Randee Black

by Vivian Henoch

Because you never know when or how the need may arise . . .

  “I’m concerned about my parents. My dad has just been diagnosed with dementia. My mom has been his primary caregiver and needs more help at home. I don’t know what to do . . .”

Because it can happen to anyone. An illness. A job loss. A family crisis . . .

  “I just got an eviction notice and need help with the rent this month or my family will be out on the street. How can I get a loan?”

Because a phone line can be a life line . . .

  “Hello. I should have made this call years ago, but I’m struggling right now. I need someone to talk to. . .”

Whether you or someone you know is looking for help . . .  accessing the assistance you need in Jewish Detroit has never been easier than it is now with JHelp.

No matter the question, JHelp (jhelp.org/ 1-833-445-4357) is your first step to navigating the network of resources and social services available in the Jewish community.


Powered by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, JHelp is a fully-integrated platform that lets you reach out and connect seamlessly and confidently with the service you need. With JHelp you choose the time and place to explore the website. Talk, text, email or chat online for information and help in your search for agencies, individuals and programs that provide:

  • in-home support services
  • housing options for seniors
  • services for children
  • support services for families
  • mental health services
  • services for those with disabilities
  • hospice and palliative services
  • food assistance
  • transportation
  • employment and career counseling/services
  • financial counseling and emergency assistance
  • health and wellness programs
  • crisis intervention

Who is JHelp?

JHelp Resource Center Staff: (left) Brooke Flaggman, Boris Milter and Resource Center Director, Randee Black
JHelp Resource Center staff: (left) Brooke Flaggman, Boris Milter and Resource Center Director, Randee Black

“JHELP is a community resource, not an agency,” explains Randee Black, Director of the Resource Center at Jewish Family Service (JFS) in West Bloomfield. “We’re a one-stop service that makes the full breadth of our local services easy to find. We work as the “first voice” on the JHelp line and as a triage service for our agencies, as well as for other social service organizations in our network. In a typical month, we answer about 600 calls from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.”

“Who’s calling?”

As a service of the community, JHelp answers calls of all kinds. As Randee describes, “Not often, but there are those calls that come in to say, ‘Hi, can I have the phone number of the JCC?’ and, of course, we’re ready with the number and a smile on the line.”

“Generally speaking, our callers come to us with more than one “ask,” Randee continues, “We’re here to assist callers in every way we can. Our job is to listen to their story, and unpack a situation that suggests multiple needs and services. Requests tend to fall into three main categories: financial assistance, housing assistance and care (a broad term) for aging parents.”

“Tell us more”

Since its launch in February 2018, JHelp is proving to be an effective way of reaching out to more people seeking help and directing them to the services they need within the network of Jewish agencies. “Additionally, we provide referrals outside our network,” Randee noted. “As good listeners, we also are trained in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. We know how to explore a hesitant answer – a pause on the phone that signals the need to read between the lines and to dive deeper into a situation. Those kinds of calls are rare, but they can be life-saving.”

Ready to chat

Individuals who prefer to use the internet directly can access help online through the JHelp website at jhelp.org.

On the JHelp website, visitors are offered a choice of calling the JHelp number, browsing through a clickable list of services, scheduling a phone call with a staff person or communicating through an online chat function. Services are organized by target audience (teens, older adults, families etc.) and specific categories of need, such as housing or career services. In addition, individual agencies are listed with direct online connections to their websites.

According to Federation Chief Marketing Officer, Ted Cohen, “JHelp has grown out of our findings in a recent community survey suggesting that people were not aware of all the services Jewish Detroit provides. JHelp is a collaboration with Federation’s partner agencies in a completely coordinated effort to help people tap into our network, as well as many of the direct-service Jewish organizations in our community.”

Affiliated agencies in the JHelp network

Friendship Circle: provides services to individuals and families with special needs through social, educational, recreational, and vocational programming.

Hebrew Free Loan of Metropolitan Detroit (HFL): provides personal, educational and business loans – all interest-free, in accordance with core Jewish values of respect, compassion and confidentiality.

JARC: serves individuals with developmental disabilities in 80 locations, including 24-hour care in group homes and independent living settings for adults.

Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit (JCC): builds Jewish community  through education , recreation and engagement opportunities for the mind, body and soul.

Jewish Family Service (JFS): provides services uniquely tailored to the needs of each individual or family, in three core areas: services for older adults, mental health and wellness, and safety net services.

Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network (JHCN): provides palliative care, hospice care, life enrichments and bereavement care to ensure that no Jewish patient or family faces terminal illness alone.

Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit (JSL): provides service and support that includes assisted and independent living options in six residences in two communities.

JVS:  helps people of all walks of life meet life’s challenges. Services include counseling, training and support services for job seekers, homebuyers and homeowners, people with disabilities, seniors, students and the homeless.

Kadima: provides comprehensive residential, therapeutic and social services to those  with mental health needs.

National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Detroit Section (NCJW): a grassroots organization of volunteers who provide a variety of programs that include Kosher Meals on Wheels, Teen Yellow Pages, bereavement groups and a temporary domestic abuse shelter.

Yad Ezra: Michigan’s only kosher food pantry provides supplemental kosher food, necessities and enhancement for the holidays and lifecycle events to those in need.

For more information or help now, visit jhelp.org or call 1-833-445-4357.