Wendy and Avron B Fogelman Jewish Family Service

The Memphis Jewish Community Center in partnership with Memphis Jewish Federation held its inaugural “Pickleball Palooza” weekend to benefit the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service, an event with the goal of bringing community members together for an action-packed weekend full of fun, excitement, and pickleball! Over the course of these three days, over 200 participants competed in and/or attended the different events.

Congratulations to the tournament champions: Margo Gruen and Karen Karmel in Women’s Doubles, Cody and Steve Gubin in Men’s Doubles, Lisa Silver and Peter Lindy in Mixed Doubles, and Jody Franklin in Singles. In addition to the over thirty sponsors and many in-kind donations of raffle prizes from local businesses (recognized below), special thanks are due to Robin and Billy Orgel who facilitated and coordinated bringing in the pickleball professional and to Stacy and Jerry Siegler who were a primary sponsor of the weekend.

As an integral part of the Jewish community, the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the Memphis Jewish Community Center provides an array of compassionate social services and a connection to any additional services needed. FJFS forms collaborative relationships with clients, to enhance well-being and help them thrive. They approach this mission with the highest level of responsibility, professionalism, and integrity. Learn more here.

Thank You to Pickleball Palooza 2021 Sponsors and Donors:

Stacy and Jerry Siegler, Robin and Billy Orgel

Jolie and Michael Kisber, Sharon and Michael Goldstein

Risa, Steve Baer and family, Jill and David Buring, Suzanne and Scott Baum, Hallie and Marc Charney, Janis and Pat Finan, Karen and Jody Franklin, Lisa and Jonathan Frisch, Dorothy Goldwin, Margo and Todd Gruen, Jan and Mark Hanover, Daniela Kaplan, Karen, Doug Karmel and family, Aileen and Michael Leavitt, Betsy and Steve Libby, Jeri and Mitch Moscovitz, Jill and Scott Notowich, Erin Ostrow, Rose and Erwin Ostrow, Jan and Marc Reisman, Janice and Jimmy Ringel, Debbie Rosenthal/Cruise One, Debra and Alex Saharovich, Laurie and Elkan Scheidt, Scott Segal, Louise and Jerry Sklar, Kimberlee and Scott Strome, Patti and Bill Weiss, Marcia Ann and Mike Weiss


Paddletek, The Dink, Gamma Sports, String ‘n Swing, Dazzle, Dinstuhls, Josephs, Lululemon, Staks, Siskind Susser Immigration Lawyers

Torchy’s Tacos, Rob Henson’s Salon, One and Only BBQ, Kaufman’s Shoes, Ugly Mug, Margo Rebecca, Athleta, Southall Cafe, MJCC

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Every Tuesday, we’ll share a story that spotlights the work of the Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the Memphis Jewish Community Center with News From the Heart. Browse these stories here.

July 29- Shalom Shuttle: Always at Your Service

April 28- (Above) Debra and Alex Saharovoch Commit to Community

February 5- Cindy and Mark Finestone Continue Generation Philanthropic Traditions

December 17- Hallie, z”l, and Jay Cohen’s Gift to Support the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service

November 19- (Above) Baby Pantry Launches with Help from Federation’s Lions

November 5- Judy & Larry Moss: Supporting FJFS Means Giving Back to Community

October 15- Susan Nieman: How Fogelman Jewish Family Service Shaped My Life

October 1- Shabbat Sholom Program Offers Seniors A High Holiday Treat

September 11- (Above) Donors Like Lisa Menuskin and Neil Gibson Help FJFS Meet Needs in Jewish Memphis

August 26- FJFS Collaborates with Community to Help Parents Navigate Return to School

August 20- Clients Benefit from Strong Relationships with Staff

August 13- Donors Keep Kosher Food Pantry Stocked During Pandemic

July 28- We’re Here for You: A Message from Director of Social Services Mary Elizabeth Jones

July 22- Volunteer Callers Connect isolated Seniors to Community

July 14- (Above) A Healthy Bounty for Hungry Seniors

July 7- A Friendly Voice and Open Years

July 1- Education is Key

June 25- Working Together to Serve the Most Vulnerable

June 16- (Above) Special Needs Support Amid Pandemic

June 9- In Times of Financial Emergency, FJFS is Here for You

June 2- Shalom Shuttle Returns to Normal Schedule

May 27- (Above) Volunteers Adapt During Pandemic

May 19- Mindful of Mental Wellness

May 12- FJFS Staff Continues to Connect with Memphis Jewish Seniors Despite COVID-19 Barriers

May 5- (Above) School Counselor Offers Comforting Advice for Students and Parents During Covid-19 Crisis

April 28- Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service Continues to Keep our Community Safe and Connected

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By Audrey May

Intake, Referral & Volunteer CoordinatorWendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the Memphis Jewish Community Center

Seniors and their caregivers can find it challenging to navigate through change. Someone has a serious illness. Someone stops driving. Someone has a fall and breaks a bone. A friend or family member who was providing support is no longer available. Suddenly, there’s a crisis.

In these moments, it’s important to know that getting the help you need is easy. The Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service (FJFS) at the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) is here to help. With one call, we will get you connected to a service provided by us, by the MJCC, other community organizations, or the best service provider for your needs.

I work with an awesome group of other people here at FJFS, and we’re always willing to help in whatever way we can. We’re not only knowledgeable and helpful, but we’re also completely confidential.

With one call to our main number, 901-767-8511, FJFS staff will respond quickly to assess your needs and respond to your questions.  I give clients all the time that they need to tell me their story. We have a conversation and I listen to what’s going on and what their concerns are. Next, I’ll ask a few questions to determine if a person would be eligible for one of our programs, or something else. This confidential conversation is all about making sure we connect each client to the best services for their needs. We only want the client to share as much as they feel comfortable discussing in order to get the right services for their needs.

For example, if it’s clear that our Shalom Shuttle would be perfect for them, I’ll tell them a little about that. I can do an intake over the phone, right then, if they’d like to enroll. If there are other services that we provide I can often do an immediate referral. Perhaps you or a Jewish senior you know could benefit from kosher home-delivered meals, or help from an expert, supportive case manager to more easily navigate life’s challenges. Or perhaps you want to volunteer in a meaningful way. Just give us a call to explore the options.

Sometimes we need to do a little bit of research. Give us a day or so and we’ll get back to you. If a client is in need of a service FJFS doesn’t provide, we are connected to many established government and non-profit organizations. If someone needs in-home caregivers or elder law attorneys, for example, we offer options to empower our clients to make the right choice for them and their family.

It’s about matching a client to a provider that will meet their needs, but also their lifestyle, income, and cultural point of view. It’s sort of a matchmaker service. I don’t recommend to you the best doctor who specializes in what you need. I offer you choices so you can make an informed choice about what’s best for you.

People often call looking for counseling, and we have really terrific counselors on staff at FJFS. We’re able to see clients on a self-pay, sliding scale basis. We’re a good option for people who are looking for counseling in a place that is culturally sensitive to the Jewish community. The first session is always free because we want the community member to determine whether it’s a good match. Counseling is a very personal thing. But because we don’t accept insurance, we have other resources to check into that will lead to other suggestions for counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other professionals who work with different issues and can accept your insurance or Medicare.

FJFS matters because all of us need help sometimes. Even the people who are the most giving, the most busy, the most engaged in the community- and that describes a lot of people in the Jewish community in Memphis- all of us need help sometimes. Or perhaps a friend needs help that’s outside of your areas of expertise. What better place to look for that help than an agency that’s at the hub of the Jewish community?

That’s why we’re here. Our goal is to help the community remain as vital, engaged, and healthy as it can be.

To get information about available programs and services, call the Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the MJCC at 901-767-8511.

As an integral part of the Jewish community, the Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service (FJFS) at the Memphis Jewish Community Center (MJCC) provides an array of compassionate social services and a connection to any additional services needed. FJFS forms collaborative relationships with clients to enhance your well-being and help you thrive, offering classes and support groups, counseling, emergency assistance, a Kosher Food Pantry, a resource center, senior adult care, support for Holocaust survivors, transportation, special needs services, volunteer opportunities and more. Learn more here.  

Your gift to Memphis Jewish Federation’s Annual Community Campaign supports FJFS with vital funds. Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis can also work with you and your family to financially support FJFS in other ways. Call 901-767-7100 to learn more.

A Memphis native and social worker, Audrey is a senior herself and passionate about helping seniors get the information and services they need, as well as working with our wonderful volunteers to do meaningful work in the Jewish community.  She is a book nerd who spent eight years running a bookstore and nineteen years as a manager at the Memphis Public Library’s LINC/2-1-1 social service information service.  She is also involved with the local AARP Livable Community initiative seeking to improve life for seniors in Shelby County and is the Interim Chair of the Senior Services Committee at OUTMemphis working with LGBTQ seniors. When she’s not in Memphis, she is probably in Florida happily reading with her nine-year old granddaughter.

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Memphis Jewish Federation (MJF) was awarded with a generous grant from the Butler Snow Foundation to benefit vulnerable Memphis-area seniors.

“We are thrilled and thankful to have been awarded this grant to address the dignity and wellness of seniors who receive services through two of our partner agencies – the Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service at the Memphis Jewish Community Center and Plough Towers,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, chief strategy officer of Jewish Community Partners (the umbrella organization of Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis).

“As the central planning and fundraising arm of the Memphis Jewish community, MJF is uniquely poised to assess the needs of the entire community, and is committed to ensuring the basic needs of the most vulnerable among us are met in a dignified, sensitive, and efficient fashion,” she explained. When our agencies reach out to MJF with their needs, we keep our eyes and ears open for solutions.”

Microwave ovens were a priority for both Plough Towers, a HUD-independent living facility, whose seniors often depend on microwaves for cooking their daily meals, and to the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service, which administers the Frozen Home-Delivered Meals Program for homebound seniors.

“Plough Towers does not provide microwaves for its residents and some residents cannot afford to replace their 20-year-old large or reduced-capacity microwaves,” explained Leigh Hendry, executive director of Plough Towers. “And although the apartments are equipped with full kitchens, in practice, most people prepare their meals in microwaves since it is easier for them given their age.”

Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service Executive Director Mary Elizabeth Jones had also expressed concerns about the need for microwaves among seniors receiving the frozen home-delivered meals. “These seniors lack functioning microwaves needed to heat the meals they receive,” she said. “The availability of microwaves will lead to additional food-insecure seniors enrolling and maintaining their enrollment in the Frozen Home-Delivered Meals Program.”

In addition to microwaves, the freezer that the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service uses to store the meals before being delivered to home-bound seniors suffers from extensive wear and tear, and requires manual defrosting by staff.

Plough Towers also houses a computer center that is used on a daily basis by many of the building’s residents. “The computer center at Plough Towers provides a digital literacy program that enhances self-worth and dignity and encourages our resident’s full use of skills, intelligence and experience,” said Hendry. “In 2019, the program, staffed by a part-time computer instructor, drew 67 residents from our 163-resident population. Our six IMac computers are 10 years old and in desperate need of replacement.”

The $14, 651 Butler Snow Foundation awarded to Memphis Jewish Federation will cover the cost to purchase 30 microwaves for Plough Towers’ residents and recipients of the Frozen Home-Delivered Meals Program, six computers at Plough Towers and replace the freezer at the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service.

“We are excited about offering residents these microwaves, which will make their daily lives so much easier,” said Hendry. “And the computers are a blessing to those who use them to stimulate their mental wellbeing, communicate with loved ones, and to interact with others, including our computer instructor who is there to assist them in whatever ways he is able.”

Jones was equally appreciative of the actions taken by Memphis Jewish Federation on behalf of the Wendy & Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service.

Butler Snow Foundation President and Butler Snow Attorney Thomas E. Williams stated in the award letter. “Yours was among a number of applicants we considered from organizations serving true “people needs in the communities in which the members of our Foundation live and work. We applaud you for the good work you do and for your significant accomplishments.”

The Butler Snow Foundation was established in 1997 by a generous gift from a client of the law firm of the same name. The Foundation funds worthy causes or social services organizations in communities Butler Snow serves.

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In an exciting community event in early October, Ken Steinberg, Chair of Jewish Community Partners and Jenny Herman, Chair of the Memphis Jewish Community Center announced the launch of a multi-million dollar endowment campaign for Jewish Family Service (JFS) and recognized philanthropists and major civic supporters Wendy and Avron Fogelman for their transformational lead gift of $2.5 million.

In recognition of their generous gift, Jewish Family Service has been renamed “Wendy and Avron B. Fogelman Jewish Family Service.”

“Caring for the needs of the most vulnerable and less fortunate members of our Jewish community is one of the highest responsibilities anyone can have,” stated Mr. Fogelman when addressing the crowd of nearly 100 community leaders.  “Through our gift we envision a Jewish Family Service in Memphis that is accessible, well run, and totally responsive to the needs of every member of our Jewish community in order to be assured that every Memphis Jewish family has a place to turn when help is needed.”

Also recognized were long-time community leaders Judy and Larry Moss, who stepped forward with a gift of $1 million toward this effort. 

“This is an exciting time for our community and for Jewish Family Service,” reported Mr. Steinberg. “We are so grateful for the generosity of Avron and Wendy Fogelman and Judy and Larry Moss.  We are off to a great start.”

The community has set a goal to raise $7.5 million for the newly created Jewish Family Service Endowment Fund of the Jewish Foundation of Memphis.  The fund will ensure that JFS is able to meet the needs of Jewish families for generations.    “The Memphis Jewish community has a long history of stepping up with generosity when the community is in need,” said Ms. Herman.  “This is again one of those times.” 

Jewish Family Service has a 150+ year history of caring for Memphis’ Jewish families with services that have ranged from supporting those stricken with yellow fever, providing financial support for immigrants at the turn of the century and post-world war II, resettling Jews from the Former Soviet Union in the 1980’s and building 100’s of families through adoptions.

Today, JFS is funded by Memphis Jewish Federation and operated by the Memphis Jewish Community Center, a change that was made in 2015 in response to service needs identified through Federation’s 2014 Needs Assessment Study.  “After seeing the results of the study, we knew that a change was needed,” said Steve Libby Past President of Jewish Family Service.  “The JCC stepped up and took the reins and created an organization that served more than 450 people in its first year.”  Over the past 5 years Memphis Jewish Federation has provided $1.6 million to support the new service model through a combination of grants from its annual campaign and bridge funding from “above and beyond” contributions from community donors. 

 “Today’s Jewish Family Service looks very different from the JFS of a hundred years ago,” said Judy Bookman current chair of the JFS Advisory Committee.  “We have to be nimble in order to address the changing needs of Jewish families.” She then described the current service offerings of the agency which includes Senior Services, Special Needs Support, Information and Referral and Emergency Assistance. “We have an aging community, so demand for services such as transportation, case management and socialization will continue to grow,” she concluded.

In concluding, Mr. Fogelman stated, “we feel this responsibility deeply and it has inspired us to make this transformational gift to the Jewish Family Service that will benefit and care for the needs of any less fortunate member of our Jewish community in Memphis.”

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