The JWBS has literally been alive since Johannesburg was a dusty mining village during the Gold Rush. Established in 1893, the newly formed Jewish Ladies Society was developed in response to a great need to alleviate human suffering.
In 1907 the organisation was renamed the Jewish Women’s Benevolent Society (JWBS).
Soon the granting of financial assistance alone expanded to embody other services as well. This led to the establishment of the Clothing Depot in 1904 whose first workroom was attached to the Fordsburg Synagogue.
By 1938 it became necessary to have permanent offices and the JWBS moved into its office in Fox Street.
1939 proved to be a turning point, when voluntary workers came into contact with registered welfare organisations doing scientific case work and investigation.
In order to be more effective, and more controlled, it was decided that the Benevolent needed its own home so that all the services could be housed under one roof. In 1972 a property was purchased in Becker Street, Yeoville.The Jewish Family Council moved in, meetings were held there with the Chevra Kadisha and all went well.
In the 1990′s the area began to change and the building was sold and in 2000 the Benevolent moved to its present offices in Sandringham Gardens.
In conclusion, throughout our history one thing has remained constant – whether in Fordsburg, Doornfontein, Yeoville or Sandringham – the necessity to provide financial assistance and care to Jewish families in distress has never wavered.