Our professionals bring outstanding training, experience, and sensitivity to their work, providing the highest quality of service to the individuals and families they serve. We maintain absolute confidentiality and respect for each individual’s right to complete privacy. Our staff is composed of licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, addictions counselors, nurses, career coaches, vocational counselors, residential and supported living counselors, professional consultants, and support staff. Over 200 dedicated volunteers provide vital help to enhance the work of the agency’s staff.
Joan Grayson Cohen
Joan Grayson Cohen, Esq., LCSW-C, Executive Director of Jewish Community Services, carries out the agency’s commitment to providing essential human services to the entire community.
Joan has been on staff at JCS (and its founding agency, Jewish Family Services) since 1993, serving as an integral part of the agency’s management team. Prior to her selection as Executive Director, she was the Director of Economic Services, overseeing the agency’s Career Center, Financial Assistance, and Service Coordination. Joan has extensive experience in human services and outreach having also worked in the sexual abuse treatment unit of Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland, and in Protective Services at the Baltimore County Department of Social Services. Joan holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.
Chief Administrative Officer, Budget and Administration
Joan Roth, MBA, is responsible for Jewish Community Services’ fiscal and administrative policies and procedures, including budgeting, compensation and human resources management, and the development and maintenance of statistical systems. In addition, she is responsible for coordinating various administrative services for the agency, including risk management, physical facilities and management information systems. Joan continues at JCS after being employed with Jewish Family Services for 27 years; she has been in an executive position for about 20 years. She played a central role in creating the administrative systems which enabled the organization to grow from an agency with limited programming and a budget of just over $3 million to the diverse, $12 million agency it is today. Joan received a BA from Clark University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to JCS, Joan worked as a retail accountant in Boston and as an assistant business manager for an ambulatory health care facility in Michigan.
Laura B. Bristow
Director, Economic Services
Laura Bristow, Director of Economic Services, oversees the agency’s Career Center, Financial Assistance, and Service Coordination. Laura has extensive experience in business management, leadership development and education. Prior to joining Jewish Community Services, Laura was Executive Director of Roots & Branches Charter School. She has also held key management positions at education institutions that enroll adult learners. Laura holds an MBA from the Northeastern University Graduate School of Business in Boston, MA and a BA degree from Oberlin College in Ohio.
Director, Behavioral Health Services and Compliance
Ruth Klein, Ph.D., directs therapy services for children, adults, and seniors; addictions treatment; psychiatric services and psychiatric rehabilitation; and. residential and community-based services for adults with special needs. She also has oversight for the agency’s compliance program ensuring that all services and programs meet strict guidelines set by government and accrediting organizations. Ruth served as Director of Clinical Services for Jewish Family Services from 2006 to 2008. A licensed psychologist with many years of experience in the mental health field, Ruth holds a Ph.D. in Clinical and Social/Personality Psychology from New York University. Prior to joining JFS, she was Director of Behavioral Health for Peoples Community Health Center, Inc.; Clinical Director of Young Adult Institute, a clinic and psychiatric rehabilitation program; and Program Director for Granite House, Inc., an outpatient mental health center. She taught Psychology at McDaniel College, and provided psychotherapy and counseling services to adults, children and adolescents at the Carroll County and Howard County Community Mental Health Centers.
Director, Community Connections
Karen Nettler, MSW, is Director of Community Connections, which encompasses the agency’s Access Services, Community Engagement and Prevention Education program clusters. Programs and services of JCS Community Connections are designed to help individuals and families feel supported by and connected to the Jewish community in ways that are meaningful to them. Karen served as Associate Executive Director of Jewish Family Services from 1989 through June 2008. Before coming to JFS, Karen was Special Assistant to the Director in the Governor’s Office for Children and Youth. She received her undergraduate degree from Lafayette College and her Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning.
Jacki Post Ashkin
Senior Manager, Marketing and Development
Jacki Post Ashkin, LCSW-C, is Senior Manager of Marketing and Development for Jewish Community Services. In this capacity, she oversees the agency’s activities related to resource development, grants, donor relations, marketing and communications. Prior to the formation of JCS, Jacki was Manager of Resource Development and Manager of Jewish Family Life Outreach for Jewish Family Services. Jacki co-founded the innovative Shleimut program in which mental health and physical health professionals work with clergy as an on-site interdisciplinary team attending to the mental, physical, and spiritual health and healing needs of a congregational community. She also serves on the Jewish Community Critical Incident Response Team. Before joining JFS in 1991, Jacki was on staff at the Harford-Belair Community Mental Health Center. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from The Pennsylvania State University and received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Senior Manager, Access Services
Rachel Eidelman, LCSW-C is Senior Manager of Access Services. Rachel oversees the agency’s Access Center, including intake and information and referral services. Rachel has extensive experience providing family services. Prior to joining JCS in 2012, she was an Outpatient Therapist and Adoption Coordinator at Jewish Family Services of Delaware.
Beth Land Hecht
Senior Manager, Community Engagement
Beth Land Hecht, LCSW-C, is Senior Manager of Community Engagement. In her role, Beth oversees the agency’s volunteer services as well as several community-based outreach and consultation programs. Through our array of volunteer programs, 200+ individuals donate their time performing functions critical to helping JCS professionals meet the diverse needs of clients. Volunteers include Big Brother/Big Sister mentors, tutors, drivers, friendly visitors, office assistants, attorneys providing pro-bono consultation and people who visit prisoners. In addition, Beth supervises the JCS Schools and Camps Consultation Service, bereavement services and the parenting support program. Prior to the formation of JCS, Beth was Program Director for the Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister League from December 1998 through June 2008 and had been on the staff of Jewish Family Services for seven years, serving as Coordinator of the Jewish Outreach Network and Manager of Community Outreach. Beth received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning in 1983 and her B.A. from the University of Maryland.
Senior Manager, Therapy Services
Joseph Honsberger, LCSW-C, oversees therapy and counseling services for children, adults and seniors, as well as addictions treatment, foster care and adoption, psychiatric services, and psychiatric rehabilitation. Previously Joe was Director of Family Services at JFS, providing services for children, adolescents, adults, and individuals with disabilities. Joe was also responsible for intake services. Joe was Director of the JFS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs from 1999-2001.
Joe has been with the agency for 22 years, having begun as a social work intern. He received his Masters of Social Work degree from The University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Social Work, and his LCSW-C in 1988, focusing on working with individuals, couples and families.
Senior Manager, Career Center
Agella Kevas is Senior Manager of the JCS Career Center. She oversees the full range of JCS services – career coaching, assessments, resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and targeted job development — dedicated to helping individuals of all ages and abilities find and maintain employment and at all levels, from entry-level to executive positions. A 20 year veteran of workforce development programs at Jewish Vocational Services and Jewish Community Services, Agella holds a B.S. in Business Administration. She is an active member of the International Association for Jewish Vocational Services, for which she is involved in national training efforts and is on a steering committee for a project with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Senior Manager, Service Coordination
Elaine Kitt, LCSW-C, heads the Service Coordination division of JCS, which arranges, coordinates, monitors and advocates for the full array of concrete and supportive services necessary to meet clients’ needs. Elaine served as Director of Older Adult Services at JFS until the formation of JCS. She previously served as Associate Director of Access and Family Services. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Elaine has worked primarily with older adults and their families since joining the staff of JFS in 1975. She helped to develop and coordinated the GAP (Geriatric Assessment Program) with Sinai Hospital and Levindale.
Manager, Prevention Education
Howard Reznick, LCSW-C, manages JCS Prevention Education Services, which provides educational programs for youth and adults that increase knowledge and awareness of risky behaviors and their consequences, while encouraging people in making healthy choices. Outreach programs aimed at prevention and education include the Steven Kaufman AIDS Outreach Project and The Girls Project, as well as programs for children, teens, parents, and staff of congregations, schools, and camps.Howard has over thirty years of experience in the field of mental health and training. He pioneered work in the Baltimore Jewish community promoting early awareness and efforts to respond to a growing chemical dependency problem. He headed a consultation service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and was involved in physician training at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Baltimore. More recently he was Senior Trainer for the Sidran Institute on Trauma Recovery, where he trained rabbis and youth workers on responding to the needs of community members who had been abused as children.
Senior Manager, Special Needs Services
Ann Skinner manages JCS programs and services designed to enable individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities to live as fully and independently in the community as possible. JCS Special Needs Services include residential services provided in Alternative Living Units for adults with developmental disabilities; supportive living services to individuals in their own homes; and counseling and case management services to people with developmental disabilities and their family members.
Before joining JCS, Ann was Project Director of Mid-Atlantic Human Services Corporation, where she oversaw residential facilities providing health and behavioral services to people with developmental disabilities. From 1992 to 1998, she held several positions at Kennedy Krieger Institute, most recently Program Case Manager in the Adult/Pediatric Residential Program. Skinner attended Towson State University and has an Associate Degree from Villa Julie College.