About Us

Helping individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability.

Guided by the core Jewish value of Tikkun olam – to “repair the world” – Jewish Family Services provides personalized and compassionate supports to meet the complex needs of all those who walk through our doors. 

Our Mission

Jewish Family Services helps individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability.

Our Values

  • We believe that we should treat ourselves and each other with dignity and respect.
  • We believe that all people, no matter how different, are connected.
  • We believe that people should feel safe in their homes and community.
  • We believe that we have a communal responsibility to stand up for each other, especially for those among us who are vulnerable.
  • We believe that we should speak honestly, straightforwardly and respectfully.
  • We believe in being fully engaged and “all in.”

Our History

Jewish Family Services was established in 1908 to assist newly arriving  Jewish refugees who were settling in Central Ohio. The agency helped those New Americans meet their basic needs of food, home, and employment. We continued to play a significant role in the settling of Jewish immigrants throughout the twentieth century, culminating in the immigration of numerous Soviet Jews to Columbus from the 1960s through the 1980s. Beginning in the early 50’s, Jewish Family Services also played an increasing role in responding to the needs of preexisting families in the Jewish community, with a continued emphasis on assistance with basic needs for food, home and employment.  

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Jewish Family Services began expanding its services more intentionally beyond the Jewish community. Refugee services continued to be core to the mission, as the agency responded to the large influx of Somali refugees into Central Ohio. Career services played an increasing role as an agency strength, along with mental health services, senior services, and other supports enabling individuals and families to meet basic needs for food, home and employment. Services to the broader community enabled the agency to attract additional support and build capacity that benefitted Jewish and non-Jewish individuals alike.   

In the 21st century, the agency significantly expanded its services to older adults and to local Holocaust Survivors in particular. With funding from the Conference on Material Jewish Claims, Jewish Federations of North America, and the Holocaust Survivor Initiative at the Columbus Jewish Federation (now JewishColumbus), the agency received national recognition for its innovative programming to help Survivors live independently and with dignity in their remaining years.

Throughout its history, Jewish Family Services has impacted lives through a holistic approach, working with the life each person brings when they walk through the agency’s doors. 

Message from the CEO

Headshot of Karen Mozenter, CEO of Jewish Family Services

At Jewish Family Services, we respond every day to the three questions posed by an ancient Jewish sage, Rabbi Hillel:

  • If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  
  • But if I am only for myself, what am I?  
  • If not now, when?

Hillel’s first question acknowledges our history as an agency that was formed over a century ago to help Jewish immigrants build homes and establish community in Central Ohio. Jewish community needs remain core to our work. But that work is also driven by Hillel’s second question, which drives us to help others needing assistance. Our talented, diverse staff serves individuals from every zip code in Central Ohio and beyond, and those individuals reflect the rich religious, racial, gender, and economic diversity of the broader community.

Hillel’s third question, If not now, when?, is our call to action. Our mission—to help individuals and families achieve economic self-sufficiency and emotional stability—has never been more relevant or more important than it is now.

Thank you for your interest in Jewish Family Services. We welcome you to join us in this critical work.  
Karen Mozenter

“They are incredibly professional and kind, and they will get you where you need to go.”

Eyob Mesfin

Our People

Officers

Austin Barger

Austin Barger

Chair

Jennifer Goldson

Jennifer Goldson

Vice Chair

Gelena Libin

Gelena Libin

Treasurer

Sherri Lazear

Sherri Lazear

Secretary

Pam Gurwin

Pam Gurwin

Immediate Past Chair

Board Members

Rev. Timothy Ahrens

Rev. Timothy Ahrens

Brian Benson

Brian Benson

Rabbi Alex Braver

Rabbi Alex Braver

Haley Brickman

Haley Brickman

Marilyn Brown

Marilyn Brown

Abdirizak Farah

Abdirizak Farah

Larry Gordon

Larry Gordon

Stephen Keyes

Stephen Keyes

Doug McCollough

Doug McCollough

Alexandra Schimmer

Alexandra Schimmer

Joy Soll

Joy Soll

Jason Wells

Jason Wells

Rachel White

Rachel White

Rabbi Dr. Tali Zelkowicz

Rabbi Dr. Tali Zelkowicz

Administrative Leadership

Karen Mozenter

Karen Mozenter

Chief Executive Officer

Marla Vucic

Marla Vucic

Chief Financial Officer

Diana Schrimpf

Diana Schrimpf

Director of Resource Development

Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller

Communications & Marketing Manager

Mark Stahl

Mark Stahl

Director of IT/Facilities

Crystal Bronchik

Crystal Bronchik

Business Office Director

Program Leadership

Ahmed Abukar

Ahmed Abukar

Director of Workforce Development

Leah Freed, LSW

Leah Freed, LSW

Manager of Senior and Holocaust Services

Garnetta Livisay

Garnetta Livisay

Manager of Workforce Services

Tariq Mohamed

Tariq Mohamed

Director of New American Services

Garett Ray

Garett Ray

Chief Program Officer

Melissa Starr

Melissa Starr

Chief Program Officer

Michele Wilbur, LISW-S

Michele Wilbur, LISW-S

Manager of Clinical Services and Case Management

Lydia Daniels, LSW

Lydia Daniels, LSW

Manager of Family Stabilization

Elizabeth Enck

Elizabeth Enck

Manager of Training and Development

Our Funders

AEP logo
Bath & Body Works logo in blue text
Claims Conference Logo
The Columbus Foundation logo
Wright-Patt credit union logo
Franklin Country Board of Commissoners logo for child support enforcement
Franklin Country Board of Commissoners logo for job and family services
Franklin Country Board of Commissoners logo for office on aging
Gap Inc logo in black text
Jewish Columbus logo
The Jewish Foundation logo
KeyBank logo
PNC logo
Logo for Columbia Gas
United Way of Central Ohio logo
Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio logo
Wright-Patt credit union logo

Get in Touch

Ebner Building
1070 College Avenue
Columbus, OH 43209

Call Us: (614) 231-1890

Connect With Services

 By phone at  614-237-9675

or via app or web browser:

Wayfynder Logo

Jewish Family Services is a proud member of the Human Service Chamber of Franklin County and the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

© 2022 Jewish Family Services Columbus