In 1899, a visionary group of Jewish leaders from Wilmington embarked on a journey to improve people’s lives in the community.
Originally named the Hebrew Charity Association, the organization’s early mission was clear: to alleviate the suffering of less fortunate members of our Jewish community; to assist them to become self-supporting; to act as a peace committee to adjust the differences among members of the Jewish community; and to perform all such duties as may come before us in the name of charity.
By the 1960s, services had expanded dramatically and the agency’s name was changed to Jewish Family Service of Delaware; in 2005 the agency again changed its name to Jewish Family Services of Delaware, emphasizing the multitude and variety of “kaleidoscopic” services provided.
JFS has grown and evolved over the past 125 years. A century ago, our focus was the Jewish community. In modern times JFS serves not only the Jewish community, but any Delawareans who need our help. Our positive impact has multiplied. And we have become a highly professionalized and effective service organization — with a compassionate heart and dedication to making the world a better place. That remains unchanged.
Today, JFS offers many diverse services and programs, serving families, youth, older adults, caregivers, and refugees. Growing steadily, JFS offers services in offices in Wilmington and Lewes, as well as in local elementary schools, a subsidized senior housing facility, and homes. Our mission of strengthening individuals, families and the community is rooted in the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Kehillah (community), Chesed (kindness), Gemilut Hasadim (Acts of loving kindness), Tikvah (hope), and Tzedakah (creating justice). This mission has guided us on a remarkable journey.