Alison B. Gilreath, MSW
JFS Executive Director
Alison has had a 30+ year career in start-up and other organizations in Connecticut, Boston, Los Angeles, and since 1992, here in Asheville, NC. In 1999, after 20 years of work in management in the private sector, Alison founded the WNC Jewish Council On Aging (JCOA) and created the Elder Day Club group respite program at the Asheville Jewish Community Center (JCC). As JCOA Director she administered a variety of programs for older adults and their families. In 2007, she implemented the transformation of JCOA into Jewish Family Services of WNC (JFS), a program of the JCC. As JFS Director, she expanded services to meet the needs of families and individuals of all ages. In 2011, she oversaw the process of JFS becoming an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the subsequent move to independent space in 2013, and the agency growth and expansion that continues to better serve the community.
Alison grew up in suburban Connecticut, and spent a post-high school year in Israel at a Youth Leadership Institute that included studies in Jerusalem and part of the year living and working on a kibbutz. From there she attended and graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Sociology. In 2010 she achieved a life-long goal when she received her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Alison has been an active participant and supporter of Jewish organizations as well as involved in community and cultural activities. She is happily married and lives with her husband Frank and their Wheaten Terrier Cosmo. She also is a proud mother of three adult children and two adult step-children, and grandmother of one granddaughter and two step-grandsons.
Anne Wainer, MSS
JFS Social Worker/Case Manager; Elder Club Supervisor
Anne Wainer is a 7 year Ashevillian, relocated from Philadelphia and grateful to be back to her roots working as a social worker serving a diverse population at a time of great growth at this agency. Anne brings to JFS a great love of humanity, Jewish values and traditions, and humility that comes from years of life experience, spent teaching, nurturing her son, cultivating the spirit, and working with others who share similar goals of helping people find balance and sustenance locally and globally through direct service and through raising awareness and working for social justice. Ms. Wainer has earned a masters degree in clinical social work, has worked as a therapist with at-risk children, individuals and families, has worked on policy reform, and has created art, jewelry, judaica, and clothing, and enjoys cooking. Anne Wainer is glad to be at Jewish Family Services of WNC where she helps coordinate and supervise the Elder Club, volunteers, Kosher Holiday Meals, and a bit of everything in service to clients and the community at this can-do agency.
Debra Bergman, LMFT
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
JFS Elder Club Program Facilitator
Debra is a recent transplant to the Asheville area. Raised in upstate New York, she has lived most of her adult life in Los Angeles and Atlanta. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and master’s degree from California State University, Northridge. While still in graduate school, Debra worked in two social service programs for older adults, including one at Jewish Family Services in Los Angeles – in joining JFS of WNC she feels like she has come full circle! A marriage and family therapist, Debra maintained a private therapy practice in Los Angeles where she specialized in working with chronic and life-threatening illness, bereavement, life transitions and addiction treatment. For the past twenty years, Debra has worked in a management capacity in behavioral healthcare, primarily at not-for-profit organizations.
Debra and her significant other enjoy hiking, biking and kayaking in beautiful Western North Carolina. She has one adult son who lives in New England.
Deborah Wood, MSW, LCSW
JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Debbie has had the opportunity of living in Puerto Rico, New York, and California. She is now settled in Asheville NC, close to her aging father, with her husband and two children. Her work experience started in the military when she joined the US Coast Guard and completed four years. Afterwards, she attended Mars Hill College where she earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work, pursued certification as a Life Coach with Totally Coached©, and then attended East Tennessee State University where she completed her masters degree in 2006 with a concentration in clinical social work. After school, she worked at a local hospital performing psychological evaluations in the emergency department and clinical social work on the inpatient psychiatric and detox unit. She has now joined Jewish Family Services and looking forward to assisting people reach their desired goals.
Liz is a native of Chicago who moved to the Asheville area in 2003. She received a BS in Resource Conservation and a JD from the University of Florida. She worked as a legal aid lawyer in Arizona before having her kids.
Liz lives in Weaverville with her husband, their two kids and a bunch of pets including a dog and three chickens. She is the the only person in her family who has not yet learned to unicycle. She loves to hike, garden, and camp.