As Eastern European immigrants joined Washington’s Jewish community in the 1880s, community members banded together to provide housing, education, and support.
Washington’s largest local charitable groups, United Hebrew Charities and the Hebrew Relief Society, merged in 1921 and later took the name Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA).
In search of a building to serve as the Hebrew Home for the Aged, agency founders persuaded the Young Men’s Hebrew Association to sell them its clubhouse at 415 M Street, NW. In 1914, the first ten residents moved in.
Ten years later, the Hebrew Home moved to a larger building on Spring Road, NW, with room for 35 residents. In 1940, JSSA, which first operated in the basement of the city’s Community Chest organization, relocated to a new office building adjacent to the Hebrew Home.
Challenged by the increasing needs of the growing suburban Jewish community, community leaders planned a new suburban campus for the major Jewish communal organizations. In 1969, the renamed Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and JSSA, along with the Jewish Community Center, moved to the new complex on Montrose Road in Rockville. Adjacent to The Jewish Federation of Washington, these agencies together form the core of Jewish philanthropic and social services in the metropolitan area.