Going to this agency was well, I know a lot of people use the term the "worst experience of my life" yet this is where a turn in my life for the worse was made a number of years now & still trying to recover.
I went to satellite officein Long Island to what I thought, work a normal case management job. I ended up being raped by a director & when reported I was told by my supervisor he's being doing this (as he had done to her,the supervisor, for over 14 years.) A number of girls more then 3 besides the supervisor at the time came foward to me(we were all in our eairly 20's except supervisor however at time of her assult she was not far from that age) However they saw what I was going through with FEGS &said thats why they just left & didn't report. They did fire him,however I was treated as if I disrupted the status quo. Most people don't like change but that supervisor treated me the worse. Looking back being lied to, treated like a leper was bad.However the worse was how I was treated by a reputable SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCY, who deals with rape when it happened under their roof treated me. I write this just for others, just because your in a safe environment doesn't mean BAD STUFF CAN'T HAPPEN. KEEP YOUR EYES &EARS OPEN AT ALL TIMES.
Going to FEGS was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I was misdiagnosed and mistreated for two illnesses since I began to get sick when I was thirteen years old and in early 2000 (at age 30) I was correctly diagnosed and started treatment and surgeries to get my self back into life. Having been out of life for over a decade and a half I thought that I would contact Jewish Organizations so I sent out letters explaining my situation to nearly a dozen of these top Jewish organizations in May 2001. You can imagine how tough it is without a solid job history or accomplishments socially or academically. My parents were survivors of the Holocaust and I had gone to Yeshiva but over the years I had become a secular Jew. My father had died in a car accident and subsequently I lost my sister- all I had left was an ailing mother. After a month I received no reply from anyone, except in June I got a call from the executive secretary of Jonas Waizer the CFO of FEGS asking me to come down for a meeting.
Now in the letters that I mailed out all I asked was for was advice, guidance, mentoring... No request was made for monetary assistance or anything else. I just wanted help in getting back into life. I even provided physician letters corroborating my conditions. Well I met Dr. Waizer at his executive office at Hudson st- entering the separate executive building entrance and elevator. I spent nearly a half an hour with him as he talked about himself and I added some details regarding my predicament. I was 31 years old and neither myself nor my family had ever asked for help from anyone before and we never were on any type of assistance. During the meeting Gail Magaliff (the CEO of FEGS) came in and sat down on Dr. Waizer's couch. He spoke to her about my situation and asked her if she had any ideas. She sat there for a minute in silence and simply got up and left the room. Finally Dr. Waizer showed me to the door and told me that he would be in touch. I waited a month and a half and no one got back to me, so in early August of 2001 I called his office and was told that he was on vacation and there was no message for me. I left a message on his answering machine and by the end of August 2001 I got a call to come down to FEGS at Hudson street again.
In the final days of August 2001, I met with a woman at the FEGS executive office who signed me up for something she called "benefits" and she said she would help me get them. Well I was fast tracked by FEGS into SSI/SSD, Foodstamps, Medicare and Medicaid... In less than two months I got all these "benefits". I got these things that I never asked for. I assumed that NYC has such a large Jewish population that there must be some organization that could provide training, guidance, and mentoring in order so I could get back into life itself. So why call me for a meeting in the first place when I never even wrote to FEGS ? I never even heard of FEGS before. At first I thought maybe this was a fluke but I soon learned from others that this was standard practice at FEGS. In retrospect I should have declined these "gifts" and "benefits" as the woman described them, and continued looking for some help in getting a foothold back in society. Instead these "benefits" did just the opposite- dependence, isolation, and marginalization from society and life.
But the real tragedy is that for secular Jews in America there is NO ONE and NO Organization that will really help another secular Jew and secular Jews know this very well. And this is a major reason why so many American Jews are abandoning their identity as Jews. Yes religious organizations and people were willing to help me ONLY if I returned to being Orthodox- which I was not willing to do. I was not willing to lie and claim that I was religious and do the opposite. It is so sad since over the years I have met many young secular American Jews who are in deep trouble and they are drowning from mental and physical ailments or from some unfortunate circumstances of life itself. In the "system" they have no where to go but down. There is NO future for secular non-affiliated Jews in NYC and America because they know that for all the talk there is NOTHING behind it. It is everyone for themselves; As long as my immediate family is doing fine who cares about other Jews. The leadership today has failed as they did in the past. What is worse is that now they have all the means and the where with all to really turn the tide. This is NOT the case for the Orthodox communities who tend to help one another advance in life. Look for yourself: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/us/poll-shows-major-shift-in-identity-of-us-jews.html?_r=0
It is even more ironic since in NYC American Jews as an ethnic group have reached such levels of accomplishments in virtually all areas of society, business, science, and culture. Yet as in the Holocaust, leadership -both secular and clergy have failed Jews in desperate need. FEGS from my experience as with other Jewish organizations does little or nothing for American Jews except direct them to government programs. According to Federal statistics 98% of people on Disability are on it for life. Only 2% get off. FEGS made me (someone who was independent and just getting by) dependent for life. I recall a social worker years ago starting out a sentence saying "You Jews..." as if we are one of some cohesive group that is symbiotically related to one another.
This is nonsense since nothing has changed since the Holocaust where average Jews had no chance against the Nazis and fought one another against each other. Today is the same where each one is interested in his own affairs and as long as I am okay and my kids are okay then everything is fine. As long as that other village or town full of Jews is being shot and driven into open pits who cares since it is not happening in my village or town. Secular American Jews know that there is no community at all for them and sadly they lose their identity and even interest in Israel and the Holocaust. Endless amount of money is spent on memorializing the Holocaust/Israel and rightly so but what about young American secular Jews living today? Imagine if a private Jewish organization arose to provide this population with a real genuine community and center for return and assistance? Nah! that would never happen with all these non-profit business models that really are job programs that really help the people who work there-NOT the people who really desperately need real help. It is not surprising that recent demographics in NYC secular Jewish population numbers are dwindling. They are dying breed.
Are we our brother's keeper? No, and FEGS should be ashamed of itself with its phony website claims and public relations publicity and propaganda outreach that purports to be one thing and really is another. Handing off people to gov't programs, food stamps, SSI/SSD, Medicare, Medicaid, assigning a case worker and a psychiatrist to drug and manage case load... Is that the Jewish way to help people become INDEPENDENT? The goal of a non-profit is to put itself out of business by accomplishing its mission statement not perpetuating peoples suffering and misery for its own benefit and growth. FEGS is a monster that feeds off the misery and suffering of others. The more people are on disability and government programs the better for FEGS because that is how they get payed-from its target audience who is forever on government programs for life.
Review from Guidestar
FEGS is a giant bureaucracy that is a giant JOBS program that takes advantage of the opportunies available to "serve" the mentally ill, jobless, homeless, aged by their unique "Health and Human Services System". According to their latest 990 they recieve $112,018,230 a year nearly entirely from the U.S. government (US taxpayers). FEGS's Salary and Pension plans amount to almost $121,000,000 a year! One "employee" named Alfred P. Miller recieved $2,170,301 that year. The only people that FEGS really helps is it's own "workers" with large salaries for it's senior staff. ONE HOUR FOR LUNCH ALWAYS. 448 of it's staff make OVER $50,000 a year. The Senior VP Gladys Siff makes over $350,000 a year! Nearly ALL the REVIEWS here are written by FEGS employees. They operate a home attendant and homecare nonprofits so if you need a job as a low payed health care worker they can get you a job, otherwise just go to WORKFORCE ONE. They spend millions on lobbying. Their biggest and most successful program is getting "benefits" for people. That is right they simply direct people to foodstamps, SSI, SSD, welfare, medicaid, medicare, housing programs... Actually the worse the economic situation the "better" FEGS does for itself. If you are a critic of FEGS their PR department will roll out examples of the hopeless and helpless that they saved! In a jobless economy FEGS has nothing to offer except a "program" funded by the U.S. Government and employeed by FEGS workers. FEGS TRADEMARKED "PARTNERSHIPS FOR A CHANGING WORLD" AND BRINGING RESOURSES TO PEOPLE AND BUSINESS". THEY TAKE YOUR TAXPAYER MONEY AND CREATE JOBS FOR THEMSELVES. They spent $2,000,000 for a fundraiser and came out $80,000 in the RED.
Review from Guidestar
I was interested in finding a job as a medical assistant, but I was having trouble finding an open position. I came to FEG and the job developer sent me on an interview almost right away. I received the job, and I am very happy to be working in my chosen field. *review written from job developer's email
I did not have a lot of work experience when I came to FEGS for employment counseling. The job developer helped me realize my skills that may be relevant to a home health aid position. Because of the job developer's help I received a job as a home health aid. *review written from job developer's email
I came to FEGS's Brooklyn Resource Center because I was out of work and needed help finding a job. The employment counselor found me a great job as an office manager at an electric company. As a way of giving back and thanking FEGS, I help place clients from the Brooklyn Resource Center in the company that I now work for. *review written from employment counselor's email
In 2006 I came to FEGS for citizenship classes and for employment assistance. The staff I met was very kind and helpful. I met with a civics instructor who helped me learn what I needed to know to receive my citizenship. Since I was also in need of a job, I had the pleasure of meeting one of FEGS's employment counselors who found me a job as a home health aid. *review written from Employment Counselor's email
I came to FEGS with my husband for the Healthy Marriage Program. After one of the sessions we confided in our case manager about our difficult financial situation. I was looking for a job to support myself and my husband, because he was sick and unable to work. I was referred to a job developer who sent me to free Home Health Aid training classes. After training I got a job as a Home Health Aid. FEGS found that my husband was eligible for SSI and SCRIE Program. Today I am working and my husband collects SSI. We are very grateful to FEGS and our case manager for the help in our time of need. *review written from case manager's email.
I came to FEGS in 2003 for employment services. I have been on unemployment for a few months at that time and really needed to find a job. I attended DCIC School and several students recommended that I visit the FEGS location in Brooklyn. Here I met a wonderful Employment Counselor who in two short weeks found me a job at Abigail Press Inc. as a manager with great benefits. Unfortunately, after four years the company moved and I once again was out of a job. I came back to FEGS to see their Employment Counselor, Olga, who recommended me for a job at FEGS's Brooklyn location as a Program Assistant. I successfully passed the interview with the office manager, and recieved a job offer. I have been working for FEGS for the past year and a half. I am very greatful to FEGS and their Employment Counselors for their help in my time of need.
Seeking employment for several months I was referred to FEGS by a family friend. This friend forwarded my Resume to an FEGS staff member. On the same day my Resume was forwarded the staff member called me, explained about an open position and asked if I was interested. Within the hour the Organization hiring called me and an interview was set for the following day. Within two weeks I was hired.
I have a very good relationship with my therapist in the FEGS clinic and they referred mre to manhattan IPRT program.They helped me with suggestions to deal with my medical problems too. I find the IPRT program invigorating and time goes fast, it activates my mind and keeps me going everyday. I have hope that things will be better in my life. I look forward to coming in here everyday. It's a clean facility and everything is run properly and in good control. I enjoy the com- raderie of my peers. The staff is very professional and treat people with respect and I find them very uplifting. I enjoy the yoga, brain-gym/cognitive skills groups and wellness groups and weekend planning group. I want to get back to work and I like that they help people get back on their feet and add more meaning to their life. I can't say enough positive things about this place.
I have been working towards my goal of employment at FEGS Manhattan IPRT Program and been going to exposure activities to learn about different resources. I attended different consumers forums with staff and learned alor. I have also made a lot of friends since I have been coming to the program. IPRT and the staff is helpful and attentive. Everyone on the program staff is nice and caring. I llok forward to coming to IPRT. We help each other and exchange ideas in the groups. The staff, interns and clients get along like a family. In IPRT we care about each other and the staff does its best to help us with our goals.