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.


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.

"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 and volunteer leadership. JAF's Community Partners include:

  • Our Volunteers - Grantors and Board of Directors
  • Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS)
  • Thriftique/National Council of Jewish Women
  • Hebrew Free Loan Association
  • JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry
  • Jewish Scholarship Service of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Israel Scholarships & Passport to Israel of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
  • JFunds

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 2017 & 2018 include:

  • Charles Morris Trust
  • Fine Foundation
  • Giant Eagle Foundation
  • Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Hyman Family Foundation
  • Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Philip Chosky Private Foundation Fund
  • PNC Charitable Trust
  • Shapiro Bros. Family Endow. Fund
  • Sylvia and Donald Robinson
  • Sylvia and Martin Snow Charitable Foundation
  • Opportunity Fund

$197,000 Granted in 2017

For pressing needs:
Food, clothing, housing, medical, dental, transportation and utilities

Over 500 people

Living in 55+ zip codes in Western PA Impacted by grants

33 years

helping people get back on track

Leadership and Staff


  • Meyer "Skip" Grinberg, President
  • Joyce Berman, Vice President
  • Sylvia Elias, Vice President
  • Gean K. Goldfarb, Vice President
  • Todd Rosenfeld, Vice President
  • Harvey A. Wolsh, Treasurer
  • Sharon Weisberg, Assistant Treasurer
  • Roberta Letwin, Secretary
  • Ellen Primis, Secretary
  • David M. Maretsky, Past President

Board of Directors

  • Patti Americus
  • Avram Avishai
  • Nancy Bromberg
  • David Goldfarb
  • Alan Gordon
  • Judy F. Grumet
  • Steven Hecht
  • Paul N. Herman
  • Reva W. Horn
  • Carole Katz
  • Miles A. Kirshner
  • Lee Oleinick
  • Charles Porter
  • Rick Rosenthal
  • Sharon Saul
  • Deborah Scheimer
  • Eleanor R. Siegal
  • Lynn J. Snyderman

Honorary Presidents

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

Honorary Vice President

  • Sol Ruben*

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