The Touro College Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) has created a special fellowship for members of Nefesh, the international network of Orthodox mental health professionals. The announcement was made by the school’s founding dean, Dr. Steven Huberman, at the organization’s 18th Annual International Conference held recently on Long Island.
The annual Nefesh fellowships, established in memory of Touro’s founding President Dr. Bernard Lander and his wife, Sarah Lander, will support those committed to service the most vulnerable and at risk in the Orthodox Jewish community.
“It was Dr. Lander’s vision to create a new school of social work that would be diverse and serve the Orthodox community, especially those most vulnerable,” Dean Huberman said in announcing the scholarship at a luncheon on the first day of the conference. “Tikkun Olam was always a cornerstone of his vision, and thus of Touro’s mission and that of our graduate school. In reaching out with financial support we are helping to further this goal. Our current president, Dr. Alan Kadish, has made service to the Jewish community an ongoing priority.”
In attendance were approximately 300 mental health professionals from the Orthodox community worldwide. Nefesh attracts the largest gathering of Orthodox mental health professionals in the world, including the top experts in the field, who debate and address the challenges facing the observant Jewish community and discuss cutting edge solutions.
“We applaud Touro’s generosity in investing in future Jewish social workers with this scholarship, said Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW, president of Nefesh International. “Through its trainings, conferences, and networking events, Nefesh International encourages and supports the professional development of Jewish social work students into future leaders in the field.”
Dean Huberman also spoke about how the GSSW provides “affordable excellence,” and noted its “perfect score” on its national accreditation following a recent visit by the Council on Social Work Education.
“We intend to bring this tradition of excellence to serve the most at risk. Touro’s new Nefesh Fellowship will supplement ongoing efforts overall with the Jewish community, Latino, African American, and general populations,” the dean said.
Following the luncheon, Dean Huberman led a three-hour seminar on “Being an Effective Supervisor, Agency Manager, or Executive.”
The seminar was attended by key leaders of the social services and mental health community, including from the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Nefesh, and Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services.
At the evening’s dinner event, David Mandel, CEO of Ohel and chair of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work Professional Advisory Committee, was presented with the Esther Solomon Award by HaRav Dovid Cohen, shlita, the rabbinic authority for both Ohel and Nefesh.
“The conference was superb. The level of teaching and learning in the workshops was extraordinary, and it was a nachas moment to see so many Touro alumni participating,” said Elhanan Marvit, director of administrative services and the GSSW’s Brooklyn learning extension. “It is wonderful to know that our graduates are out in the community, competently and enthusiastically doing what we trained them to do and fulfilling our mission as licensed, practicing social workers.”