Jewish Community Services no longer in Howard County


Jewish Community Services (JCS), an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, is no longer functioning in Howard County, according to a letter by Jewish Federation of Howard County (JFHC) president Beth Millstein.

The letter, sent out July 13, stated the JFHC board determined the expenditure of funds for services was not justified by the number of active JCS clients the programs served.

JCS helps support individuals and families living independently to meet basic needs for economic efficiency and to feel connected to the Jewish community. The organization, which was established in 2008, has offices at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC and the Weinberg Park Heights JCC.

In an interview via email, JFHC interim executive director Ralph Grunewald declined to answer how many people participated in JCS’s programs annually and what the cost was to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

Grunewald, who was appointed to his position on June 5, directed all other questions to Millstein’s letter.

Millstein wrote in the letter that JFHC is putting together a plan that will include the assessment of clients and their subsequent referrals to social service providers in Howard County and other areas.

Ultimately, the JFHC expects to have at least one social worker in place to serve the community on an as-needed basis, Millstein wrote.

In the meantime, JFHC will refer individuals seeking social services to the county’s Department of Community Resources and Services and, if needed, arrange consultation with qualified social workers.

The Jewish Emergency Network (JEN), a volunteer-based support group that provides the Howard County Jewish community with emergency financial assistance, has also established a designated phone line that is being monitored daily. Rabbi Seth Bernstein of Bet Aviv Synagogue in Columbia is assessing the requests JEN receives and making recommendations to JEN’s two co-chairs.

“Confidentiality is of utmost importance every step of the way, and all donations are made anonymously — reflective of the truest for tzedakah,” Millstein wrote.

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