News

Thanks to the generosity of legacy donors, Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York was able to award five scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students scholarships to help with their college-related expenses. To be considered for a scholarship, applicants were asked to write a brief essay on their understanding of Jewish Family Services’ impact on the community and suggest innovative ways for college-aged people to support JFS’s mission to serve those in need.

The 2021-22 Awardees:

 

SARAH BEARDEN was awarded $2,000 from the Hessberg Trust. She is a freshman at Columbia University studying Civil Engineering.

DAVID BERIN received $1,000 from the JFS Combined Scholarship Fund*. Hailing from Bethlehem, he is currently a freshman at UCLA.

ELIJAH FERET was awarded $1,000 from the David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund. A member of Agudat Achim in Schenectady, he is a sophomore at Catholic University of America studying Biomedical Engineering on the premed track.

DANIEL GULKO received $1,000 from the David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund. He is in the MD program at Albany Medical College and is interested in studying Neurology.

SHIRLY TSUR-MAGEN received $1,000 from the JFS Combined Scholarship Fund*. She is a former JFS intern and is working towards a Master’s in Social Work at the University at Albany, SUNY.

 

“Leaving a legacy can be done in many ways. It is particularly special to leave a portion of a person’s estate to a charitable organization for the good use of the organization and related uses, said Jane Ginsburg, president & CEO at JFS. “We are honored to steward planned gifts from donors who established scholarships in their Wills for the organization to distribute.”

 

JFS scholarships of $1,000-$2,000 are now available to support Jewish students with college-related expenses. Scholarships are made possible by:

  • The David and Rose Udelson Bray Scholarship Fund
  • The Hessberg Trust
  • The JFS Scholarship Fund*

Eligibility requirements vary per scholarship. Students must be residents of Albany, the surrounding area, or attend college or graduate school locally. Applicants must be at least 17 years old and be currently enrolled in an accredited college or university for the 2021-2022 academic year.

To be considered for a 2021-22 JFS scholarship, applicants must complete a brief online form , which includes writing a brief essay on

  1. Their understanding of Jewish Family Services’ impact on and for the community, and
  2. Suggest innovative ideas on how college students can support the mission of JFS and serve those in need.

Preference will be given to applicants who express interest in volunteering with JFS.

The deadline is Friday, September 10, 2021.

The recipients will be selected from submissions and will be awarded their scholarship in late September. Please note we may choose to use the winning entry in JFS publicity and marketing communications.

* This fund is currently made up of the following funds: Frederick DeBeer Scholarship, Jewish Family Services Scholarship, Beatrice B. Levy Scholarship, George M. Simon Scholarship (restricted to a resident of Albany) and the Eli Werlin Scholarship.

Apply online here.

Thanks to the generosity of a grant from the B’nai B’rith Gideon Lodge Fund, a component of The Jewish Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, JFS is now providing a $1,000 stipend to a Jewish high school student or college freshman under 18 years old willing to help JFS fulfill its mission to help and support the more vulnerable members of our community.

This is a great opportunity for a student to give back to their community, while gaining valuable volunteer experience.

The hours are flexible, roughly 2-5 hours per week depending on projects. Activities may include driving* for Project 5, shopping and delivering groceries for the homebound, or creating a fundraising program to benefit the more vulnerable in our community (see our latest Two of a Kind Program). Other ideas? We welcome your compassion and creativity. 

To apply, please complete this brief application.

Scholarship is for the 2021-22 academic year and will be paid in two disbursements. Student will be paired with a staff person to support their efforts.

Decisions will be made by the end of September with activity to start soon thereafter.

*A New York State driver’s license in good standing and reliable transportation is required.

The TWO OF A KIND program helps children in need start the school year on the right foot!

Parents & Organizations

If you or someone you know has a child that needs new shoes for the school year, please sign up here by Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
Once purchased, we will make arrangements to have the shoes delivered to your home. Please know that children’s names will remain anonymous. Only their shoes size, preferences, etc. will be communicated to donors.

Donors
If you would like to purchase shoes or make a donation so that a child in need has new shoes for school, please complete this short form.
For donors who opt to shop for the shoes, we will email you a list of shoe selection options on August 20th so that you can go shoe shopping! We encourage you to Make it FUN and Brighten a Child’s Day! Donors can include a card or note in the shoe box. Maybe add a book, stickers, fun pencils — little things that fit right in the box with the shoes.

You’ll be asked to wrap the box and include the child’s information on the box so we can match your gift to the correct child. 
Shoe drop off will be required by September 1.Drop off location is JFS, 184 Washington Ave Extension, Albany NY 12203.
If you are unable to do the shopping but want to help, we welcome donations on behalf of this project and will use the funds to purchase shoes, on your behalf, for our community youth.
Thank You Helping Provide a Little Soul, Sole for Children in Your Community!

 

Jewish Family Services (JFS) of Northeastern New York, in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel and the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, is delighted to bring Rabbi Amiel Monson (who prefers to go by ‘Rabbi Ami’) to the Capital Region. Rabbi Ami will provide spiritual connection and support for residents in independent and long-term care facilities, and pastoral care and bereavement support for the community at large. Rabbi Ami is stepping into the role that for nearly 25 years was served by Rabbi Beverly Magidson.

“I am excited to join the Capital Region community as the new Community Chaplain, and I am honored to continue the program whose foundation was created by Rabbi Bev. I have deep respect for her mentorship as I become familiar with the role. I thank Jewish Family Services, Daughters of Sarah, the Jewish Federation, and Temple Israel for helping ensure this incredible program continues and that I am able to provide services, support, and pastoral care to residents of the greater Albany Jewish community,” said Rabbi Ami Monson.

Originally from Philadelphia, Rabbi Ami spent the last seven years on the West Coast in a range of positions including spiritual support and counseling for elder residents at Los Angeles Jewish Home and The Nest (Los Angeles, CA) and Youth Director at Valley Beth Shalom (Encino, CA). His work with older adults was pivotal in his realization of being called to work with the aging population as a rabbi. Rabbi Ami graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) with a BA in Comparative Religion and a certificate in Jewish Studies. He went on to achieve three master’s degrees from Gratz College (Elkins Park, PA) — in Jewish Education, Jewish Communal Service, and Jewish Studies. He graduated The Academy for Jewish Religion (California) and was recently ordained. He follows generations of family rabbis, including his father, and maternal grandfather, who served at Temple Beth El in Troy in the 1940’s, and great grandfather. 

Jane Ginsburg, President & CEO of Jewish Family Services, said, “When I learned that Rabbi Ami Monson was looking for a fulfilling opportunity, I was delighted. Ami and I met in college and connected through Hillel – Ami was the guy that everyone knew and everyone liked, and most importantly, he liked everyone back. Though we were only in touch via Facebook, it was clear that he not only hadn’t changed, but he’d also only expanded his networks and used his special gift of making someone feel seen and heard daily. I’m thrilled he, likewise, saw the value in this role and had the faith in us to move his young family across the country to join us as JFS and at Daughters.”

“For the last 2+ decades, Rabbi Bev has provided essential nurturing and healing pastoral care to our seniors living in nursing and assisted living facilities. She has done so with love and dedication, enhancing the lives of our loved ones. As Jewish Federation hands off this program to Jewish Family Services, we wish Rabbi Bev well in her retirement and warmly welcome Rabbi Ami to our community and wish him every success,” said Rob Kovach, President & CEO of Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.

Rabbi Bev Magidson, who served as Community Chaplain for 25 years, said, “Jewish residents of independent and long-term care facilities (whether they are skilled nursing or assisted living facilities) may be the only Jewish resident or part of a very small group.  They may be isolated by unit or floor. Chaplaincy Services brings Jewish cultural and religious practices to these residents, with familiar foods, music, or prayers.  The program also sends regular newsletters to help activities directors infuse Yiddishkeit to the programs and in honor of the Jewish holidays. Through the chaplain’s outreach residents know that their community cares about them!!”

“We are thrilled to have Rabbi Ami join the Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors. Our chaplaincy services form a critical element of our mission to provide to the aged members of our community ‘excellent health care and social service care Jewishly,’  Guided and informed by our exceptional Jewish heritage, we expect that Ami will continue to strengthen that Jewish operational focus — a focus the remains unique to Daughters of Sarah,” said Mark Koblenz Chief Executive Officer for Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors. 

“Temple Israel is proud to stand with our community partners to help bring Rabbi Ami to the community. We know that Rabbi Ami will be a true asset for the entire Albany Jewish Community, and we are proud to step up and help ensure our community and region benefit from his experience and pastoral care,” said Gary Ginsburg, President at Temple Israel.

This Chaplaincy program under Jewish Family Services is provided in partnership with Daughters of Sarah Community for Seniors, Temple Israel, Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, B’nai B’rith Gideon Foundation and the Theodore Strauss Fund (A restricted fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York). In addition to working in long-term care facilities, Rabbi Ami will provide grief and loss support as needed and as appropriate throughout the community, and will be a key asset to the JFS team to ground the agency’s activities in the Jewish values of its foundation.

Spearheaded by Jewish Family Services, we have a team of volunteers and professionals ready to help you get your COVID-19 vaccine. While we are not a point of distribution for the vaccine, we can register with you or for you. There is already a waiting list, as we all learn how to navigate the system, and information pushed out by the state and counties is updated daily.

Whether you need help registering or getting to your appointment, we want to help. Call JFS’ main number at (518) 482-8856*. If you live in the NNORC, feel free to call that number directly, 518-514-2023*.

 

HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW

Albany County
Individuals 65 and older who live in Albany County can call the Sheriff’s office to be placed on a waitlist for a vaccination appointment. 
Call 518-720-8036, Monday-Friday from8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When the vaccine becomes available, they will be offering drive-through appointments at:
Albany County Sheriff’s Department
Public Safety Building
58 Verda Avenue
Clarksville, NY

They will also schedule appointments in the home for those who are homebound due to medical needs and require ambulance service. 

This is a two step process:

  1. You call the Sheriff’s office and give them your name, phone number, and age.
  2. When they get their allotment of vaccines, they will call you to schedule an appointment time.

Schenectady County
Schenectady County Public Health Services (SCPHS) is registering individuals to receive the vaccine. At this time, SCPHS vaccination is only available to individuals in Schenectady County who qualify according to the State’s eligibility criteria. (Please note, while the state will vaccinate those 65 and older, Schenectady County’s age limit is 75 and older.) Here is the link to their online pre-registration form. Once your form has been submitted, County staff will contact you when appointments are available.

Schoharie County
Schoharie county is also registering individuals to receive the vaccine. Here is a link to their online form. They will contact you once they receive their allotment and will schedule a vaccination appointment with you.

Rensselaer County
At this time, Rensselaer County is using the NYS vaccine system.

There are two ways to schedule an appointment through the NYS system: online registration and telephone.

ONLINE REGISTRATION
This link will take you to the NYS online form.
NOTE: You must have an active email address OR a mobile phone that accepts text messages to use this online form. The state requires this so that they are able to contact you. If you do not have email or the ability to receive text messages, please plan to schedule your appointment via telephone. JFS volunteers are available to help you with the email requirement and we can print your vaccine authorization once you are scheduled.

TELEPHONE REGISTRATION
Call the vaccination hotline: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
NOTE: The hotline is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Albany County forged a partnership with Mohawk Ambulance to ensure senior citizens unable to travel from their homes for the vaccine will have the vaccine brought to them. Individual stops to senior living communities and senior residents of single-family homes will be available if they sign up for the vaccine.

PATIENCE IS KEY
Please be patient when trying to schedule an appointment as only a limited number of vaccines and appointments are available at this time.

Please see this important message from the Capital Region Hub – Regional Vaccine Network. Most importantly is to visit capitalregionvax.org for the most up-to-date vaccine information.

BE INFORMED
The Albany Times Union published a detailed article on vaccination for individuals over 65 years of age. Read it here:

Read some frequently asked questions about the vaccine.

*Please note that JFS is closed on the weekends. All calls will be return in the order they are received and as quickly as possible.

Jane Ginsburg, President and CEO of JFS NENY, is hosting a discussion on Sunday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the JCC of Schenectady’s annual film festival. The featured film is the 2018 French romantic comedy “My Polish Honeymoon” about a newlywed Jewish couple who visit Poland to attempt to connect with their ancestral roots. The film will be available for virtual viewing June 11-13 with the purchase of a ticket ($6 per person for JCC members, $11 for nonmembers). Please visit http://www.schenectadyjcc.org/events/jewish-film-festival/ to purchase tickets.

As reported in this week’s Jewish World, we are honored and excited to have WNYT’s own Benita Zahn as the host and emcee of our 2nd Annual Mensches and Mimosas virtual event on May 23rd! Here, we will honor and celebrate 23 different Mensches from organizations all across the Capital Region. We hope you will join us in recognizing the selfless work and dedication of these volunteers, workers, and friends- and have some fun in the process!

To learn more about our celebration, become a sponsor, and support the services of JFS, please visit our event informational page.

The community’s response to our 2nd Annual Mensches & Mimosas community-wide celebration of mensches has been astounding!  We honored 23 men and women who selflessly give their time, their passions, and their hard work throughout our community.

As part of this celebration, Herman Ungerman received the Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for his commitment to serving humanity with humility and for acting as a role model for future generations. This is evident by his loving family, who continue to carry on the legacy of philanthropy.

VIEW OUR VIRTUAL CELEBRATION HERE!

 
Facebook @JFSNENY or
YouTube

If you still wish to support your mensch and JFS, here’s how:

  • Make your contribution here.
  • Print and mail in your form here.
  • Call JFS and process credit card payment: 518-482-8856

If you have any questions, please call Monica Tan at 518-516-1104 or email jfsevent@jfsneny.org.

Thanks for Supporting JFS and our Honorable Menschen

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The Massry Family

03/19/2021

Mazel Tov to all of this year’s Mensches! We are grateful to have you in our community.

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The Stern Blumenthal Family

04/07/2021

In honour of our Evy and Larry- the ultimate mensches- with love from Michael, Debbie and all the kiddies- always so proud...

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Mindy & Jesse Holland

03/31/2021

Mazel Tov to the Family of Victor Friedman, Evy & Larry Farbstein, Gail Kendall, Rona & Louis-Jack Pozner, Ilene Sykes, Gordon… Read more

Mazel Tov to the Family of Victor Friedman, Evy & Larry Farbstein, Gail Kendall, Rona & Louis-Jack Pozner, Ilene Sykes, Gordon Zuckerman & all the other mensches.

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Nanette & Arthur Brenner

03/31/2021

Kol Ha-Kavod to our dear friends Evy and Larry Farbstein and to all the inspiring nominees.

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Lee & Donna Rosen

04/01/2021

Mazel Tov to the menschen - in grateful appreciation for all that you do for our community.

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Sally & Jeff Stern

04/08/2021

In honor of Judy Gaies Kahn, a wonderful generous friend, we love you and all you do for the community!

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Joyce Hellman Bookstein

03/22/2021
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Karen Glaser

03/22/2021
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Gilah & Dr. Eric Moses

04/13/2021
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Ungerman Electric

04/01/2021

"The highest form of wisdom is kindness" The Talmud. Thank you and congratulations to all the very wise and kind mensches being… Read more

"The highest form of wisdom is kindness" The Talmud. Thank you and congratulations to all the very wise and kind mensches being honored. To Herm Ungerman who we are so proud of and grateful for, happy 90th birthday. May you go from strength to strength and reach 120 years. From all of us at Ungerman Electric.

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Barry & Sara Lee Larner

03/24/2021

To our true Mensch, Bruce Ginsburg. With love, Sara Lee & Barry Larner.

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Joy Davidoff & James Finale

03/22/2021

Appreciating all Mensches and all they do.

As part of the 2nd Annual Mensches & Mimosas celebration on May 23, 2021 at 11 a.m., JFS will recognize Herman Mendel Ungerman with the Anschel Weiss Community Builders Award for his commitment to serving humanity with humility and for acting as a role model for future generations.  This is evident by his loving family, who continue to carry on the legacy of philanthropy.

A native Albanian with a rich commitment to family and community that spans throughout his years, Herm is the epitome of a community builder, supporter and champion. A mensch among mensches, when he was informed of the honor, he remarked that what he was most proud of was that his children had continued in his footsteps. JFS is proud to honor him for his lifetime of service and dedication.

His many leadership positions are inspiring and include serving as board president of Congregation Beth Abraham Jacob (three times); the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York, and Daughters of Sarah Senior Community.

Herm graduated from Philip Schuyler High School in 1949 and started working as a teen and worked as a soda jerk (his description) and a number of other jobs. As a man who understood the value of sharing his earnings, from a young age Herm ensured that his ever-so-proud momma, Bessie Ungerman, was always well-cared for. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict and then married his Hebrew school classmate, Devera (Deb) Proskin Ungerman (z”l) — together they raised their two daughters, Susan Ungerman and Michelle Sanders. He subsequently formed and operated his own electrical contracting business — Herm Ungerman, Inc.  In 2006, he retired, passing the baton to his son-in-law Gerard Bobersky, and his daughter Susan. When Gerard tragically died 3 months later, Herm, the consummate mensch, understood the need for his continued involvement and postponed his retirement plans for himself (as did his beloved wife) in order to help his daughter and grandchildren navigate the traumatic event and aid Susan’s corporate leadership.

Herm and Deb were married for 60 years. For them, there was nothing that took precedence over their children and seven grandchildren. With all his “after school events”, Herm, most commonly known at home as Mendel, was faithfully home for dinner every night. He was, and continues to be, a dedicated son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather.

Herm celebrates his 90th birthday on May 19, 2021 and it seemed only fitting to grant him another award for his outstanding leadership, acts of kindness and commitment to building our community. In addition to the leadership roles listed above, Herm also served on the boards of: Hebrew Academy of the Capital District; the Albany Jewish Community Center; Parsons Child and Family Center (Northern Rivers); United Way of Northeastern New York; the Chapel House Interfaith Center at SUNY Albany; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America; the Albany Senior Service Center Foundation; Hope House; and Jewish War Veterans Post #105’s Executive Committee.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including and with his wife Deb (z”l) the JCC Pillars Award; Leukemia Society Man of the Year Award; the David Ben-Gurion Israel Bonds Award; the B’nai B’rith Covenant Award; the Hope House Recognition Award; the Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award; a Fifty Years of Dedicated Service to Our Community Award and a Communal Recognition Award from Yeshiva University. Receiving the JFS Anschel Weiss Community Builder’s Award from is the icing on his huge cake.

Past recipients of this award include David Alan Miller, Jean Becker, Amy Klein, Fred Erlich, Mara Ginsberg, Chanie Simon, Rabbi Beverly Magidson, The Golub Family, Jerry & Ilene Sykes, Michael Castellana, Steve Lobel, Morris and Esther Massry, Dr. Mark Sullivan and Representative Michael McNulty.

Join us for our virtual celebration of Herm and 23 exemplary mensches from 20 area organizations on May 23, 2021 at 11 a.m.

A complete list of honorable menschen is here. Sponsorships, Honorary Committee and tributes are available here or by calling 518-482-8856.

PROVIDING SUPPORT, SERVICES & RESOURCES FOR OUR COMMUNITY