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Senior Task Force of the Jewish Federation

Senior Transportation Availability
The Tucson Community Shared Transportation for Seniors (60+) & Adults with Disabilities grant is designed to encourage more regular participation in Jewish religious services, education programs and cultural activities at any one of the 10 participating synagogues, or other venues (JCC or other site when sponsored or co-sponsored by the a participating congregation). The program will make it possible for them to connect with other Jews, and form friendships and bonds with others in the Jewish community, thus relieving loneliness and feelings of isolation. Affiliation with one of the partners is not required.
The shared ride program participating congregations are Anshei Israel, Bet Shalom, Chabad of Tucson, Chaverim, Chofetz Chayim, Kol Simcha, M’Kor Hayim, Or Chadash, Temple Emanu-El, and Young Israel.
Contacts:  Andi Elkins (520-495-4565) with questions or for program details
Sheryl Sitser at 465-4323 to schedule a ride.

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona (JFSA) Task Force on Jewish Senior and Disabled Services was initially convened in 2000 to identify the needs of Jewish seniors in the southern Arizona area. The 2002 Population Study conducted by JFSA identified a multitude of needs of the Jewish senior community including the need for a centralized point of entry into Jewish community services.

Under the auspices of the Jewish Federation’s Task Force on Jewish Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, the Jewish Elder Access program (JEA) was launched in August, 2010.   JEA, a central contact point for Jewish Seniors, provides case management and all other senior social services funded by the Federation.

The Task Force of Jewish Senior and Disable Services, in partnership with the Federation constituent agencies and other qualified providers, is dedicated to overseeing, evaluating and recommending funding to facilitate services and continuity of care for Southern Arizona’s Jewish seniors and adults with disabilities and their families.  In fulfilling its role, the Task Force is guided by Jewish values and traditions while enhancing the health, well-being and dignity of the individual. 

There are two sub committees of the task force:

The Ongoing Planning and Assessment Committee is involved with long term strategic thinking as well as identification of priorities for funding based on data that will be collected on an ongoing basis.  The goal is to tie planning to funding and foster collaboration among agencies and synagogues with regard to future projects. Community professionals sit on this committee. 

The Grants Committee is charged with designing and overseeing the grants process.  Based on identified priorities, it will select grants that will be sent to the JFSA Executive Committee for approval and ratification by the full board.  The Grants Committee will also be charged with evaluating the projects that are funded through the grants. 

In 2010, The Senior Community Needs Assessment Survey was done by the P & A committee to assess the needs of Jewish Seniors. The survey’s purpose was to gather and identify current and emerging needs of the Southern Arizona Jewish senior community, ages 60 plus. It focused on funding the top priorities, reviewing the comments and concerns of the respondents, and will continue to engage seniors in the future by identifying and responding to their needs.
Four specific areas of need were found, with transportation and home repairs being at the top of the list, followed by advisory service needs including financial and legal services and personal counseling. The study also found that seniors preferred to remain independent and stay in their home as long as possible.

Having identified the four top priorities through this survey, the Grants sub-committee in 2010 first called for requests for proposals for mini-grants to be funded in 2011.  In 2011 five local Jewish agencies and synagogues were awarded grants for Jewish seniors focusing on the priority areas.  The grant recipients for 2011 were Congregation Bet Shalom, Congregation Or Chadash, Congregation Chaverim, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, and Handmaker Services for the Aging.  Funds for the mini-grants come from proceeds of the 2008 sale of Council House, a housing facility for low-income seniors which was opened in 1982.

For 2012, in addition to JEA being funded, the mini-grant recipients include: Jewish Family and Children’s Services, (Home repairs) Congregation Anshei Israel, Temple Emanu-El, Congregation Or Chadash, Congregation M’kor Hayim, Congregation Bet Shalom, Congregation Chaverim, (Synagogue Transportation) JFSA North West Division, (Event Transportation) and Beth Shalom Temple Center of Green Valley (A/V Equipment).
Terry Perl, Chair of the Senior Task Force, was pleased to see many more organizations apply for 2012. Terry mentioned that the mini-grants are making a huge impact on the Jewish Seniors of our community. “Due to the success of JEA, seniors now have a one stop coordination point to assess their needs and get them help” Terry stated.

Chair: Terry Perl
Grants Committee Chair: Larry Leiken
P & A Chair: Sharon Geiger

Staff: Beverly Sandock,

The Jewish Elder Access Program (JEA)
JEA is a free information and referral service for Jewish adults 60 and older, connecting Seniors to Southern Arizona’s Jewish community (synagogues, events, assistance, and activities). JEA can suggest senior housing options; help arrange for minor home repairs and other in-home services; assist in finding transportation to medical appointments, the grocery store, Shabbat services, Jewish events and much more.
It is a collaborative partnership between Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Rabbinical Community and the Jewish Community Center. For more information please contact JEA Program Coordinator Irene Lloyd at (520) 404-4596 or by email at
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