Attend a Lunch and Learn in Natick on July 30th ⁠– Staying Safe…Self-Defense Strategies For Older Adults

What: Please come join Debi Nau, Certified Self-Defense Instructor, for a 90 minute lunch and discussion to learn strategies and defense techniques to avoid being victimized in unsafe situations.   Participants will learn many strategies and options that will give them a much better advantage if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.  We invite anyone who is interested to attend.

Empower yourself to make educated decisions in dangerous situations!  Although there are no guarantees that these strategies will eliminate the possibility of avoiding or prevailing in a confrontation, they provide you with a better advantage if you have to make a choice about your survival should you need to.  This program will help you prepare and have a plan to avoid a physical attack, con or scam.

Learn to make educated decisions in your response to unsafe conditions!

Tuesday July 30, 2019
12:00-1:30 PM

Temple Israel of Natick
145 Hartford Street
Natick, MA 01760

$4 Preregistered Admission
$6 at the door

Click here to register for this event online.

Contact Abrielle Salloway
508-875-3100 x 360

Download the flyer (PDF)

Posted in Healthy Aging, Jewish Community, Lunch and Learn, Older Adults, Upcoming Events, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , ,

JFS Celebrates Our Most Recently Naturalized Citizenship Clients!

All photos courtesy of Sheldon Golder

This past Thursday on July 11th, JFS of Metrowest held a celebration to honor our clients that have recently gained US citizenship through our Citizenship for New Americans Program (CNAP). In the past year alone, JFS has assisted clients from across the world including Haiti, Russia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Egypt, China, Peru, Cameroon, Japan, Ghana, Uzbekistan, India, Colombia and many more countries – largely representing the diverse cultural fabric of the Metrowest area we proudly serve.

As a potluck event, we were fortunate to have clients bring in delicious dishes and desserts from their own cultures. We enjoyed homemade baklava, delicious dumplings, fried yucca, true Italian pasta, tasty meatballs and more! Among the favorites was a cake decorated to resemble an American flag, the work of one of our own citizenship caseworkers, Maggie Kenney.

The evening allowed clients to mingle, sharing the reasons they chose to apply for citizenship and experiences becoming officially naturalized. Family members shared what it meant to them, with some expressing hope to become citizens in the future as well. JFS staff were also thankful for the opportunity to catch up with clients they had not seen in months. To end the evening, the new Americans shared what becoming a citizen meant to them.

Congratulations to America’s newest citizens!

We are honored to be part of your journey!

Learn more:

Volunteer with the JFS Citizenship for New Americans program

JFS of MetroWest helps 98 Year Old Woman Become a U.S. Citizen

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The Mobilize Boston Container is ready to ship to Syria – A Huge Thanks to All Our Partners!

Jewish Family Service of MetroWest is excited to share collections for our Mobilize Boston Project with the Multifaith Alliance have concluded and our container is preparing for shipment! The project, generously funded by The Shapiro Foundation, brought schools, faith groups and community members together with the combined mission to take action for Syrian refugee families.

In these times, we can feel like our hands are tied and we can’t make an impact when we see tragedy in the world around us. This project proved otherwise and was a beautiful opportunity to act on a united front.

JFS x MFA Kickoff Event

The project began with the JFS x MFA Kickoff Event for Syrian Refugees on January 31st. Energized and excited to participate, partners spread the word and planned collection drives to gather donations of hygienic, educational and medical supplies. The supplies were collected at a storage container at Daniel’s Table in Framingham, kindly sponsored by The Shapiro Foundation, Ed and Barbara Shapiro and Larry Tobin. Once the supplies reach Syria, they will be distributed by MFA partners on the ground and will help refugee families maintain basic hygiene and dignity, allow children to attend school equipped with the right supplies and fill a dire need for medical supplies in Syria’s collapsed medical industry.

Debbie Gotbetter delivers TBE donations

Since January, partners across Massachusetts from Westborough to Brookline to the North Shore embraced the challenge! We are incredibly grateful to our 10 generous partnering organizations, Jewish Teen Initiative, The Rashi School, Westwood High School, Congregation Kehillath Israel, Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Edwards Church of Framingham, Temple Beth Sholom of Framingham, Congregation B’nai Shalom of Westborough, Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley and a 3rd class from Westwood!

Gabe Miner delivers Jewish Teen Initiative’s donations

We also had individual contributions from Ava and Josie’s Mitzvah Projects. Together, these groups mobilized hundreds of volunteers and participants to donate both time and supplies to families they likely will never meet – but will benefit greatly from their generosity.

Ava and her friends packing backpacks



Whether incorporating the Mobilize Boston into their Mitzvah projects, bringing the community together in events like Good Deeds Day and Community Action Day, or classroom projects as done in the Westwood schools, our partners found ways to connect to their communities and inspire others to look beyond borders. We saw children helping children. We saw students inspired to continue learning about refugees and determined to continue helping in the future. We saw with our own eyes that together, we can do more than we could ever imagine on our own!

Rashi students write cards for refugee children in Syria

School supplies ready to be packed

In June, months of collection drives and packing events came to a close. Our partners had donated suture kits and gauze for the wounded, medications for the ill and plenty of bandaids for smaller injuries. We received an amazing amount of toothbrushes, toothpaste and disposable razors to help Syrians maintain personal hygiene, lots of soap for basic cleaning, and feminine hygiene products to support women’s health. Packs of pencils, composition notebooks and  backpacks will assist refugee children attending school on the camps.

Amanda, coordinator for the project for JFS, stands beside a completed pallet

With this combined effort, the totals are truly impressive! JFS and the MFA will be sending 13,801 total items to Syria! There were 6,154 hygienic products and 3,991 educational supplies donated, along with essential medical supplies. The container received nearly 1,000 total hygiene and educational backpack kits. Hundreds of these backpacks contain cards and toys that will greet Syrian children upon opening the backpacks. In addition to the backpacks, JFS was able to donate 1,767 pieces of clothing to keep families warm and comfortable. Our combined effort will impact more than 1,000 families!

Pallets are removed from our Framingham storage container

Once all partners had completed their deliveries, nearly 200 boxes were put on pallets and prepared for shipment. On June 29th, a truck picked up all our supplies and headed to New York to meet the MFA. On Friday July 5th, the container was weighed and fully prepared for shipment to Syria – which will happen later this week!

So what’s next for the container? Once it ships out, it will begin its journey across the Atlantic to meet MFA partners on the ground in Syria, eager to distribute our supplies to refugee families. Stay tuned for further updates as the container reaches its destination!

The supplies begin the first leg of their journey – heading to New York to prepare for overseas shipping!

JFS and the MFA would like to extend our deepest appreciation for our partners’ dedication, generosity and ability to look beyond borders to unite in this wonderful cause! We are incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish together to make the world a little bit brighter!



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JFS Welcomes New Board Members, Honors Volunteers and Staff

Framingham, MA – June 3, 2019 – Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Metrowest, a non-profit, community-based organization that provides vital social, health and community services to alleviate suffering, enhance lives and support people in need in the Metrowest community, announced that they have installed four new board members at the 2019 JFS Annual Meeting.

The meeting opened with welcoming remarks from David Podell, President of Mass Bay Community College, followed by the presentation of the pilot partnership between Mass Bay Community College and JFS: Pathways to Student Success, a community engagement and mentoring program.

The installations of the four new board members took place shortly after, welcoming in:

  • Ashley DePaolo of Ashland, President, CommCreative
  • Dena Kowaloff of Framingham, Director of Marketing, Roche Bros.
  • Meyer Levy of Framingham, CPA and Shareholder, KLR Accounting
  • David Podell of South Natick, President, Mass Bay Community College

Attendees shared their appreciation for and gratitude to departing board members Robert Fields of Buzzards Bay, Ethan Freishtat of Needham, Sharon Goldstein of Natick and Janet Sanders of Boston.

Additionally, several volunteers and staff members were recognized for their outstanding work with JFS.  This year, JFS CEO Marc Jacobs presented staff member Joanne Kane and volunteers Michael Sawyer, Jane Joiner and Karin Beth with the CEO’s Roll Up the Sleeves Award.  Their tireless determination and zeal never ceases to embody the values of JFS.

Lino Covarrubias with Roll Up the Sleeves recipient Michael Sawyer.

Lino Covarrubias with Roll Up the Sleeves recipient Joanne Kane.




Lino Covarrubias with Roll Up the Sleeves recipient Karin Beth.

Lino Covarrubias with Roll Up the Sleeves recipient Jane Joiner.








Maggie Kenney presents 2019 Ellen Bloch Youth Leadership Award to Naomi Zwelling.



Reducing Achievement Gaps volunteers Naomi Zwelling and Cecilia Teixeira were the recipients of the 2019 Ellen Bloch Youth Leadership Award for their continuous commitment and dedication both as mentors and to the volunteer program at JFS.



Lino Covarrubias presents Abrielle Salloway with Lebold Staff Award.


JFS COO Lino Covarrubias presented Abrielle Salloway, FAN Case Manager and Coordinator of Elder and Communal Services, with the 2019 Lebold Staff Award in recognition of her exceptional professional growth and diligence throughout the past year.


To learn more about JFS and to see the full list of 2019-2020 Board of Directors, visit


About JFS of Metrowest

JFS is a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with over 5,000 people within the Metrowest and Greater Boston regions each year, targeting at-risk families, individuals, immigrants, and elders aging in place. Dedicated to standing up for those left behind, JFS is:

  • Increasing the ability of frail elders to maximize independence and quality of life as they navigate the challenges that come with aging
  • Accelerating academic achievement and pathways to college for low-income and first-generation students
  • Providing safety, hope and opportunity for refugees victimized by world conflict
  • Advancing equity with comprehensive assistance that empowers immigrant families to succeed
  • Reducing poverty in our community with case management, basic needs assistance and employment readiness support
  • Building families through adoption

JFS provides the tools to meet life’s obstacles to stabilize during a crisis and optimally achieve self-sufficiency, strengthen lives, improve wellbeing, and build a stronger community. JFS’ sound fiscal management practices have earned it a 4-star rating (score=100!) from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. To learn more about JFS or to view the 2018 Report to the Community, visit

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Ava and Josie support Syrian Refugees through their Mitzvah Projects!

Over the past few months, JFS has had the pleasure of working with Ava and Josie, two young girls who learned of our Mobilize Boston Project with The Multifaith Alliance  and were so touched by the project, that they chose to contribute as part of their Mitvah Projects! Both girls mobilized their communities and inspired those around them to take part in this important cause.

Ava and her mother used social media to spread the word to family, friends and their larger community. On her fundraising site, Ava explained she felt a deeply personal connection given her own family’s history. Naturally, she wished to pay it forward.

Ava with some of the boxes of supplies she collected for the project

With her hard work, Ava raised over $1500. Once hygiene and school supplies were purchased, Ava, her sister and her friends came together for a backpack packing-event. The group assembled nearly 100 school and hygiene kits by the time they were done and opted to donate the remaining surplus supplies to our project as well.

Ava’s packs will go far, benefiting refugee families so they are better able to maintain personal hygiene and dignity, as well as give children supplies for school and recreation.

Ava and her friends join to make backpack kits!

Josie also spread awareness, but through in-person presentations. After speaking to her principal, Josie conducted several presentations with an informational Powerpoint she designed! She taught other students at her school about JFS’ work, the everyday reality of the refugee crisis, what being a ‘refugee’ means and what we can do to give them a helping hand. Her presentation conveyed a message of hope and peace.

Josie presents about Syrian refugees and her project to other students

Following her presentation, Josie set up a collection drive to gather vital hygienic supplies for refugee families. She and her friends also made cards to send to the children.

From the start, Josie shared her compassion and care about the situation in Syria which spurred her to participate in the project. She highlighted the importance of education so Syrian children can create a future for themselves. She also believes in improving access to general hygiene so they can lead healthy lives. She cares deeply about immigration and wants to continue helping refugees and immigrants.

JFS imparts our greatest thanks to both girls, their families and their communities for spreading this positive message and dedicating great effort to helping children in Syria!



Posted in Jewish Community, Resettlement, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Rashi School Takes Action to Help Refugee Children Attend School!

Earlier this month, JFS had the great pleasure of joining The Rashi School for their school-wide packing event for our ‘Mobilize Boston for Syrian Refugees’ Project with the Multifaith Alliance! Back in April, JFS was invited to Rashi to present about the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the lives of refugee children. Evidently moved by the presentation, Rashi students felt driven to contribute to this important cause that aligned closely with their Core Values.

Rashi students decorate cards to include in the backpacks.

In response to this desire to help, Rashi organized a collection drive to make backpacks for children just like them. While the students imagined many items that could help, they elected to collect notebooks, pencils, reading books and other schools supplies, even including a toy for each child in every bag!

Following the collection, the students participated in a backpack packing event. JFS’ Jayne Lampert and Daniel Woodward were there to demonstrate how to put together a backpack.

Rashi students fill school supplies backpacks

Knowing the students receiving the backpacks were much like themselves, Rashi students designed cards of encouragement to include in each pack. To promote intercultural dialogue and connect across borders, they included messages in Arabic as well!

A Rashi student shows off the card and backpack she made!

By the end of the day, the students had packed enough backpacks to help 100 Syrian children better access and enjoy their time in school!

Our greatest appreciation to the students, their parents and Rashi’s amazing faculty and staff for promoting childhood education, creativity and literacy in Syrian Refugee Camps! It was truly beautiful seeing this project come to  fruition!




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Temple Beth Elohim donates critical supplies to JFS/MFA ‘Mobilize Boston’ Project!

Earlier this month, Debbie Gotbetter, a member of JFS’ Board of Directors, visited the JFS/MFA container, along with her little helper – the daughter of one of the families resettled through JFS’ Humanitarian Project!

The two spent their morning delivering donations from Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley’s recent collection drive for our ‘Mobilize Boston’ Project.’ TBE graciously donated school supplies, art supplies, first-aid necessities and backpacks to help children attend school, have fun and stay well!

Thank you Temple Beth Elohim for helping JFS and the MFA promote education and wellness in the lives of Syria’s child refugees!



Posted in Jewish Community, Resettlement, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , , , ,