History

Louis Rittenberg, one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Springfield, established his dry goods store on Worthington Street in 1887- planting the seeds for JFS.

Louis helped Jews in distress by giving them goods on credit that they could then sell. These peddlers became successful, philanthropic members of Springfield’s Jewish community.

From 1898 through the 1930's, we offered relief services to those who were poor in the Springfield Jewish community. 

In the 1950's we responded to the need for counseling and adoption services.  Our mission stated  that we would “conserve, develop and foster normal and wholesome family life in the Jewish community."

By 1970, JFS  was known in the Jewish community for providing services that foster  “family cohesion and family unity."

During the 1990's the resettlement of Russian Jewish refugees was a pressing need. JFS took on this important responsibility for the Jewish community to resettle Russian Jews and people of all faiths fleeing religious or political persecution. These individuals and families continue to bring a wealth of talent, vigor and vitality to the tapestry of our Springfield community.

In March of 2011, The Board of Directors was instrumental  in leading the efforts  to create a second, new location in Springfield to meet the growing social service needs of the Longmeadow/ Springfield Jewish community. This new space is delivering services to the Jewish community and beyond at the Jewish Community Campus at 1160 Dickinson Street in Springfield. Looking back, while looking toward the future, JFS is poised to develop programs for the Springfield Jewish community that cross all economic and social lines, while attracting Jews who may not be affiliated with the organized Jewish community. All Jews and other community members are finding their own way to participate in programs, such as support groups, educational workshops and family programs.  

For more information or to get involved, call 413.737.2601 or email info@jfswm.org.

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts is a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts.