Jewish Family Service's Events Focus on Mental Health and Help for Families

JFS Offers Virtual Caregiver and Bereavement Support Groups

The Aging Adult Services program at JFS continues offering remote needs-assessments, case management, therapy, advocacy, family consultation, and supportive groups for clients and family members.

A virtual family caregivers’ support group is offered twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesday at 11 AM. Upcoming dates: January 13 and the 27, and February 10 and the 24. If interested, contact Marcy Klein, LCSW at (203) 389-5599 x116 or via email at for information and to receive a Zoom invitation.

If you are mourning the loss of a loved one and interested in participating in a bereavement support group, reach out to Andrea Joseph, LCSW at (203) 389-5599 x112 or via email at

The Aging Adults Program continues offering weekly check-in calls/supportive therapy to community members. Please contact Andrea Joseph, LCSW at (203) 389-5599 x112 or via email at

Virtual Court-mandated Parent Education Classes

JFS continues to offer Parent Education Classes (PEP) remotely in order to meet the health and safety COVID protocols. PEP is a court-mandated course for all parents with children under 18, who are involved in a divorce, civil union, annulment, separation or visitation case. The program is required within 60 days after a family case is filed in court. PEP is designed to provide parents with support concerning many issues that their families face during this transition. Some of the necessary information the class will provide will be on:

  • Parenting through transitions
  • Children’s developmental stages and warning signs to look for
  • Cooperative parenting
  • Conflict management and dispute resolution
  • Parenting plans and schedules
  • Stress reduction for children and parents

To find out more about our upcoming virtual dates, payment information and court vouchers, contact Barb O’Donnell at (203) 389-5599 x102 or

JFS Welcomes Karen Merkel to Mental Health Staff

JFS is proud to announce the addition of Karen Merkel to their Mental Health program. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is licensed as a psychologist in Connecticut and Texas. Her graduate training involved psychological assessment and psychotherapy with adults and children in a variety of settings. She has vast experience in a community mental health setting and has a special interest in working with clients suffering from depression, anxiety and trauma-related difficulties. She welcomes the chance to work at JFS with adults or children experiencing mental health concerns, particularly at this challenging time of COVID-19.

Mental Health Services a Phone Call Away

JFS is here for those in our community experiencing stress, depression, or help to sort out their feelings and fears. With the recent uptick in requests for assistance, JFS has added Karen Merkel, Ph.D., to our child counseling/mental health staff. For more information, contact Hannah Leiterman at (203) 389-5599 x114 or

JFS Helps Bring Normalcy to Local Families during the Holidays

Though the holidays took on a different look in 2020, the JFS Food Pantry worked to continue the tradition of providing food and gift cards to local residents in need of food assistance. As in previous years, families received non-perishable foods to help supplement what they are able to afford. In addition, the Pantry distributed gift cards to help purchase other items that individuals and families may need during the holidays and beyond. The Thanksgiving distribution is made possible thanks to the generous donations from our local community, synagogues, and our funders.

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