About Us


The Jewish Assistance Fund has been providing grants to people challenged with putting food on the table, clothing themselves and their children, paying their rent and utilities and accessing medical care, costly prescriptions, dentures and hearing aids. For over 30 years, volunteer grantors have been meeting with people weekly, listening to their stories, providing immediate financial assistance without expectation of repayment and connecting them to other resources so they can get back on track.

The Jewish Assistance Fund was founded in 1985 by a group of people who recognized that members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community are in such dire financial straits that they need immediate cash assistance to provide the basic necessities of life. Located in the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, the Jewish Assistance Fund is a local Pittsburgh 501c3 independent non-profit organization.

Mission and Impact

Founded in 1985, the mission of the Jewish Assistance Fund is to provide immediate financial assistance, without expectation of repayment, to Jewish people in Western Pennsylvania who have limited resources and are in need of emergency support for food, clothing, housing, utilities and medical necessities.

Click to Learn More about Our Impact

"JAF is a story that so needs to be told. You have added quality and dignity to a senior's life and for that, we are all indeed appreciative. She feels special and doted upon. and this experience has indeed ignited her spirits. What a difference your kindness has made."

Sharyn Rubin
Director of Resident & Community Services
Jewish Association on Aging

"The Jewish Assistance Fund is an invaluable resource in our community. They transform impossible circumstances to help people rise above unimaginable challenges. I have been honored to work closely with JAF during my tenure as Executive Director at the Aleph Institute, and I look forward to continuous connection and collaboration."

Rabbi Vogel
Executive Director
Aleph Institute

"This is just a note to thank the Jewish Assistance fund for getting me my hearing aide. I will always remember your mitzvahs and I appreciate it so much."

Fondly, Edna

"I can't thank you enough for your help as I begin to get back on my feet due to your generosity!"

Financial Assistance Recipient

"We have had many situations in which clients have received eviction notices and utility stop notices. When they received a check from JAF they thanked us, and many in tears said they did not know what would have happened to them without our help."

JAF Grantor

"Words are difficult to find, but please accept our gratitude for your attentiveness, sensitivity and incredible generosity. With your help we are able to begin the dental work that is most desperately needed. Financial Assistance Recipient"

Financial Assistance Recipient

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your most generous grant. Although I am able to work part-time, my hours are limited due to my chronic illness. Therefore, your grant to me is most needed and most appreciated. "

Financial Assistance Recipient

"I just wanted to send a note thanking everyone at JAF for your kindness and understanding of my needs. The grant I received was used for medical bills and payoffs on past due debts. Thank you so much. I am so grateful that you are providing help for Jews in need."

Financial Assistance Recipient

Community Partners and Volunteer Leadership

The Jewish Assistance Fund has a strong tradition of community support, volunteer leadership, community engagement, and collaboration. JAF receives referrals from, refers to, and provides information about financial assistance to synagogues, schools, organizations, and medical providers throughout the community.

JAF's Community Partners include:

  • Our Volunteers - Grantors and Board of Directors
  • JFunds - A Network of Jewish Financial Services: Hebrew Free Loan Association, Jewish Assistance Fund, JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh-Israel Travel Grants, Jewish Fertility Foundation, Jewish Scholarship Service of Greater Pittsburgh
  • JFCS
  • Thriftique/National Council of Jewish Women

Sources of Funding

Throughout the year, JAF raises funds from individual donors and foundations. In addition to the list of funding sources below, JAF engages the community three times a year through a Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah/End of Year Appeal. We are uniquely positioned to request, receive and disburse community dollars.

JAF provides an efficient and responsive way for people to fulfill mitzvot and Jewish teachings by coordinating a process that discretely, respectfully and confidentially provides financial resources to members of the community experiencing dire financial challenges and overwhelming financial expenses.

Foundations providing support in 2023 include:

  • Charles M. Morris Charitable Trust
  • Donald & Sylvia Robinson Foundation
  • Giant Eagle Foundation
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Ladies Hospital Aid Society
  • Philip Chosky Foundation
  • PNC Charitable Trust
  • Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation
  • The Opportunity Fund

Financial Help

Without repayment for pressing expenses

Over 500 people of all ages impacted

Living in more than 55 zip codes in Western PA

Since 1985

Ensuring availability of confidential and accessible financial support

Leadership and Staff


  • Gean K. Goldfarb, President
  • Joyce Berman, Vice President
  • Alan Gordon, Vice President
  • Steve Hecht, Vice President
  • Lynn J. Snyderman, Vice President
  • Harvey A. Wolsh, Treasurer
  • Jeffrey Maizlech, Assistant Treasurer
  • Ellen Primis, Secretary
  • Meyer "Skip" Grinberg, Past President

Board of Directors

  • Lauren Americus
  • Avram Avishai
  • Casey Drucker
  • Joshua Farber
  • Gary Friedman
  • Judy F. Grumet
  • Paul N. Herman
  • Reva W. Horn
  • Noah Jordan
  • Miles A. Kirshner
  • Heidi Magrish
  • Lesley Nadler
  • Charles Porter
  • Melissa B. Rackoff
  • Katie Rutherford
  • Sharon Saul
  • Deborah Scheimer
  • Lynn K. Shiner
  • Eleanor R. Siegal
  • Susan F. Wechsler

Life Trustee

  • David M. Maretsky

Honorary Presidents

  • Elliott Finkel*
  • Dr. Laibe Kessler*
  • Herman Lipsitz*
  • Dr. Helen V. Nobel*
  • *of blessed memory

Honorary Vice President

  • Sol Ruben*
  • *of blessed memory

Executive Director

Need something else? We can't assist you?

For Additional financial resources in the Jewish Community, please visit JFundspgh.org

Additional Helpful Community Resources