Seniors: Jack & Helen Somers Seniors (JAHSS) Program

The Jack & Helen Somers Seniors (JAHSS) program at Town & Village Synagogue began in January 2012 through the generosity of Maura Dughi and her brother Howard Somers (who grew up in the shul). Maura and Howard appreciated the need for sustained outreach to, and support for, our seniors and put their wishes into action with their generous financial support.  The mission of the JAHSS program is to strengthen the bond between the seniors of T&V themselves and deepen their connection with the larger T&V community.  We have accomplished our goals in two ways: by bringing services to seniors through home visits, calls, providing case assistance, and by bringing the seniors to the T&V community through programming at the synagogue.  This approach enables T&V to tend to the needs of both our homebound seniors as well as our more active seniors. Susan Richter, LCSW, was hired in 2012 and continues to serve as the coordinator of these services to insure that our seniors’ needs are met.  Susan also served as Director of DOROT Westchester. She has an extensive background working with seniors, focusing primarily on inter-generational programming that brings people of all ages together in mutually beneficial interactions.

These are some of the services that T&V offers our seniors as part of the JAHSS program:

~ Home visits to seniors
~ Case assistance – referrals, benefits/entitlement, advocacy, support
~ Programs for the seniors in the community
~ Identification of needs and interests of our seniors
~ Outreach, engagement and relationship building with seniors of the T&V community


Susan has stepped in to assist with a number of emergency situations, contacting family members, coordinating care with other professionals, and making appropriate referrals to the following local agencies: Meals on Wheels (Kosher), New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, DOROT, 14th Street Y, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Community Center, Beth Israel Hospital, Jewish Home & Hospital, Visiting Nurse Service (VNS), Selfhelp Community Services, and others.

Susan has served as the advocate for seniors who do not have family in the area.  When a senior is rushed to the hospital, Susan assists in navigating the system and gets in touch with the hospital social worker, administrator, nurse, aide and facilitates the process so that the senior does not have to do this alone.  In terms of bringing seniors to T&V, Susan has been in contact with a number of seniors who have not been engaged with T&V and as a result of this outreach, these seniors are now more actively engaged in the synagogue and attend the Lunch & Learn program and the Shabbat afternoon lunch and short story reading program.  As a result of becoming more involved, these seniors are feeling more connected, less isolated, and are experiencing themselves as being more a part of the T&V community.

We hope to sustain this valuable program for many years to come. Please support our efforts. Todah Rabah! Thanks very much.

[Purim Cards made by T&V Hebrew School students sent to seniors]