Yad Chessed— hand of loving kindness.
Founded with the values of chessed (kindness) and tzedakah (charity), Yad Chessed has been a pillar of support in the Jewish community for over 30 years. We understand that life’s hurdles can affect anyone, and we are here to extend a helping hand to those experiencing financial hardship. Our small, yet impactful team works to ensure that Jews throughout New England who are struggling have somewhere to turn for emergency financial assistance, food support, and compassionate guidance.
Meet some of the Yad Chessed team
Nancy J. Kriegel
Nancy began as Executive Director in December of 2019. Previously, Nancy worked at Combined Jewish Philanthropies overseeing efforts to strengthen area Jewish Day Schools. Nancy was also one of the founders and co-president of Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. Before dedicating her career to Jewish communal service, Nancy was a practicing attorney with degrees from Boston College Law School and the University of Pennsylvania.
Deborah joined Yad Chessed as a case manager in 2009 as Yad Chessed’s first professional staff member. Deborah has worked as a hospice social worker, sexual assault crisis counselor, prison release counselor, and professional studio artist. She worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery and the Center for Cognitive Neurology. She received her BA at Wesleyan University and her MSW from Simmons School of Social Work.
Annie started as Director of Operations in August 2023 after receiving her MA in Jewish Professional Leadership and Social Impact MBA from Brandeis University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. Annie has worked at a variety of Jewish organizations, including UMass Hillel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and as a Board Fellow at Yad Chessed. She is passionate about supporting the Jewish community and helping to building a more equitable Jewish future.
Katya is one of the members of our Social work team and is our bilingual case manager. Prior to joining Yad Chessed in 2021, Katya worked at Jewish Family & Children Service (JFCS) for 14 years assisting clients with financial hardship such as housing, food, utilities, and providing resources needed. Katya came to USA from the former Soviet Union in 1989 and is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.
In 1989, Robert established Yad Chessed so he could help his neighbors struggling in Boston's Jewish community. In the early years, he ran it by himself, with help from his wife Sue, as he worked full-time as a computer programmer. Robert noted, “People in the Jewish community didn’t realize that there were Jews who didn’t have enough food, who had trouble paying their rent. There was a need that wasn’t being met, so I started Yad Chessed.”
Lori is the General Counsel of Partners In Health, a global health nonprofit that provides healthcare for the poor with operations in ten countries. She previously served as Director of the Anti-Poverty Initiative at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), as General Counsel of Decisions Resources Group, and as a lawyer for the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Stanford University.
Yad Chessed News
Support for Israelis in time of crisis
Yad Chessed social workers are available to address the unique needs of Israelis in financial distress who seek refuge in our Greater Boston Jewish community. Our team is here to swiftly provide emergency financial assistance and supermarket gift cards to Israeli families in need as well as help them connect to additional available resources. If you or someone you know needs help, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 487-2693.Donate now
Bringing light to families in need at Hanukkah
Our annual tradition of delivering Hanukkah Shabbat Meals will take place on December 7, the first night of Hanukkah! Scores of Yad Chessed volunteers will deliver hundreds of meals across Greater Boston for those in our Jewish community who struggle with financial hardship and isolation. We are thankful to all who make this mitzvah possible by sponsoring and delivering meals. Stay tuned for more information.
Annie Fortnow joins Yad Chessed as Director of Operations
We are thrilled Annie Fortnow has joined our team! Annie recently graduated from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University and served as Yad Chessed Board Fellow with The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.
Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class honors milestone with Tzedakah
“We chose Yad Chessed as we wanted to support a local Jewish organization and Yad Chessed's mission spoke to us,” said Temple Beth Elohim B’nai Mitzvah class participant Martha Fagan. “We were all impressed with the variety of help you offer and the wide reach of your services. Helping those in need with dignity and respect is Tikkun Olam in action.”
Our Financials (2023 Coming Soon)
Form 990 is an informational document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS every year. This form covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2022 (Sept 2021 – Aug 2022).
Our independent Auditor's Report is issued by an external auditor and evaluates the quality and accuracy of our financial statements. This report covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2022 (Sept 2021 – Aug 2022).
Form 990 is an informational document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS every year. This form covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2021 (Sept 2020 – Aug 2021).
Our independent Auditor's Report is issued by an external auditor and evaluates the quality and accuracy of our financial statements. This report covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2021 (Sept 2020 – Aug 2021).
Form 990 is an informational document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS every year. This form covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2020 (Sept 2019 – Aug 2020).
Our independent Auditor's Report is issued by an external auditor and evaluates the quality and accuracy of our financial statements. This report covers Yad Chessed's fiscal year 2020 (Sept 2019 – Aug 2020).
Frequently Asked QuestionsContact us
Yad Chessed provides support to the Jewish community in three primary ways: 1) Emergency financial assistance for food, housing, utilities, clothing, medical expenses, and other essentials, including Jewish burials; 2) Grocery gift cards and 3) compassionate care, advice, and referrals about available resources. Depending on an individual’s unique circumstances they may receive any or all the above forms of assistance.
Yad Chessed is located in Waltham, MA, and is a regional Jewish social services agency. The majority of our clients live in Greater Boston; however, we also provide assistance to Jewish individuals and families living throughout Massachusetts and surrounding regions.
Our typical client has an annual income of less than $15,000 per year, or less than $120,000 a year for a family of 4. Though we have the flexibility to offer assistance to people who have a higher income who may need emergency support.
We know it can be difficult to ask for help. We assure you that your discussions with Yad Chessed and any information you provide will be confidential. Those seeking assistance need to fill out our intake form – click "Get Help" above. A social worker will ask you to fill out an application and provide information about your situation, income and any government aid you receive. To speak with someone in our office about getting help, please call (781) 487-2693 or email us at email@example.com.
Yad Chessed assists more than 1,000 households, approximately 2,000 individuals.
To speak with someone in our office about getting help, please call (781) 487-2693 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yad Chessed's programs are funded exclusively by individual donors and foundations from our caring and compassionate community. This means we have a lot of flexibility in how we distribute our funds, but also that every dollar we raise is critical to ensuring we can remain a safety net for our Jewish community.
Yes! Our goal is to have as many people know about our work as possible. We’d be happy to come speak to your synagogue, group, or organization. Together we can ensure that Jewish people in our community know where to turn to for help, where and how to fulfill mitzvahs (good deeds), and how to refer people in need to services.
People give to Yad Chessed throughout the year to support people in need, including gifts to honor life cycle events like birthdays and weddings, on Jewish holidays, to honor a loved one’s passing, and more. Yad Chessed relies on donations of all sizes to continue our work – last year, 64% of all donations were $100 or less.
Yes! If you provide reduced cost or pro bono services our clients may need (dentist, lawyer, etc.) please fill out our contact form (linked above) to let us know your area of expertise and availability. You can also volunteer as holiday meal delivery driver or helping us with in-office tasks.