New support groups at Jewish Family Service
by Rebecca A. Utay
DJW Staff Writer
Jewish Family Service of Dallas has started three new support groups: JFS-CareerNet, Jews in Recovery, and a Fetal Loss support group.
The JFS-CareerNet materialized out of the need for unemployed Jews (in Dallas) to be "plugged in" to society.
Camille Kramer, M.S., C.D.M.S, coordinator of the Career Employment Services, facilitates the weekly meetings, presenting new topics for the group to discuss. Every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the group of 10 to 12 professionals meet to "have an opportunity to talk about the employment condition," said Kramer. "They spend the time sharing ideas about interviews and recruiters, and get feedback from the collective group."
JFS-CareerNet came about from a smaller group of professionals who had started networking at Temple Emanu-El last fall. Jewish Family Service was then asked to take over to gain a wider audience and reach more people.
"So, we took over in February of this year," Kramer said.
There is no fee to join or attend these meetings. You become a member just by attending one meeting and you must bring some helpful information for job seekers (i.e., job leads, etc.).
Joining this forum allows Jewish job seekers the use of an Internet group, where they can post their resumes online, and view exclusive job listings.
The Jews in Recovery support group came about in very much the same way that many services at Jewish Family Service do: there were several requests by members of the community.
Dr. Rochelle (Shelly) Middleman, who earned a Ph.D. in marriage therapy and is coordinator of the School Mental Health Progam, will conduct the program, designed to help those individuals already in support programs for their specific problems.
Although a regular meeting time has not yet been established, there was a July 22 meeting of interested clients who might want to form a board to engender programming ideas for the group.
Jews in Recovery provides support for people working on their own 12-step or addiction program (including but not limited to Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and others).
Middleman stresses that this support group is not a 12-step program itself, nor will it take the place of one. What it will do is give those individuals "an opportunity to have a Jewish link to (their) 12-step program," she said. She emphasized that those who attend this group should already be working on their own 12-step program.
The goal in providing this service, said Middleman, is to form their own JACS program. JACS stands for Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others.
"The JACS Foundation is out of New York," she said, "and we hope to start a model based on their success. This would include getting together to attend services, have a holiday meal and just be Jews with addictions supporting other Jews with addictions."
The Fetal Loss group evolved out of a need to help women who have suffered any pregnancy loss. Michele Krieg Bauer, M.A, L.M.S.W.-A.C.P., a clinical social worker who facilitates the group, says it all started based on a request from the right person. "Michael Fleisher (JFS Executive Director) received a phone call from the wife of an ex-board president; she had been through a difficult miscarriage and asked if something could be developed."
Bringing her strong background in women's health and her own personal experience, Bauer helped the first Fetal Loss support group at Jewish Family Service of Dallas.
Although she also facilitated other pregnancy loss groups in other cities, she said, "I had never thought about doing it (here in Dallas) until this came up."
The biggest challenge, said Bauer, is trying to find a meeting time suitable for all who would like to attend. She likes to meet individually with clients first to determine their specific needs.
Though partners are welcome, Bauer says it is possible to make alternative arrangements to meet the needs of a specific couple. Her ultimate goal in offering this service to the community is "to reach women or anyone who has a need at any point in the (fetal/pregnancy) loss cycle. It's open to everyone, not just the Jewish community." She added, "If you need it, just know that we're here."
To learn more or attend one of these group meetings, call Jewish Family Service at (972) 437-9950.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, August 1, 2002