Originally established in 1948 when the Jewish Children’s Home closed, the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans (JFS) is more than just a religious organization. It is a social service agency committed to preserving, strengthening, and enhancing the lives of individuals and families at every stage of life. JFS became a separate organization with non-profit status in 1976. It remains a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and a community partner with United Way of Southeast Louisiana. JFS serves Greater New Orleans regardless of race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation and the services are available on a sliding fee scale based on income.
The Jewish Family Service, although a relatively small organization, has had a big impact throughout New Orleans. One of the most renowned programs is the Teen Life Counts suicide prevention program for New Orleans schools, which provides mental health education and training programs for both students and teachers. The Homemaker Program provides services to the New Orleans elderly. Started in 1975, it offers driving and housekeeping assistance as well as offering case worker services. Another critical aspect of the JFS is the Resettlement Program. Since conception in the mid-20th century, JFS has assisted immigrant families, first from Egypt then later from Russia settle into life in America. Other programs include an adoption agency, “Share-a-Home”, interfaith family counseling, community nursing project, and other case work services. Events include the annual family tennis tournament and Passover basket distribution.