Jerry Starr | Maris Chavenson | Sharon Chesir | Ruth Edelman | Tova Friedman | Debbie Gerber | Betina Goldberg | Kat Goodman | Eric Harris | Marnie Kean | Sarah Masucci | Elise Prezant | Debra Rimmer | Young-In Shin | Marjorie Slass | Lea Steinman | Jennifer Walters | Florence Zevin
Jerry is the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of SHW. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has, for over 35 years, provided supportive services in the community.
His professional experience includes making home visits to the frail elderly in Newark, managing senior citizen programs providing social services to homebound seniors, including Holocaust survivors, to help them age in place, and providing psychotherapy and case management for individuals and families including veterans.
“Our mission at JFS of SHW is to put Jewish values to work and to be there when an individual, family or the community needs us.”
Elise Prezant is the Project Coordinator for the Career Counseling, Holocaust Survivors Assistance and Utility Assistance programs. She has over 30 years of experience providing career and vocational rehabilitation services in New Jersey and Georgia.
Before joining JFS, she was the Manager of Career Services for Jewish Family and Career Services in Atlanta, Georgia and was the Executive Director of The Raritan Valley Workshop, an Easter Seal Facility in North Brunswick, NJ.
Kat Goodman, MS, is the coordinator for the Senior Shopper Program that provides that provides seniors weekly grocery shopping delivered by a friendly, caring individual.
She has a B.A. in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University and a Master's of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University.
Kat has experience working in student affairs in higher education with student transitions, leadership development, mentoring programs, and curriculum development.
Kat also has experience working with youth development and served in AmeriCorps with Communities In Schools of Central Texas. Kat is eager to connect seniors to volunteers in the community to help with their grocery shopping needs.
Ruth Edelman is the Manager of Community Based Support Services. Ruth has an MSW from the University of Michigan, and holds postgraduate certificates in Infant Mental Health and Geriatrics. She has worked with children and their families for over 40 years in medical and social service settings. For the past 15 years, she has contributed to the creation and expansion of volunteer services at JFS through development and grant writing for programs serving children who have social challenges and their families, and for older adults.
The Family Mentor / Senior Friendly Visitor Program and other newly created programs overseen by Ruth bring people with a need together with people who are in touch with their humanity. “The volunteers are ordinary people, but they understand what ‘being there’ for someone is all about, and are willing to make a commitment to be a mentor, a friendly home visitor, a cooking companion or a grocery shopper for an isolated senior.
Debbie Gerber is a lifelong Jewish educator who is now working in the Ohr Tikvah / Jewish Outreach Program here at JFS. Debbie has taught for over 50 years and much of those years were devoted to Jewish education.
Debbie served as the head teacher for Hebrew schools in the US and abroad in Stockholm, Sweden where she lived for 27 years.
Debbie loves to bring both adults and children closer to Judaism with songs, stories and meaningful prayer moments.
Jennifer Ellis Walters received a Bachelors in Social Work from James Madison University and a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers, The State University with a specialty in Children and Families. Through her work in mental health agencies and school programs, Jennifer has provided psychotherapy services to individuals, families, couples and groups.
Her experience includes work with individuals suffering from anxieties or mental illness, struggling to adjust to life changes and recovering from traumas. Jennifer also has extensive experience helping clients on the autism spectrum and with special needs to better understand their strengths and limitations and more effectively communicate and function in relationships with others.
In addition, Jennifer collaborates with caregivers to help them understand and improve difficult behavior in children. Jennifer's approach is humanistic and interpersonal with a strong focus on strengths, family systems and a psychodynamic understanding of a person's condition as well as the social/interpersonal context.
Maris Chavenson, LCSW received her Bachelor's degree from Temple University and her Master's degree in Social Work, with a certificate in aging services, from Rutgers, the State University. As a clinical social worker Maris provides psychotherapy services and supportive counseling to adults, couples, older adults, and groups on issues such as depression, anxiety, grief and loss, and the challenges of caregiving.
Prior to coming to JFS she was the project director for a Federal grant program designed to provide innovative, trauma-informed care services to Holocaust survivors and their family caregivers. Maris also has a diverse background working in non-profit human resource management as well as public health, where she coordinated programs for the NJ statewide asthma coalition at the American Lung Association in New Jersey.
Tova Friedman received a B.A. in Psychology from Brooklyn College, an M.A. in Black Literature from CCNY and an M.S.W. from Rutgers, The State University with a specialty in Gerontology.
Tova is the former Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties and has over 20 years of experience providing psychotherapy services and managing programs and agencies. She has provided psychotherapy services to individuals, families, couples and groups. She has also managed and provided Employee Assistance Program services for many companies in Somerset County.
Mrs. Friedman has extensive experience working with special populations including immigrant families, the elderly and individuals dealing with difficult children.
Tova, a Holocaust survivor, shares her experiences in Auschwitz with many schools and organizations. She hopes that her stories will emphasize that prejudice and violence will destroy both the victim and the victor. Her story and that of two of her friends appears in the book, Kinderlager, edited by Milt Nieuwsma, and published by Holiday House in 1998.
Ms. Goldberg has over 32 years of experience working in the field of social work. Her work experience is varied. She started her career working in inner-city Boston with children that were abused and neglected. Moving back to New Jersey, she worked at CPC Mental Health Services in Freehold, NJ. There she was a therapist and also began the first parent-child mediation program.
For almost 30 years, Ms. Goldberg worked as a school social worker as a child study team member, case manager, I&RS case manager, mentor and counselor for countless adolescents. Some of the recurrent problems she has worked on for years are depression, anxiety, school refusal, suicidal ideation, separation/divorce, death of a loved one and self-harm. Ms. Goldberg uses a multitude of therapeutic techniques to reach her clients. She relies greatly on teaching self-modulation and mindfulness techniques.
Eric Harris, LCSW received his MSW from Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work in 1981. He was employed by Family and Community Services of Somerset County in Bound Brook in various capacities since 1981 and he was Executive Director there for 22 years while he maintained a significant caseload due to his love for clinical work.
Now retired as Executive Director of F&CS he continues employment there as a Clinician and Supervisor and he has joined Jewish Family Services of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren County as a part-time clinician working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families dealing with various issues including stress management, anxiety and depression, behavioral difficulties, parent effectiveness, marital and other couples’ issues and domestic violence.
Marnie Kean, LCSW, started her social work career in 1994 upon graduating with her BASW from Rutgers University. She worked 5+ years working with the severely persistent mentally ill population. Then went on to obtain her MSW at Fordham University in 2000.
She was trained for her MSW at JFVS of Middlesex County and was hired to facilitate the CAMEO and Elderday Programs, Holocaust Survivor Aide and Companion Program, Kosher Food Pantry and Holiday Packages and she started a social program for young Jewish adults with Developmental challenges as well.
Marnie Kean worked at Jewish Family Service of Central NJ as Older Adult Intake Coordinator and House Calls Social Worker for JFS of Metro-west. Her last position was at The Wilf Campus for Senior Living and she is happy to continue working in the Somerset area.
Marnie Kean comes to Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren with over 25 years experience as a social worker.
Dr. Slass earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Rutgers University along with a degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. After spending several years raising her family Dr. Slass went back to school earning a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Farleigh Dickinson University, a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology from Kean University, and a Doctoral Degree in Clinical and School Psychology from Kean University.
Dr. Slass has been working at Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties since 2016. She provides psychotherapy services to children, adolescents, adults of all ages, couples and families helping them with life's challenges.
Lea Steinman received her Masters degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Bachelors degree in Sociology and Journalism. She is a licensed clinical social worker with experience working with children and their families in individual and group settings.
Lea has experience working with children who have experienced trauma and have been diagnosed with a variety of mental health disorders, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, Anxiety and behavioral problems. She has worked with children who are on the Autism Spectrum and diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to build their social skills and self-esteem. Lea has also worked with children diagnosed with complex medical conditions to provide supportive counseling, crisis intervention and case management.
Florence Zevin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works with individuals and couples ranging in age from adolescence to senior adults. Florence utilizes a strengths based approach to therapy which encourages individuals to identify their core strengths and use them to make positive changes in their life.
Florence has been trained in various therapeutic techniques including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, mindfulness and motivational interviewing. In addition, she has experience working with the LGBT community. Florence has worked as a psychotherapist for over nine years following an earlier career in information technology.