Our History

Jewish Family Services (JFS) is one of the longest standing nonprofit organizations in the state of Wisconsin. Founded in 1876 as the Hebrew Relief Society, the agency was established to meet the emerging needs of the European and Russian Jewish population migrating to the United States.

Our early programs addressed the basic life needs of resettled individuals, families, and children through a range of services that included vocational training and employment services, education, outpatient medical care, family counseling, foster care, orphanages and adoptions, and housing. We also played an integral role in founding other Jewish-based organizations such as the Federated Jewish Charities, now known as the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Jewish Children’s Home, Outpatient Department for Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, and Jewish Vocational Services, now known as Milwaukee Center for Independence.

Over the years, JFS expanded our mission to serve the community at large. Today, we offer quality community-based programs that improve the health, personal well-being, and level of independence of thousands of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, age related disabilities, and chronic mental illness. These services are fully accessible and are provided regardless of someone’s health insurance status, household income or ability to pay.

Our Mission

The mission of Jewish Family Services is to provide supportive services that will strengthen families, children and individuals throughout the life cycle within the context of their unique needs and traditions.

Our Values

Long held Jewish traditions of Tikkun Olam which means repairing the world, or making the world a better place and values of Chesed (loving kindness) and Tzedekah (righteousness, justice) give our organization a deeply rooted sense of responsibility to care for our community, not as a burden but as a Mitzvah (obligation).