History

Our History

In 1898, 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 unfortunate members of our Jewish community; to assist them to become self-supporting; to act as a peace committee to adjust the differences between member of the Jewish community; and to perform all such duties as may come before us in the name of charity.

By November 1930, the Hebrew Charity Association was incorporated, comprising 17  signatories who met regularly in an office at the corner of Eighth and Orange Streets in Wilmington.  Under the 23-year leadership of Morris Levy, the organization achieved great stability, touching lives through financial, legal and medical aid.

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.

JFS continues to evolve to this day, yet its core mission has never changed: to provide counseling and support services which strengthen the well-being of the individual, family & community, based on Jewish values.

Growing steadily, we now provide services to more than 3,000 unduplicated clients annually. Services are offered in our facilities in Wilmington and Newark (both of which are located on major bus routes) as well as six elementary schools, a shelter, a subsidized senior housing facility and in individual homes.  Each of our physical plants have more than tripled in square footage since 2005 and our staff, now numbering 35, continues to increase as the agency builds capacity for outreach to the most vulnerable families.