April 20, 2024
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Celebrating Our Community’s Social Workers

Although I am not sure of the reason for the particular month, I am pleased that the month of March has been declared as national Social Work Recognition Month. It is with this in mind that I am asking you to join with me in recognizing our community’s social workers and in particular those who have chosen to dedicate their professional careers as social workers who each day support the many needs of our MetroWest Jewish community.

A few years ago, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, our community’s family service agency, marked its milestone 150th anniversary. When the volunteer founders from B’nai Abraham, B’nai Jeshurun, and Oheb Shalom came together to create an effort to support the “needy among us,” little did they imagine that many years later, their effort would be sustained and carried forth by a well-established community agency. Today, JFS of MetroWest provides an extensive array of social work services, both within JFS offices (located in Florham Park and Livingston), within many MetroWest sister agencies and synagogues, as well as within community member homes. Indeed, JFS has truly become an “agency without walls,” ensuring the delivery of professional social work services in their truest form, wherever they are most needed.

Behind the programs and services, the phone lines, the social media posts, and the emails, there stands a team of dedicated and professional social workers, each of whom entered the field of social work with a desire to make a difference in the community. The JFS social work team is a highly trained professional network that works together each day to respond with the highest degree of professionalism, utilizing the latest in evidence-based modalities, to address the lifecycle challenges of our community with dignity and respect. This team should truly be thought of as “unsung heroes” who support, strengthen, and advance our community each day.

Their work each day is influenced by some successes and challenges.

Today’s success is that JFS services are seen as “essential” to the well-being of the MetroWest community. Today’s success is that the community (all income levels, all education levels, and all denomination levels) turns to JFS for a professional and caring response to life’s challenges.

Today’s challenge, that follows from such success, is that the stress caused by the faltering economy has placed greater demands on JFS services, while traditional funding sources have been cutting resources, while also increasing regulatory hurdles. Today’s challenge is that despite what our agency brand indicates, that we’re “Here to Help,” those who do receive support continue to keep that support in confidence—the stigma and shame that accompanies turning to JFS challenges the fundraising and community support that the Agency so desperately needs.

Together with my colleagues at JFS MetroWest, we are humbled by the trust that has been placed in us to support those who turn to JFS, and we are honored to recognize our professional social worker staff, who each day personify the “heart and soul” of our community.

By Reuben D. Rotman, Executive Director Jewish Family Service of MetroWest

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