Met Council is proud of the commitment our employees show towards the community each and every day. As experts in New York City poverty, Met Council staff members are always willing to invest their time, talent, and resources by serving as advocates for those in need.


Staff pictureVolunteer Manager featured in the Huffington Post

The Huffington Post published Met Council’s Volunteer Manager Stefanie Greenberg’s article, "How Volunteering Could Lead to Your Next Job". The article discusses how holiday volunteers not only directly impact the lives of the people they serve, the act of volunteering grants a competitive edge for the volunteers in the job market. The article goes on to discuss how volunteering could lead to your next job.

The Huffington Post is one of the most read news sites with 46 Million unique visitors per month. It covers topics including: breaking news, politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women's interests, and local news.

JULY 2013
Staff pictureThe Volunteer Department Makes Strides for Change 
Earlier this summer, Met Council volunteer staff attended The National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, D.C. The three day conference that gathered national leaders in government, corporate responsibility and non-profits to explore what it means to be a citizen and how we can create change. Featured speakers included: Gov. Chris Christie, Senior Political Analyst at CNN David Geren, Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility for JPMorgan Chase & Co, Peter L. Scher,  FOX News’ Bill O'Reilly and  Co-CEO of Teach For America, Elisa Villanueva Beard. 

Stefanie Greenberg, Volunteer Department Manager at Met Council, said that “the high energy environment at the summit allowed us to meet with national leaders, learn from their experiences and share some of Met Council’s successful programs such as our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and our AmeriCorps program.”


Met Council Longevity Awards 
We congratulate the following Met Council staff:

20 Years
Lyudmila Ovten •  Arthur Spector •  Anna Gorodetsky
 Vadim Belenky •  Temima Karlin •  Miriam Spiegel 

15 Years
Chava Rosenthal   Michael Ford • Nora Clark 

10 Years
Mikhail Yarmitskiy • Lyudmila Shakhman • Olga Podlubnaya • Ilene Marcus
Katherine Rosenberg • Christine Solomon • Jose Felix • Larisa Boas • Agustin Del Valle 
   Justine Tramel •  Yelena Kandkhorova  •  Beth Silbergleit • Cynthia Zalisky

Thank you for your hard work and dedication!


Met Council Wishes Director of Health Care Services a Happy Retirement after 26 Years of Service
Met Council Director of Health Care Services Joyce Traina, RN, spent the last 26 years of her career as a dedicated Met Council employee. In 1986, Joyce began as a Nursing Instructor and was promoted to the Director of Training in 1990. She has served in her current role since 1994, overseeing all of the agencies training services.

“The most fulfilling part of the job has been the ability to take women from areas of low socioeconomic status and teach them the skills necessary to climb the career ladder,” said Joyce. “Many of our students begin as aides and eventually become nurses. I like being able to point them in the right direction.”

Joyce plans to spend her retirement traveling, consulting, and volunteering in her community.

Met Council would like to thank Joyce for her many years of tireless commitment to the organization’s mission. Joyce truly empowers New Yorkers in Need.

Nicole DDirector of Met Council’s Benefits Access Department Joins Coro Fellows Program
Met Council’s Nicole Doniger has joined the prestigious Coro Leadership New York, an experiential leadership training program that explores leadership strategies and public policy.
Rather than texts and articles, participants are given roles and projects that provide structured opportunities for expanding capacity to initiate change and raising awareness of civic issues. Coro selects approximately 55 successful professionals that reflect the demographics of New York City from public, private and nonprofit sectors who are ready to deepen their leadership practice and gain innovative tools and strategies specific to the complex task of bringing about collaborative change.
Since 2009, Nicole has expanded Met Council’s services to provide essential supportive programming to New York’s underserved communities; making us a leader in both Food Stamp and Public Health insurance facilitated enrollment. Representing Met Council in several hunger and health related coalitions, Nicole works to effect change in both local, state and federal policy and procedure.
Jody SteinhartMet Council’s Career Services Compliance Manager featured in “Now Hiring” Report
The Center for an Urban Future, a Manhattan-based think tank, recently published a study titled “Now Hiring” which identifies more than two dozen occupations in New York City that are expected to have ample job openings in the years ahead. Professionals in the career training world were cited in the report, including Met Council’s Career Services Compliance Manager Jody Steinhardt. The report reads:
Jody Steinhardt, career services compliance manager at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, which runs a building maintenance training program, confirms that there are plenty of openings for building maintenance staff. As she put it, “every NYC building needs maintenance staff, every residential building, every commercial building, even Madison Square Garden needs building maintenance staff.” The report, commissioned and fully funded by JobsFirstNYC, is available here.

Polina staffMet Council’s Immigration Specialist Shines at Brooklyn Borough President’s Russian Heritage Event
Met Council’s Immigration Specialist Polina Lemberg attended a Russian Heritage Program on July 25, 2012. The event, held at Tatiana Restaurant in Brighton Beach, featured Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. The Borough President presented a proclamation to restaurant owner, Tatiana Varzar. “Here in Brooklyn—the Russian-speaking capital of the United States—we have so much to celebrate, especially in Brighton Beach, the capital of the Russian-speaking capital,” said Borough President Markowitz. “But it’s not only in Brighton Beach. Everywhere you look in our borough, Russian communities are growing and thriving, from Midwood to Mill Basin, Ocean Parkway to Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay to Bay Ridge, Kensington to Gravesend.” Polina had the opportunity to meet with Borough President Markowitz and to speak with additional district leaders and elected officials. Polina has more than a decade of experience in adjustment of status and citizenship and has helped to improve the quality of life for New York City’s Russian population.


JULY 2012
sandyMet Council's Coordinator of Emergency Food Programs Goes Green
Sandy Davis not only gives back to the community by helping Met Council clients gain access to emergency food programs, but she also leads green efforts by using bags donated by employees in the Met Council food pantry. Clients are grateful to have sturdy paper and plastic bags from actual local grocery stores, allowing them to shop with dignity. Thank you Sandy for leading by example and doing your part to better our environment and the experience of our clients!

Val StaffDirector of Home Services Leads Workshop for Non-Profits
On July 25, 2012, Met Council Director of Home Services Valeriya Beloshkurenko presented case managers and community non-profit staff with information on Project Metropair at Weill Cornell Medical College. Through her expertise in working with senior citizens across New York City, Valeriya was able to share how her program allows this vulnerable population to live safely in their homes, while retaining the utmost level of dignity. The workshop, organized by Project GEM, aimed to educate those who work with seniors on regular basis. Project Metropair makes home visits to people who need minor home repairs for safety and security. Each year, Valeriya and her staff help over 700 households a year. Learn how you can support this program.

Met Council Longevity Awards
We congratulate the following Met Council staff:

25 Years
Jodee Silver          Joyce Traina

20 Years
Robert Battle          Anita Greenberg

 15 Years
Peter Brest          Patricia Ramseur

10 Years
Emmanuel Odinmah          Bela Ravkina          Elissa Smith          Simon Starobinets
Frances Turek          Yeva Yarusskaya          Rimma Yefromova

Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Shana FrydmanMet Council Holds Workshop at the Uri L’tzedek Domestic Violence Awareness Conference

Director of Met Council’s Family Violence Services Shana Frydman, LCSW, hosted a workshop at the September 18, 2011 Uri L’tzedek Domestic Violence Awareness Conference. The workshop covered the forms of abuse and the impact of abuse on the victim. Shana also participated in the closing panel, addressing how we can respond to domestic violence as a community.


Joyce Traina - Health Plus honoreeMet Council Director of Homecare is Honored by Health Plus
Director of Met Council Homecare Services, Joyce Traina, was honored by Health Plus at the August 28, 2011 Brooklyn Cyclones game. This recognition is due to Joyce’s support and dedication to the senior community.

Health Plus, a not-for-profit, multi-cultural organization, is one of the fastest growing managed care organizations in New York City. It was established in 1984 with a commitment to provide coordinated quality health care and improving access to health care for uninsured and underserved families.


Shana FrydmanDirector of Family Violence Services Joins Expert Panel
Director of Met Council’s Family Violence Services Shana Frydman, LCSW, participated in a panel titled “How We Heal, Deal and Feel” on August 8, 2011. The panel discussion centered around coping with trauma and creating safety.

The women’s only event was a partnership between Met Council, UJA-Federation of New York, JBFCS, FEGS, Kol Tzedek, and Chai Lifeline.

JULY 2011

Claire BushDirector of Career Services Participates in National Conversation on Immigration Reform
On July 28th, Claire Bush, Director of Career Services, attended a roundtable discussion at LaGuardia Community College hosted by the White House Champions of Change Series. Professionals gathered to brainstorm new ways for the Federal Government to help leaders provide better services for immigrant integration into their communities.

Bush was among the 22 attendees at the discussion, representing Met Council as well as the Program for International Nurses. Johan Uvin, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the Department of Education; Robert Asaro-Angelo, the Regional Representative of the U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis; and Felicia Escobar, the Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration at the White House Domestic Policy Council were also present to facilitate discussions on state and local experiences supporting immigrant integration.

Champions of Change, a White House initiative, is a national conversation on immigration reform created by President Obama. The program aims to fix the broken immigration system so it meets America’s current economy and security needs. Fostering immigrant integration is one of the many ways the program is aiming to achieve this goal.

JUNE 2011

Madeline SerenaMet Council Quality Assurance Manager Presents at AWARDS Conference
Quality Assurance Manager, Madeline Serena, presented at the annual AWARDS Users Conference on June 23, 2011 at the NYU Kimmel Center. AWARDS is a client data base in use by Met Council. Madeline was asked to speak after demonstrating her expertise in using AWARDS for Met Council. The session provided an overview of some of the most useful reporting features in AWARDS and how Met Council uses them to make programmatic decisions and achieve agency goals.


Elissa SmithElissa Smith of Crisis Intervention Services on Panel at St. Luke's Hospital
Administrative Director of Crisis Intervention Services Elissa Smith, LCSW participated in a panel discussion at St. Luke’s Hospital on June 8, 2011. The discussion was titled “Geriatric Family Dynamics: The Evolution of Responsibility, Leadership and Interpersonal Relationships as Family Members Grow Older”. The panel was hosted by Life Force in Later Years (LILY) and St. Luke’s Hospital. Elissa was joined by Dr. Brenda Matti-Orozko, Geriatric Internist. 

MAY 2011

Shana FrydmanDirector of Family Violence Services Honored by Sister to Sister Network
Shana Frydman
, LCSW, director of Met Council Family Violence Services was honored by the Sister to Sister Network, a program for single mothers, on May 29, 2011.
The Hakaros HaTov (Appreciation) Award was presented to Shana during a dinner for the Sister to Sister volunteer and community.

“Sister to Sister is an organization I am proud to work with and I am honored that Met Council is being recognized for their dedication to the clients,” said Shana.


Stefanie GreenbergMet Council Goes Green
Met Council has been selected to join the Jewish Greening Fellowship (JGF). As one of the nineteen agencies selected to participate in the innovative program, Met Council will be forming a green team, undergoing an energy audit, developing new environmental education programs for the community, and upgrading its sustainable practices.

The agency has selected Stefanie Greenberg, Met Council Office Manager, to lead this initiative. Met Council will benefit from an intensive 18 month cohort-based program that trains Jewish communal professionals to become environmental change leaders within their organizations and communities. Met Council will use this opportunity to create a garden at one of its housing residences, provide energy efficient light bulbs to residents, install high efficiency appliances, and other projects recommended through the energy audit.

“Being a Jewish Greening Fellow means that I will not only be able to learn about best practices when it comes to greening, but I will be able to implement them,” said Stefanie. “That will be the most rewarding part.”


Jackie EbronCrisis Services Director Speaks Out at Community Leaders Day
On May 2, UJA-Federation of New York hosted a Community Leaders Day Luncheon, featuring guest speaker Jackie Ebron, director of crisis services at Met Council.

An employee of Met Council for more than 35 years, Jackie is known for her personal commitment and dedication to client cases. Don Bernstein, a chair of UJA’s Bankruptcy and Reorganization Group, said, “She individually has touched the lives of more New Yorkers than just about anyone I know of.”

At the event, Jackie spoke about how critical UJA’s support has been for Met Council in fulfillment of its mission to fight poverty and provide aid to New Yorkers in need. She highlighted the significance of UJA’s support in specific cases such as a 100-year-old woman struggling to stay in her apartment and an 80-year-old woman who didn’t want to go to a shelter after a fire damaged her home.

“The donations you give go to the right place,” said Jackie. The group’s collective gift for the event was $1.28 million, breaking last year’s record and making the day a great success.


Eva RandMet Council Employee Shares her Story of the Holocaust
In recognition of Yom Hashoah (or Holocaust Remembrance Day), Holocaust survivor and Met Council employee Eva Rand shared her harrowing experience with the Met Council staff on Monday, May 2.

Eva’s touching recollection of her and her family’s experience was a perfect way for Met Council to honor Holocaust Remembrance Day and courageous survivors such as Eva. “When we came to America, we didn’t care if we had anything. To be here and to be free! I kept saying that if I could, I would love to go to Times Square and stand on a chair yelling ‘God bless America!’”

Watch a video of Eva speaking>>

APRIL 2011

Polina LembergMet Council Immigration Specialist Supports CUNY Citizenship Now! Project
Polina Lemberg
, Met Council Immigration Specialist, was recently highlighted by CUNY Citizenship Now! The project provides free, high quality, and confidential citizenship and immigration law services to help individuals and families on their path to U.S. citizenship. Polina, who has nine years experience in adjustment of status and citizenship, joined the project to help improve the quality of life for New York City’s immigrant population. Since the Citizenship Now! project began, it has answered nearly 85,000 calls.

MARCH 2011

Devorah WeissMet Council Social Worker is Featured Speaker at Yeshiva Wurzweiler School of Social Work
Devorah Weiss
, Social Worker for Met Council, was the featured speaker on March 16th at the Yeshiva Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Devorah, an alumnus of the school, discussed the topic of the new poor population. Over 100 students were in attendance at the event. Devorah was asked to speak after being featured in the January 27, 2011 edition of the New York Times.

Rose TurshenRose Turshen Represents Met Council at J-Teen Philanthropy Summit
Rose Turshen, Met Council Strategic Initiatives Manager, spoke to a group of teens and parents from J-Teen Leadership of Westchester on February 13, 2011. The Teen Philanthropy Summit, co-sponsored by J-Teen and Jewish Communal Fund (JCF), focused on hunger and poverty. The Summit is part of an effort by JCF’s Center for Next Generation Philanthropy to engage teens and young adults in charitable giving through the establishment of donor-advised funds for individuals or groups. Rose explained the scope of poverty in New York City, who is impacted by food insecurity, factors that contribute to this situation and what needs to be done to address the problem. After hearing presentations by the speakers, the teens and parents participated in separate text study sessions conducted by Areyvut.

The group of teens made generous grants to Met Council and the Food Bank for Westchester. A donor also offered to match the teen’s grant and JCF is making an additional $180 donation as a thank you to Met Council for participating.

Jody with husband EricJody Ruth Steinhardt Discusses Unemployment and Health at PHANYC Event
Jody Ruth Steinhardt, Met Council Career Services Compliance Manager, recently participated in a discussion by the Public Health Association of NYC (PHANYC) at the Brooklyn Public Library, Grand Army Plaza branch. This particular segment was part of a series titled “Unnatural Causes” and looks at the connection between unemployment and health.

PHANYC is an organization of public health professionals who inform and educate about public health issues and the health care system, influencing public health policy.

Benny WechslerDirector of Met Council’s Kosher Food Network Speaks to UJA-Federation Volunteers
On February 2, 2011, Benny Wechsler, Director of Met Council’s Kosher Food Network, spoke to Lower Westchester Women’s Campaign volunteers from UJA-Federation of New York. As the largest kosher food distribution network in the country, Met Council serves 15,000 families each month and distributes over five million pounds of food annually across New York City. Benny has been working in food rescue distribution for more than 18 years.

Volunteers also assembled and donated 500 tuna and egg salad sandwiches to Met Council’s Food Network. The sandwiches were given to the Bronx and Canarsie JCCs and then distributed to their food pantry recipients.


Claire BushMet Council Career Services Wins 2011 Opportunity Award
Met Council’s Career Services Medical Pathways (MedPath) has been selected by the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC) as a winner of the 2011 Opportunity Awards, which honors best practices and models for workforce development.

The department, led by Claire Bush, was chosen in the “Encouraging Career Advancement in a Growth Sector” category. This award recognizes an organization that has created a model pathway whereby the unemployed and underemployed are trained and find work in industries with burgeoning opportunities and sustainable wages.

“The high caliber of the applicants, and the well-planned services they provide to multiple constituencies throughout the city, demonstrate that the workforce development community in New York City is doing outstanding work, particularly in the face of high unemployment,” said Kathy Schrier, director of The Actors Fund Work Program and NYCETC board secretary, who chaired the panel of judges. "Met Council uncovers and caters to the individual needs and challenges of its participants so they can become ready for rewarding work. It also carefully tracks outcomes and builds on those findings to meet the needs of employers."

Super Sunday 2011Met Council Staff Shines at Super Sunday
Met Council employees turned out January 30, 2011 to make pledge calls for UJA-Federation of New York during the annual Super Sunday event. More than $750,000 was raised from nearly 1,200 donors who made gifts to help those in need in New York, in Israel, and around the world.

Polina Lemberg, Met Council Immigration Specialist, found it especially important to give back. Polina moved to New York City from Ukraine 17 years ago and was assisted during the transition by a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency. “We are pleased to help our community,” said Polina.

Shana FrydmanDirector of Family Violence Services Speaks out for Victims of Sexual Abuse
Shana Frydman, LCSW, director of Met Council Family Violence Services, continues to serve as a featured speaker for Kol Tzedek. This event series takes place at the at Kings County District Attorney’s office. Barrier Free Tzedek is a symposium for service providers working with victims of sexual abuse that also have disabilities. The program was designed to cover the dynamics of abuse in the disabled community, practical tools for intervention and prevention, and the critical resources available.
Karen Ginnis, Emily Carr BellosStaff Speaks out to Natan on Jewish Poverty
Emily Carr Bellos, Met Council Development Manager, and Karen Ginnis, Met Council Director of Community Projects, spoke to Natan members on January 23, 2011. Emily and Karen were able to give Natan members an overview of the services that Met Council provides, as well as of the current state of Jewish poverty throughout New York City. Natan inspires young philanthropists to become actively engaged in Jewish giving by funding innovative projects that are shaping the Jewish future. Met Council was awarded a $12,500 grant for Natan Adopt-A-Community. Natan is supporting a program for families at the Queens JCC.
Ilene Marcus, Patricia RamseurMet Council Staff Members Hold Team Giving Birthday Fundraiser
Two Met Council staff members recently kicked off the campaign by holding a Team Giving joint birthday celebration. As the first Team Giving champions, the pair raised over $2500 to aid poverty. Team Giving offers a fun, unique, and easy way for friends, family members, and coworkers to support one another, while also benefiting a worthy cause. Learn more about Team Giving>>