April 12, 2024
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400 Attend Inaugural Breakfast for JFS Passaic-Clifton

Garfield—More than 400 people attended the Jewish Family Service of Clifton-Passaic’s inaugural breakfast at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ. The guest of honor was Rabbi Heshie Hirth, Dean of the Yeshiva K’tana of Passaic. Rabbi Hirth told the audience he believes that “anybody who helps nurture Jewish Family Service and helps make it happen will have a share in Olam Ha’ba (the World to Come).” Rabbi Hirth spoke passionately about the importance of the work of Jewish Family Service (JFS) and the excellent work they do helping our neighbors who are in pain.

The Somaich Achim Award was presented to longtime JFS board member and Somaich Achim founder, Alan Gutmann, who spoke candidly of his own experience being on the JFS board and how it has enriched his life. He implored people to “open your hearts and assist this organization that is helping so many.”

Noted therapist and philanthropist Dr. Sandy Rappaport was awarded the JFS Advocacy Award for her indefatigable support of JFS’s clients and staff. Dr. Rappaport said, “I cry as I see the trauma and poverty in the faces of JFS’s clients. I am begging you to help me. You, as members of the community, must help me help these traumatized people. I, myself, have given over $200,000 in the past year and a half and I ask you to join me in giving to JFS.” With her support, JFS proudly unveiled the Dr. Sandy Rappaport Trauma Center for Children and Families.

JFS Executive Director, Esther East, said the Jewish people are no strangers to trauma: “It’s part of our heritage and history.” She drew a parallel between how the Jewish people dealt with their traumatic experience as slaves in Egypt and how JFS helps individuals in their own personal recovery after suffering from challenging experiences.

The impressive turnout is a testament to the pivotal role JFS plays in the Passaic-Clifton community and beyond. Programs run by JFS include: the community case management program—Somaich Achim; the vocational assistance program—Project Chizuk; the domestic violence and sexual abuse prevention program— Project S.A.R.A.H.; the Sequoia program for senior citizens, as well as child, adult, and family counseling for individuals and groups.

The broad cross section of the Passaic-Clifton community represented the clientele that benefit from JFS’s services. A community member said, “It was a truly amazing event. Being there felt like being wrapped in a big hug.”

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