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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about our organization. If you have more questions, you can contact us.

 

ISA is governed by a Board of Directors located primarily in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Our counselors are located in Chicago. Through phone, text and videochat, we can work with women anywhere in the United States and occasionally abroad. 

Pregnant women or concerned friends or family should call the helpline 1-888-360-5872 or text our text only line 646-632-8457. For all other matters, please call the office at 202-573-7611 or email us.

No. We will help anyone who calls, regardless of religious affiliation or background. We are primarily reaching out to women in the Jewish community because no other agency within the Jewish community is meeting this need.

 

No. In fact, the opposite is true. Our counselors are both skilled at creating a safe emotional space for women to discuss their feelings and concerns as well as determining their next steps. Whatever you decide has no bearing on your counselor’s compensation. Their job is to focus on meeting your individual needs.

 
 

Because our organization is a purely social service agency, we do not provide any medical services or referrals for specific medical procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, referrals for abortion. If you don’t have a full-service obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), we will help you access one via Medicaid or other community resources. We do recommend meeting with a full-service OB-GYN prior to final decisions regarding pregnancy. If you want a referral for abortion, you can ask your OB-GYN or access via the Internet. 

 

ISA staff do not act as adoption facilitators. In the case that a client would like information about adoption, we educate her about options and refer her to outside adoption facilitators, (such as Jewish Children’s Adoption Network), or an appropriate adoption agency. We do believe adoption is an appropriate and meaningful option for our clients.

 

We are not affiliated with any Jewish denomination and instead seek to be a resource for women across the Jewish spectrum. The membership of our Board, volunteers, and donors reflect a diverse group of Jews, (from unaffiliated to Orthodox), who all care about helping pregnant women in crisis. We do not provide religious/halakhic guidance but do support clients to speak with rabbis they are comfortable with if they seek this. We are not affiliated with any other agency. We collaborate with a range social service agencies and Jewish community organization including domestic abuse organizations and employment assistance organizations. If you have further questions about how we operate, please contact us now.

 
Social Service Professionals
Here are answers to common questions we receive from social service agencies and professionals.
Our target population is Jewish women (from any religious or socioeconomic background) who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy crisis. We serve women anywhere in the United States and occasionally abroad.
In Shifra’s Arms does not have a physical location — we operate our Jewish Pregnancy Helpline via phone. ISA is governed by a Board of Directors located primarily in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Our counselors are located in Chicago. Through phone, text and video chat, our counselors can work with women anywhere.
Our counselors, Fraida Nathan and Fran Gutstein, are both licensed clinical social workers (LCSW). Fraida is also an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional (ICDVP) and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC). Fran also has extensive experience counseling survivors of domestic violence. In addition to working for ISA, both of our counselors have their own private psychotherapy practices.
No. Our counseling does not replace face-to-face psychotherapy to treat anxiety, depression etc., nor does it replace the services provided by a psychiatrist.

No. In fact, the opposite is true. Our counselors are skilled at creating a safe emotional space where women can discuss their feelings, express concerns and determine their next steps. Whatever a client decides has no bearing on the counselor’s compensation or job performance. The counselors’ job is to focus on meeting the client’s individual needs for compassion and practical information.

No. We refer interested women to adoption agencies which we identify as having strong support services for birth mothers and potential Jewish adoptive families.
We always treat all of our clients, including those who choose to abort, with respect, compassion and kindness.

No. We do not provide any medical services or referrals for specific medical procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, referrals for abortion. If a client does not have a full-service obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN), we will help her access one via Medicaid or other community resources. We recommend clients meet with a full-service OB-GYN prior to making any final decisions regarding their pregnancies. If a client wants a referral for abortion, she can ask her OB-GYN or research her options via the Internet.

We are not affiliated with any Jewish denomination — ISA is a resource for women across the Jewish spectrum. Our board members, volunteers and donors reflect a diverse group of Jews (from unaffiliated to religious), who all care about helping pregnant women in crisis. We do not provide religious/halakhic guidance.

No. We will help anyone who calls, regardless of religious affiliation or background, and will provide follow-up services through the baby’s first birthday if desired.

In the case of Jewish clients, sometimes existing community resources, like maternity housing, can be inappropriate because they are attached to evangelical organizations, and therefore these clients need specialized services. In the case of non-Jewish clients, these concerns are generally not relevant, and ISA will not duplicate an existing community resource unnecessarily.

  • Share information about ISA services to staff who work with women who may face unplanned pregnancy crises.
  • Refer clients you believe will benefit from our services.
  • Distribute our brochures at your organization.

Pregnant women or concerned friends or family should call the helpline: 1-888-360-5872, or text our text-only line: 646-632-8547. For all other matters, please call the office at 202-573-7611 or email us.