June 25 gala to celebrate Nola Jewish Family Service 75th anniversary

Seventy-five years ago, when the Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans closed its doors, a new social service agency, Jewish Family Service, began.

Now the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, the agency is celebrating its Platinum Jubilee anniversary with a brunch gala, “Decades of Service for the Decades Ahead: 75 Years of Jewish Family Service,” at The Ritz-Carlton on June 25 at 11:30 a.m.

The nonprofit agency was founded to help World War II refugees resettle in the United States. Today, the agency offers a variety of services, regardless of religion, such as affordable counseling, holistic case management, emergency financial assistance, youth refugee resettlement, adoption home studies, older adult services, free youth suicide prevention education, and services for survivors of human trafficking.

“Truly, our mission has not changed since 1948. We have only expanded our efforts,” said Debbie Pesses, JFS board president. “Our 75th anniversary gala is an opportunity for our community to honor the immense impact we have made in the lives of New Orleanians. All the work we have done is only possible because of community support. JFS is for and by the community.”

“We are a safety net not only for the Jewish community but for all vulnerable populations in our area,” said JFS Executive Director Roselle Ungar. “We are committed to helping stabilize lives, especially after crises such as Hurricanes Katrina, Laura, and Ida and the Covid-19 pandemic.” JFS often collaborates with other social service agencies and Jewish organizations, such as its progenitor, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

Pesses and Ungar anticipate the gala to be not just a fundraiser, but a reunion uniting generations of civic-minded community members. “We’re looking forward, looking for new leaders,” said Pesses. “This anniversary is about remembering how we got here, honoring what we’ve accomplished, and building for the future.”

The gala will support JFS programs and services. Individual tickets are $175, with patron levels starting at $250, up to one $25,000 presenting sponsor opportunity. More information is here.