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Readers’ Choice 2016

Charitable Organization

The San Francisco-based Jewish Family

and Children’s Services — which also serves the Peninsula and North Bay — provides compassionate care to children, families and older adults facing transitions and personal challenges. Its 40-plus programs and services include adoption help, LGBTQ support, senior and end-of-life counseling, and assistance to émigrés, Holocaust survivors, people with disabilities and families in crisis.

Hebrew Free Loan, launched in 1897 to help new immigrants, now provides interest-free loans to adopting couples, students, first-time homebuyers, families facing emergencies and small business owners; 99.5 percent of these loans have been repaid. In addition to serving the Jewish community, the agency offers loans, on a nonsectarian basis, to college students from families with financial need.

Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay, founded in 1877, serves individuals and families of all faiths and ethnicities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties by providing essential mental health and social services through every stage of life. The agency supports Holocaust survivors, refugees, single parents, the bereaved and people in crisis.

Now in its 25th year, Shalom Bayit is dedicated to eradicating domestic violence and providing counseling and support for Jewish women in abusive and controlling relationships. With offices in Oakland and on the Peninsula, the agency serves the entire region and provides abuse-prevention and healthy-relationship workshops.

San Francisco & South Bay/Peninsula & North Bay

Jewish Family and Children’s Services

(415) 449-1200

San Francisco

Hebrew Free Loan

(415) 546-9902

East Bay

Jewish Family & Community

Services East Bay

Berkeley: (510) 704-7475

Walnut Creek: (925) 927-2000


Shalom Bayit


(866) 742-5667 (toll-free)

(510) 451-8874 (office)



The JCC of San Francisco, founded in 1877, serves 75,000 people annually. It features a fitness and aquatics center; popular lectures in politics, business and the arts; a variety of classes, including Hebrew; concerts and performances; camps and preschools for youth; and meals and activities for older adults.

The JCC of the East Bay, with some 10,000 participants at campuses in Berkeley and Oakland, offers preschool and afterschool care, summer camps, fitness and cultural programming, plus Yiddish conversation, kosher lunches and a variety of fitness classes. The popular KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival returns in December.

Calling itself “a multigenerational Jewish neighborhood,” Palo Alto’s Oshman Family JCC offers sports and swimming; performances, classes and celebrations; and activities for youth, seniors and Israeli and Russian speakers. A new café opened on the campus, which includes a preschool and senior residence.

The Peninsula JCC, on a 12-acre Foster City campus, offers a fitness and aquatics facility, camps, a preschool, entertainment, and transportation and activities for older adults. It also provides help for children with special needs, tutoring and a Justice Garden, growing organic produce to feed families in need.

The Osher Marin JCC in San Rafael, with a swimming and fitness complex, hosts preschools on two campuses and performances in the Kanbar Center. Also on the menu: Jewish culture festivals, art exhibits, book talks and lectures, and a variety of classes and excursions.

San Francisco

JCC of San Francisco

(415) 292-1200


East Bay

JCC of the East Bay

Berkeley: (510) 848-0237

Oakland: (510) 595-9222

South Bay/Peninsula

Oshman Family JCC

Palo Alto

(650) 223-8700


Peninsula JCC

Foster City

(650) 212-7522


North Bay

Osher Marin JCC

San Rafael

(415) 444-8000


Readers’ Choice 2016