Philanthropy and Volunteerism
Benvenida Abravanel was one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish women of early modern Italy.
Helen Adler helped her husband establish the first model tenements at Cherry Street as well as the first free kindergarten in America, called the Working Man’s School, and later the Ethical Culture School at Fieldston. She took an active part in the visiting nurses’ service for the poor at the DeMilt Dispensary, the oldest clinic in the city, which Felix had initiated in 1877. With the assistance of a Dr. Koplik, she helped cut the infant death rate by having milk bottled safely at the Laboratory Department for Modified Milk for Tenement Babies, which Koplik and Adler founded in 1891.
Adler devoted much of her energy to specifically Jewish causes. She served for many years as the president of the Hebrew Sunday School Society of Philadelphia and on the local Jewish Welfare Board. Perhaps her most significant contribution was as one of the founding leaders of the Women’s League of the Conservative Movement [Women’s League For Conservative Judaism], which was established in 1918 by Mathilde Schechter, wife of the scholar Solomon Schechter.
“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.
Beatrice Alexander established her doll business in her home in 1923, and since then the Madame Alexander Doll Company has created more than 5,000 different dolls. Employing more than 650 people at its factory in Harlem, New York, the Alexander Doll Company is one of the largest doll manufacturing companies in the United States.
A Brazilian-born daughter of immigrants, Frida Alexandr (born Frida Schweidson) is the only woman writer to describe those Jewish cowboys from the viewpoint of one who lived among them. Her only published book was the novel Filipson, its title being the name of the farm where she was born on December 29, 1906.
Allen was one of a group of Philadelphia Jewish women who established and ran the first independent Jewish charitable societies in the United States. She was treasurer of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society (founded 1819) for forty years and, for a time, its director as well. In 1838, along with Rebecca Gratz, she founded the first Hebrew Sunday school in America, and in 1855, she started the Philadelphia Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum, serving as its president until 1867.
Alschuler was a prolific writer, lecturer, and educator, and in the later part of her life, she contributed to the development and growth of the State of Israel.
From 1893 to 1916, Sadie American and the National Council of Jewish Women were virtually synonymous. As one of the founders of the council, its first corresponding secretary (1893–1905), and later the paid executive secretary of the organization (1905–1914), American functioned as executive director, organizing local sections across the United States, representing the group at national and international meetings, and taking care of the routine work that building the organization required.
Established in 1925 to create vocational schools for religious girls in Palestine, AMIT, an American-based religious Zionist organization, has helped shape the educational and social welfare landscape in the State of Israel for eight decades.
Sadie Annenberg's husband Moe credited her with the idea that made them millionaires, and she used that money to support numerous causes, including the State of Israel.
The Sephardic communities that settled in Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came from various areas in the Sephardi world.
Argentine Jewish women were important players in the struggle for the Jewish homeland. They participated in women’s committees of Zionist societies, in Zionist parties and in three independent women’s Zionist organizations.
Fanny von Arnstein, patroness of music, arts and literature, was the outstanding salonnière of her time in Vienna. The high esteem in which she was held contributed much to the growing acceptance of Jews in the high society circles of Vienna.
Scholars have conventionally considered the nineteenth century the German era in the American Jewish history. Between 1820 and 1880, more than two hundred thousand immigrants from German lands arrived in the United States. Besides German Jews, this transatlantic movement also included migrants from ethnically Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Baltic territories that at that time remained under German political control or cultural influence.
The Association of Italian Jewish Women, or ADEI, was founded in 1927 in the city of Milan, Italy, home to the second largest Jewish community in the country.
People who shopped or worked at G. Fox and Company in Hartford, Connecticut, from the 1930s to the 1960s have fond memories of Beatrice Fox Auerbach and her department store. Many enjoyed the benefits of her merchandising innovations and progressive employment policies. Her customers enjoyed services such as personal shoppers, free home delivery, and toll-free telephone ordering long before these services were standard in other department stores. Because Auerbach believed in training programs and promotion from within, employees could achieve steady advancement and job security.
Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.
Sophie Cahn Axman was an articulate and opinionated Progressive reformer, a member of the Jewish elite with an uncompromising drive to improve her people.
Although Baerwald was born into a privileged, upper-class family, her wealth did not isolate her with respect to social class. She was deeply interested in the social structure of New York City, and recognized her ability to contribute to the lives of others less fortunate than herself. She considered volunteer work a social obligation, and poured her time and tireless energy into numerous projects.
The “Baghdadis,” referring to Jews coming mainly from Baghdad, Basra and Aleppo, but also from other Arabic speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire, arrived in India in the late eighteenth century and ultimately formed important diaspora trading communities in Bombay and Calcutta.
Lizzie Spiegel Barbe represents the “Jewish Clubwomen” of the nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century. Like other “Jewish clubwomen” of this era, Barbe was motivated to establish leadership roles for women within the organized Jewish community such as had previously not existed. All of Barbe’s communal work focused on the Jewish sphere, and she is remembered for her lifelong commitment to the Chicago Jewish community.
Known to her contemporaries as the “Lady Angel of the Tenement District,” Clarice Baright was a social worker and a trailblazing attorney who combined these skills as an advocate for the rights of New York City’s children and its poor. In a career spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Baright fought for reforms in the style and spirit of the Progressive Era, while earning the distinctions of serving as the second female magistrate in New York City history and of being among the first few women admitted to the American Bar Association.