Caring for our Jewish seniors is a value the Jewish Community Board of Akron (JCBA) holds; it’s also an area we invest in. To better serve our senior adults (as well as other ages), Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA) acquired Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Akron in August 2018.
With oversight from JFSA, the JFS office in Akron continues to primarily focus on older adults, though Susan Bichsel, president & CEO of JFSA, says they would also like to “build up other types of services.”
JFS will still receive allocations from JCBA’s Annual Campaign, which will go toward targeted services and programs that lack funding sources. “These are things that enhance quality of life and are Jewish-focused,” says Bichsel. “Like assisting someone who needs help to getting to a synagogue for services or holding a Chanukah party for senior adults.”
JFS is also working to offer services to Holocaust survivors in Summit County.
“We knew from old records there were survivors in this area,” explains Bichsel. “Through working with the Claims Conference and people locally, we determined there were several dozen. [Thus far,] we have identified 19; we know there are more.”
The Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) has provided funding to JFS for services for this population (and to find additional survivors). However, campaign dollars “will help fund administration of some of these services—like assessment and meeting with clients (case management).”
Bichsel adds “The definition of survivor has evolved; it now includes people who were forced to flee their homes or who lived in a ghetto. You can have up to $500,000 in assets and still qualify.” If you think you or someone you know might qualify, contact the JFS Akron office at 330-867-3388.
In the spring, JFS plans to add a staff member responsible for Holocaust survivor outreach. They have already added a mental health worker. This year, JFSA will be working with an oversight committee from the JFS board to carefully plan and determine the direction of JFS Akron.
When you make a gift to JCBA's 2019 Annual Campaign, you help support Jewish seniors in Akron.