Jewish Tradition of Charity Thrives in Chicago

In his work life, Yosef Meystel is a successful entrepreneur who has grown the net earnings of his company, YAM Management, by approximately 25 percent in the past five years. When not at work, Yosef Meystel supports the Jewish community’s many educational and philanthropic efforts throughout his home state of Illinois.

The Jewish community in the suburbs northwest of Chicago has been growing and thriving since the 19th century. The first synagogue west of Chicago was organized in Elgin in 1892, and the northwest suburbs today are home to 18 synagogues and nearly 20 percent of the Jewish population of the metropolitan area.

An integral part of the Jewish tradition is to help the less fortunate, and Chicago’s Jewish community maintains the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) to help dedicated individuals carry out this task. One of Illinois’ largest social welfare organizations, JUF consolidates donated resources to contribute a broad range of assistance to more than 300,000 Chicagoans, regardless of faith, as well as to Jews in Israel and worldwide. This assistance takes many forms, including food, health care, shelter, emergency assistance, and education. In addition to its own direct support operations, JUF sponsors a network of almost 70 programs and agencies.

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