Jun. 26, 2013 at 2:43pm
Farewell

As you may (or may not) know, I will officially be retiring on June 30th. 


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May. 29, 2013 at 3:14pm
DSM-5 and Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and thus an appropriate time for the new DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, version 5)  to be released. But the controversy surrounding it can be astounding. 

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Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:08pm
Easter and Passover Greetings

At this time of year, many of us gather with family and friends, and it’s usually over food. Both Passover and Easter have their particular culinary delicacies, and both holidays are linked together throughout history. It’s a good feeling to see that spring is finally coming around, signifying in itself rebirth and renewal. 

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Mar. 4, 2013 at 9:24am
Social Workers, Resilient Advocates

March marks National Social Worker Month. As an agency that employs more than 300 social workers, we know the value of the care and responsibility that social workers offer their clients. We saw it during Hurricane Sandy, when our workers went out of their way to make sure they contacted every single person who might have been affected by the storm.  Social work is the profession of hope--fueled by resilience and advocacy. Social workers matter because they help millions of struggling people every day dream differently. 

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Feb. 14, 2013 at 11:54am
The Inauguration

On January 21, 2013, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to see President Barack Obama sworn in for his second term.  Read more →

Jan. 17, 2013 at 2:14pm
What's the Difference?

No one but a deeply disturbed individual marches into an elementary school or a movie theater and guns down random innocent people.

That hard fact drives in public longing for a mental health system that produces clear warning signals and can somehow stop the violence. And it is now fueling a surge in legislative activity, in Washington and New York.

New York State legislators on Tuesday passed a gun bill that would require therapists to report to the authorities any client thought to be “likely to engage in” violent behavior; under the law, the police would confiscate any weapons the person had. 

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Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:52am
MLK and COR

In light of  Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday this month, I want to reflect on how our COR (Confronting Organizational Racism) Initiative came to be and where it’s heading.

COR got its start in the 1980s, when JBFCS realized that there was a mismatch between the profiles of our clients and the staff who were serving them. The question arose on how staff could understand the background of our clients without reflecting that background themselves. The demographics of New York City were changing and there was a need to change the demographics of our staff as well. Feelings about race were challenging, and Alan Siskind recognized that those feelings needed to be validated and tended to.

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Jan. 9, 2013 at 9:25am
Economics of Our Nation from the Perspective of A Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences

Paul Krugman is a great Economics thinker. He writes a regular column, at least twice a week, on The New York Times Op-Ed page. His article on January 6th, "The Big Fail," was a clear explanation of how the U.S. economy is being directed by elected officials and economists who are afraid to act on the economic philosophy that encourages growth as a way to economic health - not continuous belt-tightening. 


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Dec. 28, 2012 at 9:11am
From Two Points of View

Over the past few weeks, following on the heels of Sandy, compassion has been at an all time high. As a professional Social Worker, part of a “helping profession,” I can’t help but note that being a “do-gooder” is not without its pitfalls. Good intentions are, unfortunately, often not enough.

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Dec. 17, 2012 at 11:29am
The Sandy Hook Tragedy

Today and the next few days

With unspeakable shock and sadness, I extend our thoughts and prayers to all those in the Sandy Hook community and their families.

I know many of you are now searching for ways to process the information that is coming out - for yourselves and your own children and families. Dr. Paula G. Panzer, our Chief of Clinical and Medical Services, has made some recommendations and provided some additional resources that I will share with you here.

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Dec. 7, 2012 at 9:49am
A Holiday Message

This time of year is filled with joy and celebration, family and friends gathering together. As many New Yorkers still face the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,  it might also be filled with trepidation and anxiety. In the coming weeks, JBFCS continues reaching out and  helping people deal with the trauma and displacement caused by the storm and we will keep doing that as long as it is needed.    Read more →

Nov. 21, 2012 at 10:32am
Thanksgiving


To all our JBFCS staff who lightened the load for others while carrying their own - thank you.

To all our JBFCS staff who managed to look beyond these dark days and share a brightness to come with others - thank you.

To all our JBFCS staff who put hope way out ahead of despair - thank you.

I am filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving, and deeply aware of all those people it takes to make a village called JBFCS.


-Paul Levine

Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:10am
JBFCS Staff Lend a Helping Hand to Staten Island Residents

Through the Human Resources Administration/NYC - a request came out last week for agencies to assume staffing and case management for various regions of the city hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. JBFCS submitted our application and was notified less than 24 hours later that our proposal was accepted. We began our work at the Staten Island Restoration Center on Sunday and continued for a full day yesterday. I want to share with you the report from the trenches. Read more →

Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:45am
Veterans Day

I think we all are aware that Veterans day was this week as we continue to celebrate. I mention this because of our Home Again Initiative that does a wonderful job teaching the skills that Human Service providers need to engage veterans and their families to use services. Read more →

Nov. 9, 2012 at 7:50am
Update on Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

The need is still great. Here you see JBFCS President Tony Mann and myself at our Coney Island Center. The water flooded in--up to nearly six feet, making the first floor unsafe for occupants. Read more →

Oct. 25, 2012 at 2:04pm
Remembering Martha K. Selig

Martha K. Selig would have been 100 years old this year. Her presence is sorely missed and yet her spirit and advocacy live on. It was at JBFCS with which this remarkable woman was associated since 1974, and it was here she made her most important contributions to the field of social work. Read more →

Sep. 20, 2012 at 11:16am
A Jewish New Year Resolution

If you don’t vote, you let someone else decide. JBFCS is heavily invested in the political process, whether we like to think of it like that or not. Over three quarters of our funding for services comes from the government, and we are highly regulated by government agencies. Five years ago I made the decision to establish a Public Policy and Government Relations Department, partly because I knew we needed to lobby for positions and defend the rights of our clients above all else, and partly because I knew we needed to be up close, personal and early when it came to decision making in Albany and Washington.    Read more →

Aug. 23, 2012 at 8:11am
National Recovery Month and the Jewish New Year

Both A Time of Introspection and Renewal


As the end of summer approaches, I look ahead to the fall and upcoming Jewish New Year, a time of introspection and renewal. This year, the Jewish New Year coincides with National Recovery Month, and the underlining themes are intertwined. It is indeed a time to celebrate strengths and triumphs as individuals, as an agency, as a community--and a time to look within. Read more →

Jul. 23, 2012 at 8:22am
July is National Minority Mental Health Month

The U.S. House of Representatives proclaimed July as National Minority Health Month to provide agencies an opportunity to raise awareness about severe mental illness in the diverse communities. Read more →

Jun. 21, 2012 at 2:47pm
Human Rights Campaign Puts JBFCS in Top Echelon of Jewish Organization Equality Index

JBFCS has been ranked among the top Jewish Service Agencies in the country for our integration of LGBTQ cultural competency.  As the former head of our LGBT task force and Director of Home Again Caroline Peacock said:  “It strikes me that this sort of initiative is in the same spirit that the original JBFCS agency was founded on: meeting the needs and recognizing the value of the marginalized in society. What a privilege it is to be on the right side of history yet again.”  
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May. 23, 2012 at 1:36pm
Manhattan Health Home

JBFCS will become one of five Health Homes in Manhattan. We have developed a strong network of primary, medical, specialty, mental health, and substance abuse providers and community-based organizations throughout the borough.  Read more →

Apr. 24, 2012 at 12:00am
Great News on the NYSDOH Front

The NYS Department of Health announced this week the newest designated lead agency Health Homes for Phase II counties. NYSDOH received 42 Health Home applications to serve the 13 counties in Phase II, and those counties include, but are not limited to, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Suffolk.
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Mar. 22, 2012 at 9:56am
Social Work Matters

March 1 began a month-long celebration of one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has designated this year's theme as "Social Work Matters." Read more →

Feb. 17, 2012 at 12:00am
Paul's Corner

February Observations from Paul Levine

On February 8th I was asked to make some remarks at a UJA-Federation event focused on the state of poverty today and how UJA-Fed agencies are facing this issue. The occasion was a special event at the Jewish Museum commemorating photography done during the Depression of the 1930s by a group of young photographers who were blending their view of the real condition of Americans during the depression and advocacy. Their focus was social justice and this was one of the first groups that went to hard hit communities in New York City to record the experience of the Depression. It was one of the first times that photos were taken, for example, in communities of color such as Harlem. 

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Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:11am
From Our CEO

I’d like to point out a powerful video from CNN correspondent Erin Burnett. In it, she notes the hard responsibilities of social workers, of which JBFCS employs about 300. The video documents the 911 call social worker Elizabeth Griffin Hall makes moments before Josh Powell detonates his house, killing himself and his two young sons just moments after Hall drops them off and is then refused entry.  Read more →
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