Moving Forward Together

Community Conversations

Jewish Family Service is hosting a series of free virtual Community Conversations to help San Diegans meet the many challenges of coping with the coronavirus pandemic. From maintaining your mental health, to caring for a parent with dementia, to supporting kids while schools are closed, these conversations will use our collective knowledge to learn techniques and tips to survive these challenging times. Together, we will make it through this.

Each conversation will feature panels of distinguished community leaders, doctors, clergy, educators, and therapists who will share their expertise. There will be time in each program for participants to submit questions.

If you would like to participate, please register for each Community Conversation and you will receive unique access information to enter the virtual meeting room.

Learn more about our upcoming Community Conversations and watch past Community Conversations below.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call (858) 637-3210.

To see all updates to JFS programs and events, click here.

Donate to the JFS COVID-19 Relief Fund

If you are able to support our efforts, please make a contribution so we can provide much-needed relief and vital necessities to San Diegans during this crisis.

Past Conversations

Cultivating Calm and Resilience in Challenging Times

Dr. Rachel Goldenhar, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Co-Chair JFS Behavioral Health Committee
Julie Potiker, Mindfulness Expert, Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher, Author of Life Falls Apart, But You Don’t Have To: Mindful Methods for Staying Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Does 2020 have you feeling stressed? You are not alone. Between the impacts of the pandemic, the contentious election cycle, racial injustice, and natural disasters, stress and anxiety levels are up, and mental health is down. A recent study reported that 44% of Californians are experiencing clinical levels of anxiety and depression. Chronic stress not only impacts our emotions and sleep, it can also be detrimental to our physical health.

Join JFS and local experts in this workshop to learn and practice coping strategies to alleviate your stress and anxiety. You will be guided through several exercises to adopt in your daily routine such as mindfulness, meditation, and rewiring your brain for more happiness and resilience. Finally, learn to recognize when self-coping mechanisms are not enough and understand when to go for professional support.

Community Conversation: Homelessness, Housing, and Measure A

Homelessness, Housing, and Measure A

Tamera Kohler, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Task Force on the Homeless
Sue Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer, Community Housing Works
Stephen Russell, President and Chief Executive Officer, San Diego Housing Federation

Chris Olsen, JFS Director of Public Policy & External Affair

In January 2020, 7,619 persons were identified as homeless in San Diego County during the annual Point-in-Time Count. Of those individuals, 4,887 live within the City of San Diego. At the same time, San Diego continues to be one of the least affordable metro areas in the country. Here at JFS, we have found innovative ways of serving our unsheltered neighbors, including the Safe Parking Program. But what more can we do? And how can we respond in the midst of a pandemic?

This Community Conversation brings together experts from the fields of homelessness, affordable and supportive housing, and the Yes on A – Homes for San Diegans campaign, an affordable housing bond that will be on the November 3 ballot and which JFS has endorsed.

The Impact of COVID-19 in the Latinx and Middle Eastern Communities

Aous Al-Habbar, Trainer at the National Conflict Resolution Center and Director at San Diego Islamic Center East County
Laura Gonzalez Garcia, Parent Liaison Bilingual, Valley Elementary School – Poway Unified School District
Liliana Osorio, MPH, Director at Health Initiative of the Americas, University of California Berkley, School of Public Health
Nadia Zamani, Marriage and Family Therapist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist, Downtown Impact (Community Research Foundation)
Wael Al-Delaimy MD PhD, Professor of Public Health, UC San Diego

Fernando Parra Chong, Outreach Coordinator for Latinx Community, Jewish Family Service
Lily Mojdehi, Outreach Coordinator for Middle Eastern Community, Jewish Family Services

This Community Conversation will bring together providers from across the Latinx and Middle Eastern communities to discuss the emotional, economic, and public health impact COVID-19 has had in these communities and how these two immigrant communities have maintained resiliency and hope during this pandemic.

JFS Community Hunger Briefing

Michael Hopkins – CEO, Jewish Family Service
Anahid Brakke – Executive Director, San Diego Hunger Coalition
Sasha Escue – Director of Nutrition Services, Jewish Family Service

Please join us to learn about our response to the hunger crisis during COVID-19 and discover how you can take action to ensure that our neighbors are healthy during these difficult times.

Becoming an Anti-Racist Jewish Community

Nate Looney, Jews of Color Recruiter, Avodah

Rabbi Yael Ridberg, Congregation Dor Hadash
Kelsey Greenberg Young, Education Director, ADL San Diego
Micah Parzen, CEO, Museum of Man

JFS invites the Jewish community to come together to learn about implicit bias, how to recognize covert racism and microaggressions, and to understand the role of becoming an ally in this work. Our speakers will provide tools on how to become an anti-racist and take actions to create meaningful and transformative action.

Understanding the Supreme Court Decision On DACA: What Happens Next?

Leah Chavarria, Esq., Director of Immigration Services Immigration Attorney, Jewish Family Service
Jairo Castañeda, Esq., Lead Attorney, Higher Education Legal Services, Jewish Family Service
Claudia Cuevas, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cynthia Torres, Coordinator of Undocumented Resource Area (URA) at SDSU
Leticia A. Díaz, M.A., Director of EOPS and Special Programs, San Diego Mesa College
Daniel Alfaro, Program Manager of Undocumented Student Services, UCSD

Moderator: Vanessa Piñeda, Outreach Manager for Breaking Down Barriers, Jewish Family Service

In this Community Conversation, our panel of immigration experts and advocates will summarize the court ruling and the immediate effects it has on DACA recipients, discuss the emotional impact of the decision, and connect participants to helpful immigration resources.

Positive Parenting During Uncertain Times

Margo Gonzalez, Lead Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service
Julio Ramos, Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service
Jennifer Martin, Military Family Specialist, Jewish Family Service

Autumn Weidman, Director of Positive Parenting Program, Jewish Family ServiceThis Community Conversation features our team of Positive Parenting educators and will focus on finding positive strategies for maintaining a healthy family life during quarantine, managing challenging behaviors, and helping our children cope during these difficult times.

Supporting The Mental Health Of Asian/Pacific Islander Communities During COVID-19

Amanda Lee, Division Dir. of Adult/Older Adult Mental Health, UPAC
Heeyoung Kim, Counseling & Treatment Ctr Program Manager, UPAC
Jashneel Singh, Doctoral Student, Alliant International University
Michelle Ly, Division Dir. of Children & Adolescent Mental Health, UPAC

Gabby Masuda, Outreach Coordinator for Asian Pacific Islander Community, Jewish Family Service

This Community Conversation will bring together mental health experts from across the API community to discuss common mental health issues, identify the social barriers that prevent API individuals from seeking help, and offer tips on coping during the increased stress and uncertainty of our current public health crisis.

Teen Talk: Finding Connection, Coping Strategies, and Hope for the Future

Sarah Greenstein, Guidance Counselor, San Diego Jewish Academy
Ashley McGuire, Professional Peacemaker and Restorative Justice Practitioner
Ali Shapiro and Ilana Goldklang, Teen Leaders, Jewish Family Service

Daria Tomsky, Teen Leadership Coordinator, Jewish Family Service
Matthew Ewing, Teen Leader, Jewish Family Service

This Community Conversation focuses on how to find connection, motivation, and a sense of belonging during these challenging times. From accessing mental health resources to creating daily routines, we’ll talk about our collective anxiety, find creative ways to stay connected, and learn how to navigate this crisis together.

Prevención Durante la Pandemia: Una Conversación para Padres

Ariane Porras, Consultant & Trainer for Partner in Prevention, Strengthening Families Department, YMCA
Saribe Perez, Mental Health & Disabilities Manager, MAAC Child Development
Gisella Gomez, MSW, Family Developer, Casey Family Programs – San Diego

Moderadora: Margot González, Lead Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service

Esta conversación comunitaria, se centrará en encontrar estrategias positivas para mantener una vida familiar saludable durante la cuarentena, administrar nuestros nuevos roles como maestros y ayudar a nuestros hijos a sobrellevar estos tiempos difíciles.

How Collective Trauma, Self-Care, and COVID-19 Varies Across Communities

Panelists: JFS Breaking Down Barriers Team
Fernando Parra Chong, Outreach Coordinator for Latinx Community
Spshelle Rutledge, Outreach Coordinator for African American/Black Community
Gabriela Masuda, Outreach Coordinator for Asian Pacific Islander Community
Vanessa Pineda, Outreach Coordinator for LGBTQ+ Community
Lily Mojdehi, Outreach Coordinator for Middle Eastern Community

Moderator: Kim Lesnau, Director of Learning & Development at JFS

This Community Conversation focuses on understanding the community impact of COVID-19 from a culturally sensitive and trauma-informed lens. We’ll provide techniques for maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing, tips on normalizing emotions that are often ignored, and advice on accessing helpful community resources.

Dementia Caregiving in the COVID-19 Outbreak

Tracey Truscott, Clinical Social Worker, Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UCSD
Amy Abrams, Director of Education, Alzheimer’s San Diego
Colleen Cook, Dementia Specialist, Jewish Family Service

Moderator: Meredith Morgenroth, Sr. Director of Social & Wellness Services at Jewish Family Service

This Community Conversation focuses on finding emotional support and stress management for care partners, staying connected to isolated loved ones, creating a safety plan, and accessing local resources for additional support

Self-Care Strategies for Adjusting to a New Normal

Ken Druck, Ph.D., Resilience Expert, founder of Jenna Druck Center
Dr. Bruce Sachs, Clinician, Jewish Family Service
Rabbi Yael Ridbeg, Congregation Dor Hadash

Moderator: Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service

This program, moderated by Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service, and featuring panelists Ken Druck, Ph.D., Rabbi Yael Ridberg, and Dr. Bruce Sachs, will focus on how to meet these challenges by upgrading, innovating and putting our self-care and caregiving skills and abilities to work.