Our History


A look back at who we served

Meet some of the New Yorkers we supported in the last 150 years.

Founded 150 years ago to serve as a resource to the Jewish immigrant population, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services has provided support and care for those in need in all of New York City’s diverse communities, serving people and families of all religions, ethnicities, ages, and cultural backgrounds.

  • Solomon Rowensky




    Lower East Side

    Solomon Rowensky lived with his wife Fanny and his three small children in the Lower East Side of Manhattan going into the winter of 1873. The family crowded into a small room inside a tenement building, paid for by Solomon’s wages as a laborer.

    Moving into mid-December, the temperatures dipped dangerously low- and the family’s fuel ran out. With no fuel for heat or cooking, the children became sick and Fanny grew frightened. In desperation, Solomon began spending his after-work hours digging through the ash barrels of wealthy houses just outside their crowded neighborhood, looking for discarded wood or half-burned coal. Dirty and largely unsuccessful, Solomon returned each night with less hope.

    Just after Solomon returned home on December 10th, Fanny stood to answer a knock at the door. To Fanny and Solomon’s relief, two men stood in doorway with a load of coal. The Hebrew Benevolent Fuel Society were notified of the Rowensky family’s plight by neighbors and friends- just in time for the coldest days of the year.

  • Julie Gordon




    Lower East Side

    At age 23, Julia Gordon was already a widow with three children. In a little office space in The Lower East Side, Julia and her children met with a social worker for the first time. In weeks she had a small stipend—making it possible for her to make it through the lean years until her fortunes changed.

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