JFS sees people’s needs as an opportunity to help. We know that the face of opportunity is not always what you would expect. The family looking for assistance today will be the family helping to provide others with insights and support tomorrow. JFS is here for all.


Our Mission:

Jewish Family Services of WNC strengthens
the community by empowering individuals and families
through programs and services guided by Jewish values.

Our Vision:

A community in which individuals and families
have the resources to reach their full potential.

Our Values:

Respect for each person’s dignity

Helping people to help themselves

Social responsibility—we are all responsible for one another

Maintaining the highest ethical standards to be worthy of the community’s trust

Alison B. Gilreath, MSW JFS EMERITUS Executive Director

Alison B. Gilreath, MSW

JFS Executive Director

Alison has had a 30+ year career in start-up and other organizations in Connecticut, Boston, Los Angeles, and since 1992, here in Asheville, NC. In 1999, after 20 years of work in management in the private sector, Alison founded the WNC Jewish Council On Aging (JCOA) and created the Elder Day Club group respite program at the Asheville Jewish Community Center (JCC). As JCOA Director she administered a variety of programs for older adults and their families. In 2007, she implemented the transformation of JCOA into Jewish Family Services of WNC (JFS), a program of the JCC. As JFS Director, she expanded services to meet the needs of families and individuals of all ages. In 2011, she oversaw the process of JFS becoming an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the subsequent move to independent space in 2013, and the agency growth and expansion that continues to better serve the community.


Anne Wainer, MSS, LCSW-A JFS Social Worker/Case Manager; Elder Club Supervisor; Psychotherapist

Anne Wainer is a clinical social worker (MSS, LCSWA) at JFS with significant history at this can-do agency and in working with clients across the lifespan.  At JFS, Anne wears many hats, supervising and providing services in Mental Health Counseling, Chaplaincy, the JFS Elder Club, Food Pantry, Keren Ami, JELF and much more! She is a10 year plus Ashevillian with a great love of humanity, mothering, nature, mindfulness, teaching, dance and working with diverse populations in this growing mountain town. Anne has experience working with elders, LGBTQ youth and adults, at-risk children and families, and individuals traversing all varieties of transitions, including end of life planning and care. She incorporates CBT, DBT, mindfulness, motivational interviewing and depth psychology. Anne provides a supportive environment for her clients to overcome challenges and promote healing, and promotes continuity of care in all areas of her work at JFS.


Christina Jacob, MSW, LCSW JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Christina has experience working with individuals adjusting to significant life changes such as a decline in their own health or the health of a loved one, the death of a significant other, or moving in with family or to a long-term care facility. She has worked with adults of all ages, elders, caregivers and families. She is open to working with couples and those exploring gender identity issues. She is comfortable helping those coping with depression, anxiety, grief, anger and other common yet consequential challenges.


Deborah Wood, MSW, LCSW JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Deborah Wood is one of JFS's mental health counselors. She graduated from ETSU in 2006 with a masters in clinical social work. She started her career at a local hospital with inpatient psychiatric and substance abuse treatment. Deborah is trained in EMDR and utilizes techniques from CBT, DBT, and solution-focused therapies. Her goal is to create a warm, inviting, and safe space utilizing the client's strengths to achieve their desired outcome.


Debbie crane                          JFS Licensed Clinical Social Worker-Psychotherapist

Debbie comes from a Jewish family who has long been active in the field of mental health.  Her belief in the mind-body connection informs her practice and she tends to specialize in helping people who struggle with medical problems, chronic pain and with families who struggle with chemical dependence.  She is knowledgeable of approaches that include CBT, EFT, EMDR, SE and DBT.  She strongly believes in working in coordinated fashion with a client’s MD.  She is aware that many issues originate from family trauma. Her areas of special interest include weight loss, pain management, habit control and gender identity. She makes it a practice to listen carefully, validate internal strengths and liberate a sense of personal empowerment in clients so that they can create the outcomes they desire.


Nicole Peirolo JFS Elder Club Facilitator (Asheville & Hendersonville)

Nicole comes to Jewish Family Services after spending over 20 years involved in Mental Health and Human Services, working in Connecticut, Florida, and North Carolina treatments centers and therapeutic group homes. 


liz Drake                                    JFS Staff Accountant

Liz is a native of Chicago who moved to the Asheville area in 2003.  She received a BS in Resource Conservation and a JD from the University of Florida.


Judy Avalon                          JFS Administrative Assistant

Judy is our JFS Administrative Assistant, providing administrative support to staff members, programs and agency operations, and greeting our clients and visitors when they call or come into the office. Judy spent 56 years in South Florida before coming to beautiful Asheville.


Rachel Miriam Kalin                         JFS Chef/Kitchen Manager

Rachel relocated to Asheville in 2016 from the greater Fort Lauderdale area. She graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University (Miami) in 2014 after deciding to leave the field of Urban and Regional Planning, where she sat stationary for the most part of five and a half years dreaming of what to cook for dinner. Rachel was recently named one of the top chefs in Asheville!


2019 Board of Directors

Belinda Brandon, President

Michael Dulion, Vice President

Ken Tannenbaum, Vice President

Debra Bergman, Secretary

Stacy Feldman, Treasurer


Gaia Goldman

Sandra Layton

Jacob Blass

Rosemary Dehlow

Michelle Dorf

Honorary Members

Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Rabbi Rachael Jackson

Rabbi Batsheva Meiri

Rabbi Shaya Susskind

donor information

Corporate Sponsors, Funders, and affiliations

Springfest 2018 Sponsors

2017 donors

2018 donors