Jewish Family Services supports and strengthens lives throughout Greater Kansas City. We provide essential human services for people facing challenges in everyday life or times of crisis—regardless of faith, age, culture, and lifestyle.
To be the Jewish community’s premier resource for caring, knowledgeable, effective and personal support to those facing life challenges.
While our priority is to serve the Jewish Community, the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) inspires us to serve all people.
History of Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City
Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City (JFS) began its history as United Jewish Charities in 1901 when five volunteer relief agencies came together to legally incorporate themselves. During its first 20 years, UJC established its responsibility to the Jewish Community.
With no other Jewish Communal organization in town, UJC began a bathhouse, a Jewish education program, a summer camp called “Bittersweet Camp,” basketball leagues, and resettlement services for the Jews coming to America to build a better life. In 1919, we opened the Alfred Benjamin Dispensary with two purposes: the first was to take care of the indigent, who could not afford medical care; the second, to provide a medical setting for Jewish physicians unable to secure residency in any other Kansas City hospital. The Dispensary eventually grew into the Menorah Medical Center, which precipitated the creation of the Jewish Heritage Foundation.
JFS was also the predecessor agency of the Jewish Federation and one of the founding eight agencies of the Heart of America United Way. In 1942, United Jewish Charities became United Jewish Social Services, in 1958, Jewish Family Service, and in 1964, Jewish Family & Children Services, showing our increasing focus on adoption.
In 2006 we began using our current name, Jewish Family Services. However, no matter what our name, our mission of helping others, regardless of race or religion, has remained unchanged throughout our 100 plus years.