Letters to the editor: January 20, 2016

JF&CS president responds to recent article 

In response to the Dec. 30 article, “Reduced County Funding Leads to Cuts at JF&CS,” I wish to clarify a few facts regarding our agency.  As a key partner agency of the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund (STLCCSF), Jewish Family & Children’s Service was awarded $2.576 million for the 2016-2017 contract period, which allows us to continue providing critical services in counseling for children, child abuse prevention, child psychiatry, school based services, as well as testing and assessment. In 2015, JF&CS, and many of the other SLCCSF partner agencies, received supplemental dollars which came from the surplus reserve of the STLCCSF.  Those supplemental funds are no longer available for the 2016-2017 contract period because they have now largely been spent down, leaving about $40 million annually in sales tax revenues for partner agency funding — a significant amount by all standards.  Accordingly, and unhappily, JF&CS, and other partner agencies, reduced staffing along with service hours for 2016-2017 based on the new contract amounts that were awarded in mid-December for this period.

As an established community agency – 144 years old — JF&CS remains fiscally sound and continues to offer programming in all of  the areas that it  did in 2015. JF&CS touches the lives of more than 200,000 people each year in programs including counseling and psychiatry services for adults, chaplaincy, food pantry and financial assistance, homemaker, ElderLink St. Louis information and referral, and internet safety. We are proud to be one of the leading social service agencies in the community thanks to our many friends and supporters, as well as our outstanding staff and board. 

Karen Suroff

JF&CS President



CAIR-STL speaker was a good choice

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to letters in the Jan. 13 edition critical of the St. Louis Rabbinical Association (SLRA) hosting as a guest speaker at a recent meeting Faizan Syed, executive director of the Council on American Islam Relations in St. Louis (CAIR-STL).]  

The SLRA’s decision to have Faizan Syed speak at a recent meeting was a great way to foster relations with the St. Louis Muslim community. I know Faizan and I know CAIR-STL. This affiliate is a moderate, progressive organization that is helping Muslims in St. Louis deal with profiling and discrimination. I have been at their meetings and have been at their demonstrations. All of these events foster and promote American values. We should not profile and criticize organizations or their local leaders based solely on Google searches and ignorance. I don’t endorse national CAIR or have any association with them, but I can vouch for Faizan, he is making a difference here, and he is deserving of our respect. 

Rick Isserman 

Creve Coeur