Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Community Services--One Possible Solution to the Problem

I've been giving some more thought to my posting on perfect people. ALN commented that it is time to get going and do something about the problem of "problems."

Okay, how about this? One step that could be taken is an Internet website--let's call it Jewish Community Services as a working title--that would have an alphabetical listing by "problem" category. Under each category would be names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for any Jewish organization/institution/individual who offers help for that problem. There would also be listings for non-Jewish organizations that also help with that problem. There would be web links to sites offering solid information on the problem.

What would be needed is someone to offer to sponsor the website. And then we would need some computer savvy people to put up the site and make sure that is was fully searchable.

We would need a group to publicize the site, making sure that all shuls/schools/organizations got the url for the site and asking that they list that url on their own sites. We would need the OU, the Young Israel, the Agudah to publish the site url in their publications.

We would need to get the Jewish blogosphere to make sure that the url for the site appeared on every blog.

We would need fliers to be posted in every shul, grocery, restaurant, mikveh and place that Jews gather giving the specifics of the site. We would need the Jewish newspapers to post a public service announcement that the site was available.

I'm not underestimating that this would take a lot of work, but it's work that is dividable and shareable. And I also recognize that there are huge numbers of people not using the Internet, some for religious reasons, some for financial reasons and some for reasons of age and lack of knowledge of computers. That's what printers are for. Downloaded, printed lists could be sent out to those areas not likely to have Internet access, whatever the reason.

But, you guessed it, the first thing that needs to be done is that "little" thing of getting someone or many someones to sponsor the site so it can exist.

So, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

The idea is good and your efforts praiseworthy, but I think there are pre-existing attempts to address the situation out there, although I can't guarantee that they have info for every single condition extant.

http://www.frumsupport.com/ looks interesting, for one example. There are also of a number of organizations that do referrals, esp. medical.

Although I consider this blog one of the better ones out there, it's reach is limited at this time. It's not so easy to do something like this, as we saw a while back with the website with Yeshiva information project.

The Five + of Us said...

Sounds great. Let every place get the word out: Our community encourages you to get help when you need it, and we will help you do that.

I think the first thing to do is to check what web resources are out there, even if they include more general listings, so that we have an idea of what exists...Maybe a one-time carnival gathering with everyone bringing in their own resources and searches?

After that, let's talk about the other resource limitation -- the financial one. Far too many people I know (at least in Israel) know what they need, and know where to get it, but they can't afford it.

So in order to be useful to as many people as possible, any listing of support resources would have to somehow include or refer to a list of financial support resources, at least for this specific need.


therapydoc said...

So now I've got yet another favorite blog. Great idea.

ProfK said...

d,I went to the frumsupport site and it's more of a "sufferer" to "sufferer" conversation site then what I had in mind. And an awful lot is left off of that site. Addiction, autism and alcoholism and anorexia and bulemia for just a few things. There is also a section dealing with shidduchim, something I definitely don't envision on the site I was talking about.

I know it's not easy but I've learned a few things since the yeshiva listing. For one thing, I'm not that "shy" novice blogger I once was. For another, I think this type of site may have more general appeal to the blogosphere then the yeshiva listing site had. And I've learned a bit about getting out the message to a far wider audience then just those who read my blog.

ALN's idea about a carnival is one such way to get the information needed. Everyone knows of a few places that offer help for some problems, but there is no central repository of that knowledge.

One example: "everyone" in our area knows that Mrs. Miriam Lubling can produce miracles in getting you a top rated doctor for most ailments. And that's fine, until you have to get her phone number. Ditto with ECHO. And then there is the Bostoner Rebbi with his myriad connections to top flight medical care. Hours can be wasted in trying to locate all the sources available, and you might not find them.

ALN, financial resources could easily be a section in the listings.

ProfK said...

Okay, research is supposed to be my specialty so I just did some "finger walking" on Google, the search engine of choice for most people. Typing in "Orthodox Jewish Community Services" got me 3 listings--two in England and one in Toronto. Typing in "New York Jewish Community Services" got me
394,000 listings, the first one being for a Jewish Community Center in Florida. Perusing what was offered I found a huge number of duplicate listings and many that have nothing to do with getting help and an awful lot with gymnastics programs and other community center activities. Type in "Alcoholism" and "Judaism" and you get 819,000 listings. Again, most are not listings of where to get help and going through 819,000 listings to possibly find one that is going to tell you who to call or where to go is useless.

Ezzie said...

As with anything, resources are the key. That needs to come first in compiling a listing of resources, even! There are many great ideas out there, but they all require someone to *do* them.

Anonymous said...

Prof K, I'm out of shooting distance so I'm volunteering you to host a carnival to get some information. You are right that the information is necessary but someone (hint hint) is going to have to stand and say "I'll do it." I'm sure that lots of people will help by giving in information but I really would like it better that it was me reporting to you then you reporting to me.