JVS is still filling a Jewish need

If a Jewish agency's original mandate is no longer applicable, should it shut down or find a new reason to exist?

The answer within the Jewish world always seems to be the latter. But not every agency does such a great job putting its restructured role into action.

Jewish Vocational Service is one that does.

JVS agencies here and around the nation were formed to aid Jews, and especially Jewish immigrants, who needed help finding jobs.

Today, many of the JVS agencies serve growing numbers of non-Jews. Some are actually helping more non-Jews than Jews.

That development comes from two factors: One is a desire to expand. The other is the need for government and industry contracts, which require JVS to serve both non-Jews and Jews.

Many of the agencies now purposely use the acronym "JVS" without emphasizing that the "J" stands for Jewish.

So are they still Jewish vocational services? Do they still deserve federation funding?

The answer is yes.

JVS agencies continue to work with immigrant Jews from the former Soviet Union — both new arrivals and those seeking to improve their status. That need isn't going away.

The agencies also help American-born Jews find jobs or start a new career.

Federations shouldn't penalize the agencies for their success in finding outside funding. At the same time, federations must still support JVS to ensure that Jewish clients, especially emigres, receive the help they need.

JVS agencies can be proud of themselves for finding an innovative way to bring in more funds and expand their services for both Jews and non-Jews.

Are other Jewish agencies paying attention?