Laura Alter, MS-HRM
Laura Plastrik Alter works as a Vocational Counselor in the Disability Department. She assists individuals with a disability to find and maintain employment. Laura has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Management from the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Houston Baptist University.† Prior to joining JFS, she held management positions in Human Resources with InterFirst Bank, Houston and The Methodist Hospital System. †Laura has several years experience as an Associate Teacher working with all levels of elementary age children, including those with a disability.† Laura is in the process of becoming certified as a job placement specialist by the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services.
Cathy Binstock, LMSW
Cathy Binstock, Licensed Social Worker, joined JFS as a Therapist. She holds a Masters Degree from the University of Houston and has practiced social work with adults, children and families beginning in 1984.† Cathy was the founder of the River Performing and Visual Arts Center, an affiliate of TUTS and co-founder of the Friendship Circle of Chabad Outreach Houston.† Cathy is the author of: "After Your Childís Diagnosis:† A Practical Guide For Families Raising Children With Disabilities."
Stella Blumenthal, LBSW
Licensed Social Worker with over 15 years of case management experience. On staff of JFS since 1996 and five years before that with the Senior Adult Department Staff of the Houston JCC. Currently serves as case manager (under the supervision of JFS Director of Senior Adult Services Department ) at the Goldberg B'nai B'rith Towers, a senior citizen HUD project of more than 300 residents. Holds a Bachelors degree in Education and served over 20 years as a kindergarten and pre-school teacher in South Africa and at the Houston JCC. Area of specialization: geriatrics.
Mal Finger, LBSW
Licensed Geriatric Professional with 13 years experience at JFS. He brings a set of interpersonal skills honed over many years to facilitate, encourage and enable JFS clients, especially those Senior Adults he serves, to successfully negotiate the perils of aging. Currently, as a member of the JFS Senior Adult Department, oversees the Lifeline Emergency Phone System Program and is the MIS Coordinator of the Information Technology Department of the agency. Areas of specialization: Client assessments, case management, information and referral, and provides empathetic counseling and advocacy on behalf of his clients.
Elyse Spector Kalmans, MBA
Elyse Spector Kalmans works part-time as the JFS Employment Services Coordinator, assisting our communityís unemployed clients to network and prepare for job searches. She received a bachelorís degree in psychology from Brown University and a masterís degree in marketing and finance from Northwestern Universityís Kellogg School of Management. Prior to joining the JFS staff, she managed a public relations and marketing firm. She has also held management positions at companies including Chase, Pillsbury, Coca-Cola, and Enron. Kalmans serves on the boards of directors of Congregation Emanu El, Jewish Federation of Greater Houston and the Anti-Defamation League.
Jacqueline Kudlaty, MSW
Case Manager with Senior Adult Department of JFS. Primary liaison with Care for Elders Intensive Case Management Program. Her experience includes an internship at the VA Medical Center where she worked with seniors and offered grief counseling through a Hospice Care Team.
Hope Lipnick, MA, LPC, CHTP
Jewish Denominational Chaplain at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Director of Jewish Chaplaincy at the Texas Medical Center. Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Psychological Associate, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and Reiki Master. Masters degree in Psychology and Certificate from Masters in Jewish Studies Program. Year-long Clinical Pastoral Education Fellow at MD Anderson, followed by a second year of Advanced Residency in CPE at MDA as a Fellow.
Judy P. Magids, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 25 years of clinical experience as a psychotherapist. On the staff of JFS since 1987 in the Community Mental Health Consultation Program. Through JFS, she is a consultant to preschools, after-school programs and summer camp programs. Her advanced post graduate training focuses on young children (birth to six) and on families. She also provides individual therapy for adults with a particular focus on life transitions.
Leah Mueller, LBSW
As the Coordinator of the Senior Adult Services Department, she provides supervision and direction to the departmental staff. Serves as the agency's Legislative Issues Liaison. Licensed Geriatric Professional with 19 years of experience. Prior to joining the JFS staff in 200l, supervised the Chai Program at the Houston JCC. This is a transitional program for senior adults at the JCC catering to individuals 60+ who do not require adult day care services, but need a more structured and smaller program. Intergenerational programming has consistently played a role in her professional life since her student internship in 1987. Holds a Bachelor of Science of Social Work from the Ohio State University with concentration in gerontology. Areas of specialization: senior assessment, info & referral, case management. Works with Holocaust survivors to help them obtain appropriate benefits.
Toby Newman, LCSW
As Chief Program Officer, she provides supervision and direction to all clinical staff and program areas. Clinical Social Worker with 20 years experience. On JFS staff from 2000. Holds a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Houston. A Diplomate in Clinical Social Work since 1993; a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers since 1989; and a Certified Group Psychotherapist since 1994. A trained Disaster Mental Health volunteer for the American Red Cross and the agency liaison to the United Way Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. Adjunct Professor in the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Areas of specialization: physical illnesses, such as cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer's Disease, assistance and advice on filing disability claims, grief and bereavement.
Mira Rueveni, LPC, M Ed
Licensed Professional Counselor and Family Therapy Supervisor with 30 years of clinical experience in counseling and psychotherapy. On JFS staff since 1989 specializing in psychotherapy with individuals, children, couples and families. Currently coordinator of Project Shalom, a program for chronically mentally ill adults and a consultant for the agency's Community Mental Health Program for toddlers and preschool children in school settings. Graduate of Antioch College with post graduate clinical experience at The Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute in Philadelphia.
Ruth S. Sherman, LBSW
Licensed Social Worker with a concentration in gerontology. On the JFS staff in the Senior Adult Services Department since 1989. Areas of specialization: assessments for environmental services, case management, information and referral, supportive casework, counseling and advocacy on behalf of clients. Works with Holocaust survivors to help them obtain appropriate benefits.
Melissa Tabin, PhD
Currently serves as the Financial Aid Case Manager and Intake and Referral Specialist. She began her tenure as JFS Costal Cities Case Manager in March of 2009 assisting families recovering from Hurricane Ike. She did her clinical training at UTMB in Galveston and the University of Georgia Counseling Psychology program.
Alisha Wagner, PhD
Licensed clinical psychologist volunteering her time to be part of the clinical staff. Provides adult therapy to JFS clients. Has previously worked at the Harris County Psychiatric Center and as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology.