s Financial Assistance Program has issued $2.2 million to people in the community since May 2020. Clients typically receive food assistance and help paying utility bills and several months of rent. However, certain cases require JCFS’ dedicated caseworkers to go above and beyond simply providing financial relief and look at additional supports that could help people get to a better place in life.  

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Crisis In Ukraine

JCFS Chicago is devastated by the events unfolding in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people, and with those in our community who are working resolutely to get family and friends to safety.

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Donor Profile

Ben Arkes was born in Chicago in 1922. His father, Pinches, was a Ukrainian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1910 with no resources and limited English proficiency. Ben was one of five children, and though his father was an incredibly hard-working man, the family struggled with poverty, often going without meals. His upbringing had a profound impact on Ben’s altruism later in life.

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