New JRS head is ready to lead, ready to learn

New JRS head is ready to lead, ready to learn

Harold Love
Photo courtesy of Harold Love
Harold Love Photo courtesy of Harold Love

Harold Love, a lifelong resident of Western Pennsylvania with more than last three decades of nonprofit experience, became executive director of Jewish Residential Services on June 1. He succeeds Deborah Friedman, who, as JRS’s founding executive director led the organization for 25 years.

“Debbie has made a profound contribution to the organization and to enhancing inclusion in our community,” said Reid B. Roberts, JRS’ president.

In succeeding Friedman, Love aspires to “continue her work” as well as remain true to the organization’s mission, he added.

Nearly 30 years ago, following a task force assigned by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to investigate the needs of local community members with disabilities, JRS was formed. Since that time, the organization has grown from its initial efforts to address communal housing and support services needs of adults living with mental illness or intellectual disabilities.

Through the addition of various programs, and in an effort to promote inclusion, JRS has broadened its mission to support “individuals with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities, helping them to live, learn, work and socialize as valued members of the community.”

“The mission is really important in taking good care of people with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems, [of] representing them, serving them and making them a more inclusive community on multiple levels in the Jewish community and the Squirrel Hill community,” said Love, who added, “and I want to further that mission of inclusion of people with disabilities.”

To effectuate that task, Love will step back.

“The business at hand right now for me is to immerse myself in the organization, in learning about the organization, learning about the people we serve and learning about the organizations we partner with and collaborate with,” he said. “I want to continue the work that is being done, and I want the transition to be smooth and [without] disruption.”

To ease the organization on its new path, Friedman will remain on staff until her official June 30 retirement date. Until then, Love will work alongside Friedman.

Prior to heading JRS, Love spent decades in nonprofit management. Most recently, he served as director of healthcare operations at Adagio Health, a private nonprofit organization that provides health care services to more than 100,000 women and their families throughout Western Pennsylvania each year.

Additionally, Love served on the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association’s Leadership Learning Collaborative, a year-long learning opportunity designed to prepare participants with advanced Affordable Care Act education and leadership training.

Love, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Planning and Administration from Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Public Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, considers himself a “big believer in organizational collaboration.”

“In meeting the needs of the community, organizations need to work together. They can’t work in isolation,” he said.

Relying upon his decades of experience, Love is ready to impart much wisdom. But there is a prerequisite to strategizing future collaborations, he said. “Right now, my focus is on learning, and there is a lot to learn.”

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

>>Jewish Residential Services will host an evening to honor Deborah Friedman’s retirement and celebrate her contributions over 25 years as the founding and sole executive director on Thursday, June 30 in Freehoff Hall at Rodef Shalom Congregation.

The evening will include a wine reception and appetizers by Tallulah’s at 6:30 p.m., a tribute program at 7:15 p.m. and champagne toast at 8:15 p.m. Dietary laws will be observed. RSVP to 412-325-0039 or

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