Carly Schaffer and Emily Witmier receive the third annual JFCS Esther Award for Excellence!

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of Southern New Jersey has announced the winners of its third annual Esther Award for Excellence: Carly Schaffer and Emily Witmier. Established in 2022, this award is presented each year around the holiday of Purim, which celebrates the survival of the Jews of Persia from the evil Haman thanks to the bravery of Queen Esther. This inspiring story of Jewish survival is recounted in the Megillah (scroll) of Esther, a unique example of Jewish liturgy in which the name of G-d is never mentioned. Rather, G-d is alluded to, serving as a powerful reminder that there are times when great miracles are lying in wait for the right time to reveal themselves. Similarly, the Esther Award celebrates the contributions of JFCS employees who perform their work behind the scenes – without fanfare but with great devotion – to bring life-sustaining support to vulnerable community members.  

Carly Schaffer, Patient Partners Coordinator and Geriatric Case Manager, joined the JFCS staff in June 2023. She has spent the past several months working through a variety of logistical challenges in order to provide the best possible care to her clients. Carly strives for excellence every day and gives herself to the cause with dignity, dedication, and hope. She truly embodies the core values of JFCS while making others feel welcomed, supported, and understood. “Carly has the ability to light up every room she walks into,” said Cara Galob, JFCS Director of Senior Services. “Her ability to connect with clients and spread cheer and optimism have made her a tremendous blessing to our agency. It is my great pleasure to present Carly with this award for her courageous contributions of self to her colleagues and her clients.” 

Emily Witmier joined JFCS in September 2023 in the dual role of Mental Health Clinician and Community Awareness Coordinator. In her brief tenure at the agency, Emily has impressed colleagues with her self-assured manner, keen eye for detail, and enthusiastic “can-do” attitude. Her clinical expertise and ability to work with a varied clientele are admirable, and she maintains a calm demeanor while remaining alert for potential risks. Excited to work with tweens and teens from the outset, Emily has enthusiastically presented the JFCS “One Step at a Time” addiction awareness and prevention program to individual classrooms and to an auditorium filled with 900 students. After Israel was attacked on October 7, and the South Jersey Jewish community was in desperate need of solace, Emily rose to the occasion, offering supportive group sessions to synagogues, local businesses, and community organizations. “At a time when our community needed it most, Emily helped to create authentic spaces for exploration and healing. She truly is an asset to JFCS and our entire South Jersey community, and I am thrilled to present her with the Esther Award as an up-and-coming star,” said Rebecca Rosenau, JFCS Director of Clinical Services.  

Upon presenting this year’s Esther Awards, JFCS Executive Director Raechel Hammer shared, “At its essence, JFCS is about service to others – something that both Emily and Carly personify so beautifully. On behalf of our entire agency, I am thrilled to honor them with this special recognition!”