The Aleph Institute’s Project Shifra provides support for the community by working with Jewish
families to secure basic needs and services. Project Shifra is named for a midwife in ancient
Egypt who disobeyed the Pharaoh’s decree to murder all Hebrew male babies. Committed to
protecting human life and ensuring that families thrive, the Aleph Institute embodies the spirit of
Shifra’s legacy in a community-based program supporting women, children, and families.


Project Shifra provides a multitude of services based on a family’s needs:


Employment - The Aleph Institute works with families to find and secure dignified and
stable employment. We help families transition from lay-offs and terminations, and assist
individuals with career counseling services such as resume edits and cover letter
reviews to help clients seek employment to support their families.
Food Security - Many clients, especially children, in the community suffer from food
insecurity. We partner with JFCS’ Squirrel Hill Kosher Food Pantry and 412 Food
Rescue to provide kosher meals to children and their families in need.
Housing Stability - Clients who fear eviction or who are having difficulty making rent
payments on time can reach out to the Aleph Institute for guidance. The Aleph Institute
seeks to ensure that families have safe housing. 
Mental Health and Well Being - The Aleph Institute offers a variety of services aimed at
addressing substance abuse, including counseling from religious leaders in the
community and a volunteer licensed clinical social worker who is available to meet virtually
(during the pandemic) at no cost, with individuals who may want to speak with a therapist.
Mothers, especially single mothers, often experience isolation and loneliness as caregivers,
and the Aleph Institute aims to alleviate that stress. 
Family Dynamics -  Parenting challenges, personal conflicts, tension, and trauma can all
impact the dynamics in a family, and the Aleph Institute can provide resources to help
navigate family relationships. 
School Supplies - Many children lack basic school supplies. The Aleph Institute identifies
that need and attempts to provide basic resources so that families have one less
expense to worry about and so that children can be equipped with the necessary tools to
succeed in their education. 
 After-School Program - The Aleph Institute has started an after school program for members of our Shifra program. This programming is intended to give kids a safe place to stay after school to socialize with their peers while their parents or caregivers finish up at work. Food is provided at the after school program, to help the kids and their families. This program is intended to not only be a benefit for the kids themselves, as it gives them more time with their peers, but also gives families a chance to secure or maintain employment while alleviating some of the pressure of child care.

Miriam's Program - The Aleph Institute has a community support group to help women navigate life together. This gives women in the community the chance to connect with others who may be navigating similar difficult life situations. Participants can build natural support networks with their peers and learn about agencies in the community that might be able to provide services they may need.

Currently, Project Shifra supports over 90 different families and over 300 children in the community. 
Often, Project Shifra targets many issues at the same time because they are often
interconnected and related. Without a stable form of employment, for example, families are
likely to become food insecure, jeopardize their stable housing situations, and experience
mental health challenges and family dynamics stress. The Aleph Institute’s belief is that we all
experience obstacles in our lives and a helping hand and support can often be a solution to lift
people out of their trying personal hurdles. No one Is alone, no one is forgotten.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the services offered by the Aleph Institute’s  Project Shifra, please contact [email protected] or 412-421-0111 Ext. 102.