On Sunday, April 19, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Kehillah of Old York Road will do what the Jewish community has always done in tough times -- draw closer together, reach out to one another and connect with the larger community. In response to the current recession, the Kehillah will present a free resource fair, themed "Offering a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out." The program, which is open to the public, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Old York Road Temple-Beth Am, 971 Old York Road in Abington.
Event coordinators hope to help participants develop an action plan to find information and services to weather the economic storm. In addition, the event will offer a forum for all community groups.
"The Kehillah wants to take a leadership role in the larger community," says Neal Welsh, chair of the Kehillah's Social Action Committee.
State Sen. LeAnna Washington, State Representative Josh Shapiro, U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz and other community leaders and organizations are helping to organize and publicize the event.
"During these uncertain times, an event such as this can become a lifeline for our residents," says Washington.
Her office is partnering with the Kehillah on workshops led by experts from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency on such topics as saving homes from foreclosure, mortgage refinance options, affordable home-buying and college financial aid.
Fair participants will receive practical information on ways to weather the financial, emotional, physical and spiritual effects of current economic challenges.
In addition to workshops led by state agency staff, local behavorial health professionals and human service agencies will conduct sessions on topics that include "Reimagining Retirement"; "Domestic Violence -- Warning Signs and Help"; "Marriage and the Financial Crisis"; and "Help for the Stressed Family Caregiver."
Schwartz said that her district staff will help participants "understand and utilize benefits, and to assist organizations in learning how to access grants and support applications."
Information will also be available from the Federation's Mitzvah Food Project, Federation Housing, the Women's Center of Montgomery County and Albert Einstein Medical Center's Premier Years program.
Washington and Rabbi Robert Leib of Old York Road Temple-Beth Am will open the event. Two workshop sessions will be held.
Advance registration is suggested, though not required, and information will be available throughout the afternoon.
Shapiro stated his support for the timely event: "I am pleased that the Kehillah has taken such a proactive and important role."
For more information and reservations, call Lynne Balaban, coordinator, Kehillah of Old York Road at 215-884-3944 or e-mail: LBalaban@jfgp.org .