In the mid-nineteen eighties, the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh assembled a task force to look at unmet needs of people with disabilities in the city’s Jewish community. Perhaps the most glaring unmet need to emerge from that study was for housing and support services for adults living with mental illness or with intellectual disabilities. As was the case in many communities throughout the country, individuals with these disabilities felt marginalized, stigmatized and isolated from the people and places most meaningful to them. The establishment of Jewish Residential Services (JRS) was the Pittsburgh Jewish community response to this critical problem. In 1993, JRS opened the doors of its first residential program, located in Squirrel Hill and serving eight individuals with a history of serious mental illness.
Today JRS has a variety of programs - residential educational, rehabilitative and social - all based upon Jewish values, culture and practices, but welcoming to people of all religions and backgrounds. Last year JRS touched the lives of more than 250 individuals with disabilities and the lives many of their families as well. JRS programs help build hope, purpose and they enable many people living with disabilities to become participating and valued members of the community. JRS helps people with disabilities experience the miracle of an ordinary life.
we never imagined she could live on her own.
The fact that she’s doing so well and maturing so much is just incredible. Knowing she’s safe and independent has lifted such a burden. It’s nothing short of a miracle.”
- Curt Brooks