Jewish Family Services works to improve the lives of many — and to overcome a misconception

By Fay Jacobs  |  Photograph by Carolyn Watson
From the April 2018 issue

Feature-JFSIt’s pretty rare for a 120-year-old organization to have to introduce itself. But that’s just what JFS of Delaware, a nonprofit founded in Wilmington in 1898, has to do.

The reason lies in the name. JFS stands for the storied Jewish Family Services, led in the beginning by one Morris Levy. For more than a century the organization has been serving youth, adults, refugees and seniors with a variety of services. From mental health therapy to community navigators able to help seniors stay independent and safe, JFS saw needs in Sussex County and set up shop here two years ago on Route 24.

“But,” says JFS Executive Director Basha Silverman, “there’s been a problem. We’re having trouble explaining that we provide services to everyone, not just Jewish clients.”

It’s not the first time a problem of this sort has arisen. And, in a cool coincidence, it’s not even the first time for an organization led by a Mr. Levy.

Back in the 1960s, heyday of New York’s advertising “mad men” world, a small Brooklyn bakery, Levy’s Jewish Rye Bread, faced the identical challenge. Nobody outside the Jewish community there made, or even knew about, sandwiches with rye bread.

 

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