This series contains records pertaining to or originating from Baron de Hirsch Institute/Jewish Family Services.
In 1863 the Young Men’s Hebrew Benevolent Society (YMHBS) was formed by young unmarried men with the desire to help Jews in need. The Society also allowed the young Jewish men of Montreal to get to know each other better and to look after their social welfare needs. By 1882, the Society could not cope financially with the influx of immigrants arriving from Russia, most of who were destitute and had no means of support. The YMHBS appealed to philanthropist Baron Maurice de Hirsh. In 1890, Baron de Hirsch sent his first donation and in 1891, the Baron de Hirsch Institute opened and was dedicated to the purpose of “A Free School for the poor children of the Jewish faith and a home for sheltering distressed immigrants and orphans.” In 1900 Baron de Hirsch enlarged its sphere, and in recognition of the financial support received, obtained a new charter of incorporation to change its name to Baron de Hirsch Institute and Hebrew Benevolent Society of Montreal. The Institute was the pioneer charitable and philanthropic organization in Montreal. In 1917, because of the overlapping of much charitable and philanthropic work, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies was formed with headquarters in the Baron de Hirsch Institute building. Baron de Hirsch became one of the constituent societies and continued its activities with the religious school, library, cemetery, family welfare, legal aid and Hebrew Court of Arbitration. The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies changed names three times. It became Federation of Jewish Community Services in 1951, Allied Jewish Community Services (AJCS) in 1965 and today’s Federation CJA in 1997. AJCS was under the direction of Manny Batshaw from 1967-1980).
In 1974 the Jewish Family Services Social Service Centre (JFSSSC) was created and incorporated almost all the programs and human resources of the Baron de Hirsch Institute. Jewish Family Services encompassed these two organizations by providing joint structure for their complementing mandates.
The JFSSSC was a publicly funded agency, working alongside the private JFS of the Baron de Hirsch Institute and primarily served the Jewish population. The JFSSSC became responsible for youth protection, young offenders, adoption and foster care (including group homes and placements for children, disabled adults and the elderly).
Over the years, JFS adapted to transformations in Quebec society and developments in the field of social work. As mental health, sex education, addiction, care of the elderly and other concerns were recognized as part of the mandate of a social service provider, JFS developed programs to respond to these needs. JFS’s professional work also included the supervision of many volunteer units (for example, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and hospital volunteers).
The public JFSSSC closed in 1993 in response to the Quebec government’s Bill 120 and the cessation of public funding. As a result, Jewish Family Services of the Baron de Hirsch Institute became a full-service, community-based organization.