A new fund by In Shifra’s Arms (SHIFRA) was launched to support expecting mothers in memory of Mrs. Fraida Nathan, a lifetime Chicago resident and member of Bais Menachem in West Rogers Park, Illinois.

On May 9, 2024, In Shifra’s Arms (SHIFRA) launched the Fraida Nathan Z”L Counseling fund in memory of Mrs. Fraida Nathan, a lifetime Chicago resident and member of Bais Menachem in West Rogers Park, Illinois. SHIFRA is a unique Jewish support network nurturing women through unplanned pregnancy crises. Fraida served as SHIFRA’s first counselor, pioneering the organization’s national work beginning in 2013, which she continued into the last year of her life in 2022.

At this meaningful event, the Nathan family and friends joined together to celebrate Fraida’s life and inaugurate the Fraida Nathan Z”L SHIFRA Counseling Fund. The event took place at the WiFi Building in Chicago with over 60 attendees.

Mrs. Menucha Robeson, Fraida’s sister-in-law who also worked with Fraida at SHIFRA for 7 years, moderated the event and kicked it off with her memories. She shared Fraida’s start in her quest to help others. She shared how Fraida enrolled at Ida Crown Jewish Academy, then to Bais Chana in Crown Heights, and then went to Israel to learn at Nevae in Jerusalem.

Rebbetzin Esther Shkop then spoke about Fraida’s “struggles of going to school for Social Work while working and raising a family, and dealing with the emotional struggles that those of us that are mothers know.” She added, “Fraida found a way of serving and teaching, by listening and helping people heal, and by inspiring them to be all they can be. And, what she helped build is perhaps her greatest legacy. That legacy is to help women rise above the struggles and the wrestles of La Malikha’i.”

In her personal life, Fraida was married to Yochanan Nathan for more than 45 years and was a devoted mother of five children.  She was an active member of the community, served a multitude of organizations, and was honored with numerous awards for her public service, including the Templeton Foundation.

Her son Shneur took to the podium, and he shared about his mother, “she was a self-made woman. She had a difficult life but was always willing to engage in hard work that was needed to persevere.” This connection was made clear in her personal and professional life. He added, “I know that she cared deeply about SHIFRA, if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have been doing it. And, she did it till the very end of her life. And that’s because she believed in SHIFRA’s mission. She believed what she was doing was important.”

Erica Pelman, CEO and Founder of In Shifra’s Arms (SHIFRA), shared about Fraida’s nine years of service at SHIFRA. Fraida pioneered and developed SHIFRA’S unique methodology for empowering Jewish women to overcome their unplanned pregnancy crises. Erica shared, “Though Fraida is missed deeply on SHIFRA’s team, her influence and legacy continues. Her SHIFRA legacy lives on through the moms she guided and nurtured through crisis- some of whom now mentor other moms.”

Erica added, “Fraida Z”L professional accomplishments directly reflected her personal qualities that shined throughout every facet of her life. Her compassion, authenticity, and wisdom both made her an outstanding clinical social worker and therapist as well as a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.”

SHIFRA will continue Fraida’s legacy by establishing the Fraida Nathan Z”L Counseling Fund. This fund will provide crisis and long-term counseling that helps SHIFRA clients attach and bond with their babies. B”H the counseling funded will continue to reflect both the approach Fraida pioneered and the values she held so dear.

SHIFRA is grateful to the Walder Foundation for a generous $100,000 ($33K+ per year) commitment to the Fraida Nathan Z“L fund over the next three years. Donations to the fund are matched until May 28th.

To learn more about the Fraida Nathan Z”L Counseling Fund please visit: tinyurl.com/FraidaNathan

To watch the video from the event: tinyurl.com/FraidaNathanVideo

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