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Congregational Outreach

Kesher (“connection”) is a synagogue-based program that brings social workers on site to provide both immediate and long-term support for the congregation. The mission of the Kesher Program at Jewish Family Service of Rhode Island is to sustain, nurture, and strengthen the well-being and stability of families and individuals throughout the life cycle.

The JFSRI Kesher program provides services through partnerships with local synagogues, meeting community needs within the framework of Jewish tradition and values. All Kesher services are free of charge.

Support for Clergy and Congregants

The Kesher Program began in 2007 with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Rhode Island to provide social services for members and friends of Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro. Since the program’s inception, growing need and cuts in government aid have increased demand for accessible services. In response, the Kesher Program has expanded to include Temple Torat Yisrael in East Greenwich, Congregation Beth Sholom in Providence, and Temple Emanu-El in Providence.

Through the Kesher Program, JFSRI social workers spend time at each synagogue offering case management, information and referrals, short-term counseling, support groups, and family life education programs. These experienced, licensed clinicians provide ongoing support for clergy and staff as well as short-term services for congregants. The rabbi and social worker act in collaboration to provide individuals with a holistic response to their need, offering both therapeutic and spiritual guidance.

Kesher Services

Examples of Kesher services include:

  • Help for congregants facing mental health or challenging family issues, including referrals to JFSRI or other community resources as needed.
  • Consultation for staff, including rabbis, school directors, teachers, and youth advisors, regarding member issues as well as programmatic, organizational, and personal issues.
  • Consultation for synagogue committees such as Bikur Cholim (“visiting the sick”) and Caring Committees.
  • Workshops and group discussions on topics of interest to the congregation, such as parenting, caring for aging parents, and grief and loss.

This work occurs only through the synagogues with which JFSRI has an established partnership. Our ability to maintain these services, and to add them for additional congregations, depends on contributions from caring community members like you. To find out how you can support the Kesher Program, contact us at 401-331-1244 or click below to donate now.

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