In The News — 2022

Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando leads collaborative community effort to house Ukrainian refugees in our Central Florida community.

Recently, St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Catholic Church in Apopka became aware of a Ukrainian refugee family of four, with a toddler and newborn, few belongings, and no place to stay. Father Roman Kuzminskyi reached out to JFS Orlando to help the family in urgent need of assistance.

JFS sprang into action and mobilized the community. Through JFS Orlando’s relationship with Shalom Orlando, the newly merged Roth Family JCC and Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando, a generous donor provided a two-bedroom home to live in for as long as the family needs. JFS volunteer Eduard Kotlyar translated between JFS, the refugee family, and the donors. Then the Congregation of Reform Judaism Social Action team, along with the donors coordinated with JFS to fully furnish the new home and provide everything a young family could need, from clothing to car seats. JFS Orlando will provide the family with diapers and baby formula, and groceries through their Pearlman Food Pantry.

“This is just another example of the strength of community,” said JFS Orlando Director of Development Aaron Bernstein. “We’re grateful to our partners at Shalom Orlando and CRJ for their unwavering support.” Shalom Orlando CEO Keith Dvorchik stated, “We are excited to continue our partnership with JFS Orlando to provide for those in need. Together there is nothing we can’t accomplish as a community.”

CRJ Rabbi Steve Engel added that “We’re honored we are able to collaborate with our valued community partners to help our Ukrainian friends going through the unimaginable, across the world and in our own backyard.” JFS Orlando is proud to lead the community’s efforts to continue providing humanitarian assistance to our new neighbors and all those in need in our growing community. To learn more about JFS Orlando’s family of services, visit or follow them on social media @JFSorlando.

JFS Orlando’s Family Stabilization Program is a preventative, six-month case management program. It is designed to help individuals and families obtain self-sufficiency by teaching them critical skills and tools to improve financial management, employability, family stability and mental health functioning, as well as maintain or improve housing.

Program participants have special access to several services at no cost, including food assistance, financial education workshops, employability skill training, mental health counseling, and legal guidance. FSP is available to households from Orange and Seminole counties.

“I decided to participate in FSP because I thought it would be beneficial for me and my family. I felt like it would be a good way to get back on track,” said Regan, former JFS Orlando client. “My case manager helped me a lot. If you need help, they have a resource that can get you the help that you need!”

To apply, call 407-644-7593 ext. 250 (City of Orlando or Seminole County) or ext. 236 (Orange County). To learn more about FSP and JFS Orlando, visit

Shana Tova! Celebrate the New Year by joining JFS Orlando in their annual Hope Challenge. Beginning September 15th through October 20th, every dollar donated to Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando will be generously matched by the David & Audrey Pearlman Philanthropic Fund, with a total match of up to $20,000.

As we enter this special time of reflection and renewal, we at Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando would like to thank all who have supported us this past year as we continue to grow in our commitment to our community. JFS Orlando delivers hope to our community through our FAMILY of services, not just during the holidays but EVERY day.

One in seven people, among them one in five children, in Central Florida cannot afford basic food staples. To keep up with the increasing demand for food assistance, JFS Orlando has nearly completed the expansion of the Pearlman Food Pantry started earlier this year. The added space, along with the addition of a state-of-the-art carton flow shelving system and a big 3-door fridge, allows us to provide more fresh, healthy food quickly and efficiently to those struggling with hunger.

But it’s not just our Pantry that’s been active and growing. JFS therapists are seeing more individuals than last year. Our RIDE Program is at capacity and currently has a new client waitlist. Our Family Stabilization Program is as busy as ever and will begin its new application cycle in October. Our Community Rabbi is meeting the rising need for spiritual services. Our Kobrin Family Scholarship students are staying hard at work starting a new semester at UCF.

The demand for our FAMILY of services remains high, but we are maximizing our efforts to raise hope and build a stronger community together thanks to our supporters…and we’re not done yet! We ask you to join us in our annual High Holy Days’ Hope Challenge, where every donation to JFS Orlando will be generously matched dollar for dollar by the David & Audrey Pearlman Philanthropic Fund, with a total match of up to $20,000. To donate, please visit

On behalf of the JFS Orlando Board of Directors, staff, and clients, may you and your loved ones be inscribed for a sweet 5783.

Philip Flynn III – Executive Director

Marty Sherman – Board President

To better serve the community and keep up with increasing demand for food assistance, JFS Orlando began the expansion of its Pearlman Food Pantry earlier this year. The added space – along with the addition of a state-of-the-art carton flow shelving system and a big three-door fridge – allows JFS to provide more fresh, healthy food quickly and efficiently to those in need. But it’s not just the pantry that’s been growing…

On Sunday, Aug. 14th, the The JFS Orlando Pantry Van made a special appearance at the Congregation of Reform Judaism’s Welcome Back Block Party.

“Our congregation appreciates the JFS Pantry Van pop-up for literally bringing the mitzvah of tzedakah onto our campus,” said Rabbi Steve Engel. “Meeting people where they are and building partnerships like the one between JFS and CRJ is what our community needs more of.”

Members filled the van with generously donated items most needed by JFS clients, totaling 286 lbs. of baby diapers, formula, and so much more.

“I was so proud to see my fellow congregants at CRJ donating so many diapers to JFS on Sunday,” said Eric Adelson, Board member, National Diaper Bank Network. “This time of year is so crucial for diaper donations, with so many kids going back to school. Most daycares will not accept kids without diapers, so every diaper really does make a difference. Thank you to JFS for starting the school year off so strongly!”

JFS Orlando is grateful to CRJ for hosting the Van and for their continued partnership to build a stronger community together. Keep an eye out for the JFS Pantry Van’s next popup, it might be at an upcoming event near you…

To inquire about the Van for your next event, contact Aaron Bernstein at or 407-644-7593 ext. 234.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando (JFS Orlando) is proud to announce that its Restock & Rebuild Challenge raised over $63,000, which is nearly DOUBLE the amount raised in their 2021 campaign.

This year during the Challenge, which ran from March 15th through April 30th, the community’s donations made twice the impact for those in need thanks to The Weiner Family and The Winter Park Health Group, who generously matched donations dollar for dollar.

The funds raised will help JFS Orlando continue to meet the increasing needs of the community now and in the future, including doubling the capacity of their Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry, adding therapists in their Counseling, Growth, and Development Program, expanding their RIDE Program to address senior transportation needs, and improving life and financial skills through their Family Stabilization Program.

JFS Orlando would like to thank all who donated to the Restock & Rebuilt Challenge, The Weiner Family and The Winter Park Wealth Group, as well as their community partners who participated and helped spread the word. Your support is helping to build a stronger community together!

To learn more about JFS Orlando, visit or follow them on
social media @JFSorlando.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando continues to partner with Central Florida Hillel to better meet the mental health needs of UCF students.

Since last August, JFS Orlando therapist Shaina White Williams, MSW has been available for open counseling hours at Hillel. She meets with students for one-on-one support oncampus and virtually, developing a sessions timeline that is therapeutically appropriate for each student. She and a partner therapist also provide group therapy during monthly Wellness Workshops. Williams has become a familiar face for students in the UCF Hillel community by also attending weekly Hillel programs like Shabbat dinners, Market Wednesdays, and other social gatherings.

During this past semester’s Wellness Workshops, students started exploring different topics, including self-care, the impact of social media, how to work toward a growth mindset, change as our constant, and stress management. A recent workshop ended with a three-minute dance party that helped students recognize the impact a little physical movement and music can have on one’s mood and anxiety — a fabulous self-care tactic. This semester concluded successfully with a Wellness Walk around campus along with sessions on mindfulness and deep breathing.

“There is a clear demand for access to therapy, and our partnership has proven to be a helpful aid for Hillel students,” said Williams. “Our goal is for small changes and tweaks to add up and help students not just survive their college experience, but to thrive.”

To learn more about JFS Orlando and their partnership with UCF Hillel, visit or follow them on social media @JFSorlando.

As part of Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando’s increased community engagement, the JFS Van has been making special appearances at local community events, in addition to picking-up food donations from grocer partners. On March 16th, the Van attended Congregation Ohev Shalom (COS)’s Community Purim Carnival. On April 3rd, the Van showed up again at Congregation Reform Judaism (CRJ)’s Family Community Event.

Families and individuals of all ages at both events filled the van with generous donations of critically needed items for JFS Orlando’s Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry, including diapers, baby wipes, baby food, and feminine hygiene products. Altogether, 200 lbs. of items were collected that will go a long way in helping the thousands of people in need who come to the Pantry every year.

JFS Orlando thanks the COS family, CRJ family, and the Kids Kehillah, JEEP, and Yala programs for their continued support! Stay tuned for the JFS Pearlman Pantry Van’s next appearance….

To inquire about the Van for your event or to learn more about JFS Orlando, visit or follow them on social media @JFSorlando.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando is pleased to announce that the Kobrin Family Scholarship minimum test score requirements have been lowered for the SAT to 1210 and ACT to 25, effective immediately. The scholarship committee hopes this adjustment will open this wonderful opportunity to many more students.

This college scholarship is awarded to a qualified, full-time, graduating high school student in the Jewish communities of Orange, Osceola, or Seminole County who will be attending the University of Central Florida. The scholarship is available in the amount of $2,500 per year for a maximum of four years.

Students are encouraged to apply today! Application deadline: April 28, 2022

To learn more and apply, visit Students should mail completed applications to JFS Orlando, ATTN: Kobrin Family Scholarship, 2100 Lee Road, Winter Park, FL 32789.

Beginning March 15th through April 30th, every donation to Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando during the Restock & Rebuild Challenge is being generously matched dollar for dollar by The Weiner Family and The Winter Park Wealth Group, with a total match of up to $25,000.

JFS Orlando continues to meet the increasing needs of our community by:

DOUBLING the capacity of the Pearlman Emergency Food Pantry, currently under renovation, to keep up with the increase in those seeking food assistance.

ADDING therapists in our Counseling, Growth, and Development Program to meet the heightened awareness in the significance of mental health and counseling services.

Working diligently on EXPANDING our RIDE (Reliable Independent Drivers for the Elderly) Program to address the transportation needs of our seniors.

IMPROVING life & financial skills through our Family Stabilization Program workshops.

Join JFS Orlando’s Restock & Rebuild Challenge as we help those in need and continue to build a stronger community together! Are YOU up to the challenge? To donate or for more information, visit, call (407) 644-7593, or mail to 2100 Lee Road, Winter Park, FL 32789. Thank you for supporting our FAMILY of services!

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