Maryland Philanthropy and Israel: An Image Gallery Part 2

Posted on January 31st, 2018 by

generations 2007Written by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel. To order a print copy of the magazine, see details here.

Miss Part I? Start here.

State of Israel Bonds

State of Israel Bonds combine individual contributions into a communal effort with a single focus: Israel. Born of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s need to offset the heavy costs of the war in 1948, State of Israel Bonds were introduced at a meeting held in Jerusalem’s King David Hotel in September 1950. The bonds were meant to help fund immigrant absorption, to help construct a new national infrastructure, and to engage diaspora Jewry as active partners in building the new Jewish State. Maryland took up the task with enthusiasm, with groups like the Mercantile Club and numerous synagogues running campaigns and hosting dinners to support the State of Israel.

This publicity photo from 1951 features members of the Women’s Division meeting Israel’s Minister of Health, Dr. Joseph Burg. Dr. Burg was visiting Baltimore to help promote Israel Bonds. Also pictured are Captain Smolensk, captain of the Meir Dizengoff and Harry Diamond, Maryland’s Israel Bond Director. JMM 1989.80.21

This publicity photo from 1951 features members of the Women’s Division meeting Israel’s Minister of Health, Dr. Joseph Burg. Dr. Burg was visiting Baltimore to help promote Israel Bonds. Also pictured are Captain Smolensk, captain of the Meir Dizengoff and Harry Diamond, Maryland’s Israel Bond Director. JMM 1989.80.21

The Women’s Division Effort of Israel Bonds makes their appeal to fellow Maryland Jews by recalling the sacrifice of those involved in the Yom Kippur War. JMM 1994.21.27

The Women’s Division Effort of Israel Bonds makes their appeal to fellow Maryland Jews by recalling the sacrifice of those involved in the Yom Kippur War. JMM 1994.21.27

Governor Theodore McKeldin and Harry Diamond, Baltimore City Manager for the State of Israel Bond Sale, 1951. JMM 1989.80.4

Governor Theodore McKeldin and Harry Diamond, Baltimore City Manager for the State of Israel Bond Sale, 1951. JMM 1989.80.4

Organizational Support

Beyond individual support, Jewish Marylanders have worked together in many ways to support Israel. Organizations such as the Jewish Welfare Fund, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Independent Order Brith Sholom have used their membership to accomplish larger acts of tzedakah than could be accomplished through personal, isolated efforts, often turning their efforts towards Israel.

Organized in 1941, the Jewish Welfare Fund (JWF), which became the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, sought to manage Baltimore Jewish fundraising for overseas efforts, especially those related to Israel. This sign, created by the Kershman sign-making company, encouraged Maryland Jews to aid Israel in the wake of violent outbreaks, such as the attack on the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. JMM 1995.156.3

Organized in 1941, the Jewish Welfare Fund (JWF), which became the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, sought to manage Baltimore Jewish fundraising for overseas efforts, especially those related to Israel. This sign, created by the Kershman sign-making company, encouraged Maryland Jews to aid Israel in the wake of violent outbreaks, such as the attack on the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. JMM 1995.156.3

The Independent Order Brith Sholom (IOBS), a fraternal organization formed in 1902 in East Baltimore, was the first fraternal order to buy ambulances for the new state of Israel. It also helped supply money and material for the ship Exodus, helped fund settlement for Yemenite Jewish immigrants, and raised money to build the Brith Sholom of Baltimore Medical Center in Rishon L’Zion. Here, Grand Matron Kay Snyder and three unnamed men stand in front of a truck presented to the new state of Israel during the 46th Annual Convention of IOBS in Atlantic City, June 1948. JMM 1995.209.84.2

The Independent Order Brith Sholom (IOBS), a fraternal organization formed in 1902 in East Baltimore, was the first fraternal order to buy ambulances for the new state of Israel. It also helped supply money and material for the ship Exodus, helped fund settlement for Yemenite Jewish immigrants, and raised money to build the Brith Sholom of Baltimore Medical Center in Rishon L’Zion. Here, Grand Matron Kay Snyder and three unnamed men stand in front of a truck presented to the new state of Israel during the 46th Annual Convention of IOBS in Atlantic City, June 1948. JMM 1995.209.84.2

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), founded in 1893, focuses on women’s issues, philanthropy, and community. In 1953 the NCJW began the “Ship-A-Box” program, sending toys, books and games to children overseas, especially to Jewish children in the immigrant settlements of Israel. Here Maryland Jewish youth help NCJW Annapolis Section leaders with the “Ship-A-Box” project, displaying dolls to be sent to Israel, c. 1985. Pictured are (top L to R): Sue Merrill, Section President Robin Sussman, Donna Berusch, Janice Singerman, George Gordon, Jane Cohen, and Tanya Peskin, (bottom L to R): Wade Berusch, Julie Merrill, and Bessie Gordon. JMM 2001.113.82

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), founded in 1893, focuses on women’s issues, philanthropy, and community. In 1953 the NCJW began the “Ship-A-Box” program, sending toys, books and games to children overseas, especially to Jewish children in the immigrant settlements of Israel. Here Maryland Jewish youth help NCJW Annapolis Section leaders with the “Ship-A-Box” project, displaying dolls to be sent to Israel, c. 1985. Pictured are (top L to R): Sue Merrill, Section President Robin Sussman, Donna Berusch, Janice Singerman, George Gordon, Jane Cohen, and Tanya Peskin, (bottom L to R): Wade Berusch, Julie Merrill, and Bessie Gordon. JMM 2001.113.82

~THE END~

 

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Maryland Philanthropy and Israel: An Image Gallery Part 1

Posted on January 29th, 2018 by

generations 2007Written by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel. To order a print copy of the magazine, see details here.

Tzedakah is more than a good deed for Jews, it is an obligation. Often translated as “charity,” tzedakah is in fact much more: it is about acts of justice. In Judaism, performing charity and philanthropic acts is a way of creating justice in the world, a responsibility so great that its fulfillment is required whether one’s pockets are full or empty. For many Jews, supporting Israel is a way of meeting the obligations of tzedakah and the Jews of Maryland are no exception. This photo essay captures how, whether on a personal, private level such as dropping a few coins in a tin box, or through community events such as group fundraising to purchase an ambulance, Maryland Jews have seized myriad opportunities to aid Israel.

A street stand in Baltimore draws attention to the physical needs of Israel, c. 1948. JMM 1987.196.13

A street stand in Baltimore draws attention to the physical needs of Israel, c. 1948. JMM 1987.196.13

The Pushke

(left to right) For American Red Magen David for Israel, JMM 1993.52.27; Support for projects that benefit at-risk women, children and families in Israel. JMM 2002.107.4; For Israel’s Emergency Medical, Health and Disaster Service and “Jerusalem Institutions for the Blind, JMM 1993.52.28

(left to right) For American Red Magen David for Israel, JMM 1993.52.27; Support for projects that benefit at-risk women, children and families in Israel. JMM 2002.107.4; For Israel’s Emergency Medical, Health and Disaster Service and “Jerusalem Institutions for the Blind, JMM 1993.52.28

Small (although not always), personal contributions have been a mainstay of Maryland support for Israel. Charity boxes, commonly called by their Yiddish name, pushkes, represent the everyday nature of tzedakah in Jewish life. Pushke, from the Polish puszka, is literally a container, usually made of metal or cardboard, and used to collect small sums – pocket change, for a variety of causes. Small and unassuming, these ubiquitous boxes appear in homes, synagogues and stores throughout Maryland. The pushke is a symbol of anonymous yet highly personal efforts to aid those in need, allowing anyone to contribute, no matter how big or small the donation. The array of pushkes shown here represent support for the Jewish communities of Israel, each box representing a plea for aid for “the poor, old, sick rabbis, scholar, orphans and widows,” for schools, the Jewish National Fund, and the American Red Magen David.

"Pushkes" in the JMM collections.

“Pushkes” in the JMM collections.

Line 1: Charity for the Poor Orphans in Jerusalem, JMM 2000.54.3; Great Charity “Chaye Olam” Institutions and Orphans Kitchen of Jerusalem, JMM 2000.54.5; United Charity Institutions of Jerusalem, JMM 2000.54.6; Charity for Jerusalem for “the old, poor, sick…” JMM 2000.54.7

Line 2: United Inst. Or Torah, JMM 54.9; Aiding Americans in Israel, JMM 2000.54.10 General Israel Orphans Home for Girls, JMM 2000.54.13; Charity for the Poor Orphans in Jerusalem, JMM 1994.83.3

Line 3: Kollel America Tifereth, JMM 1994.83.4; United Charity Institutions of Jerusalem; JMM 1994.83.5; Hadassah, JMM 1993.92.2; For the Jewish National Fund, JMM 1991.160.1

Line 4: For Yeshiva Yetev-Lev D’Satmar, Jerusalem, JMM 1992.245.4; For the support of Religious Colonies and newly arrived Immigrants in Israel, JMM 2000.135.1; Jewish National Fund, JMM 1991.38.1; For General Israel Orphans Home for Girls, JMM 1992.245.2

The Buying of Trees

Certificate presented to Dr. Harry Friedenwald for his contributions to the "Olive Tree Fund" of the Jewish National Fund, 1908. JMM T1989.79

Certificate presented to Dr. Harry Friedenwald for his contributions to the “Olive Tree Fund” of the Jewish National Fund, 1908. JMM T1989.79

Another highly personal form of support for Israel embraced by Maryland Jews has been buying trees through the Jewish National Fund, an organization dedicated to reclaiming the deserts of Israel. The JNF was founded in 1901 for the purpose of purchasing land in Palestine. The introduction of the JNF’s “Olive Tree Fund” by 1908 marked a shift in focus, establishing Diaspora support of forestation efforts. Since its inception, the JNF has overseen the planting of over 240 million trees and the building of 180 dams and reservoirs, established more than 1,000 parks, and developed a quarter of a million acres.

U.S. Admiral L. Kintburger, Baltimore’s Harry Diamond and an unnamed Israeli officer plant a tree together in a JNF forest, 1961. JMM 1989.80.29

U.S. Admiral L. Kintburger, Baltimore’s Harry Diamond and an unnamed Israeli officer plant a tree together in a JNF forest, 1961. JMM 1989.80.29

Two young girls show off their contributions to both the forests of Israel and the parks of Baltimore, 1985. JMM 1995.189.757

Two young girls show off their contributions to both the forests of Israel and the parks of Baltimore, 1985. JMM 1995.189.757

Perhaps an even more individual way for Maryland supporters of Israel to perform tzedakah is through charitable missions, actually visiting and working on projects in the State of Israel. Many of these missions have been organized through The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, the main Jewish community service organization in Baltimore. The earliest documented Associated mission to Israel was in 1954, only six years after the founding of the state.

Grace Heller hands out candy to a group of Yemenite Children on an Associated mission, 1954. Her chauffeur Jack Handeh assists. JMM 1995.142.6.5

Grace Heller hands out candy to a group of Yemenite Children on an Associated mission, 1954. Her chauffeur Jack Handeh assists. JMM 1995.142.6.5

Sidney Lansburgh, Jr., President of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, is greeted upon his arrival in Israel for the Prime Minister's mission, 1973. JMM 1992.278.7a

Sidney Lansburgh, Jr., President of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, is greeted upon his arrival in Israel for the Prime Minister’s mission, 1973. JMM 1992.278.7a

Members of the Women’s Division of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund visit a project site funded by their efforts. JMM 1995.189.386

Members of the Women’s Division of the Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund visit a project site funded by their efforts. JMM 1995.189.386

Young Marylanders participate in planting trees while on an Associated Jewish Charities sponsored Mission to Israel. JMM 1995.189.392a

Young Marylanders participate in planting trees while on an Associated Jewish Charities sponsored Mission to Israel. JMM 1995.189.392a

Continue to Part II

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Chronology: Maryland and Israel Part 1, 1830 to 1900

Posted on August 23rd, 2017 by

Compiled by Avi Y. Decter and Dr. Deborah R. Weiner. Originally published in Generations 2007-2008: Maryland and Israel

The term “Zionism” was coined only in 1890, but for 2,000 years Jews throughout the world have yearned for a return to their ancient home in the Land of Israel. Prayers and rituals refer to Israel’s winds, dew, and rain, the fertility of its soil, and the beauty of its produce. The longing for return and redemption has helped to sustain the Jewish people. In the modern era, longing was transformed into an international movement to rebuild a Jewish homeland in Israel as a refuge and as a center for Jewish renewal.

In this movement, Maryland has played an important role. This timeline, based on research conducted by Barry Kessler for the Museum’s Bridges to Zion exhibition in 1998, calls out some of the many events and people who have participated in the Zionist project from the early nineteenth century to the present day.

1832

Letter from Mendes Cohen to his mother, March 19, 1832. Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society.

Letter from Mendes Cohen to his mother Judith, from Jerusalem, March 19, 1832. Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society.

Baltimorean Mendes I. Cohen is one of the first American citizens to visit Palestine as part of his six-year tour of Europe and the Middle East. His descriptions of life there, depicted in letters to his mothers and brothers, offer a rare glimpse of Palestine’s Jewish community through the eyes of an American Jew.

 

1840s

Jehiel Cohen (in 1847) and Aaron Selig (in 1849) visit Baltimore, appealing for Maryland Jews to aid the poor, the infirm, the elderly, and the scholars of Israel. Messengers and letters from orphanages, academies, and other institutions serving the Jews of Palestine represent a tradition of charity that dates back to ancient times, founded on the belief that Jews in the Land of Israel contribute to the spiritual salvation of the Jewish people by their study of holy texts and their presence in the holy cities.

1870

Sir Moses Montefiore

Sir Moses Montefiore

Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885), a prominent English philanthropist and Jewish communal leader, donates a Torah to Congregation Shearith Israel in recognition of the Congregation’s support for the Jewish residents of Palestine. In 1879, Montefiore gives a second Torah to Congregation Chizuk Amuno.

1888

Young, intellectual Russian Jewish immigrants form the Isaac Bar Levinsohn Hebrew Literary Society to foster cultural activity among Baltimore’s East European Jewish immigrants. With the support of Rabbi Benjamin Szold and his daughter Henrietta (1860-1945), the Society promotes a variety of cultural and educational activities and serves as an early forum for the discussion of Zionist ideas. The following year, under the leadership of its president, Solomon Baroway, the Society opens the Russian Night School in East Baltimore, one of the nation’s first night schools for immigrants. Henrietta Szold serves as superintendent.

1889

“The very learned, although very young” Rabbi Simon Isaac Halevi Finkelstein founds a branch of Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion), Baltimore’s first Zionist organization. In its first year, the organization raises $234.58, of which $48.76 is sent to Palestine, the rest being used for Zionist propaganda in Baltimore. By 1899, a branch emerges in Hagerstown, as well.

 

1890

Cyrus Adler at Oxford, 1898.  Courtesy of the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Cyrus Adler Collection.

Cyrus Adler at Oxford, 1898. Courtesy of the Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Cyrus Adler Collection.

Cyrus Adler, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Semitics Department, visits Palestine. On his return, he delivers a lecture, illustrated by stereopticon views, that enables Baltimore Jews to “see” the Holy Land, bringing Palestine close to home.

Also, Zev (Wolf) Schur publishes his Hebrew-language periodical, Ha-Pisgah, in which he espouses a strongly Zionist view as an antidote to Reform and assimilation. Schur continues to publish in Baltimore into 1892 and thereafter in Chicago.

1892

Shavei Zion [Returnees to Zion], an organization that promotes emigration to Palestine, holds a public meeting on 26 May, which is attended by more than 1,000 people. However, calls to return to Zion are undercut by the hardships of pioneer life in Palestine and the opportunities of America.

1894

Hevrat Zion (Zion Association) is founded at the Russian Night School with the ideal of rebuilding Palestine. The Association accepts members without regard to their “individual religious and social views.” The Association publishes Dr. Aaron Friedenwald’s lecture on “Lovers of Zion.” The next year, the Association brings to America the famous orator Zvi Hirsh Masliansky (1856-1943), who electrifies audiences with Zionist rhetoric.

 

1896

Black and white carte-de-visite of Henrietta Szold when she became editor of the Jewish Publication Society, Nov. 1893.

Black and white carte-de-visite of Henrietta Szold when she became editor of the Jewish Publication Society, Nov. 1893.

Henrietta Szold publishes “A Century of Jewish Thought,” advocating the revival of the Hebrew language and a return to the Land of Israel as remedies for a divided and de-natured Judaism.

 

1897

Rabbi Dr. Schepsel Schaffer, (1862-1933), made from ”The Jews of Baltimore”, by Isidor Blum. JMM 1999.121.1

Rabbi Dr. Schepsel Schaffer, (1862-1933), made from ”The Jews of Baltimore”, by Isidor Blum. JMM 1999.121.1

Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Schepsel Schaffer (1862-1933) is one of two official American delegates to attend the first World Zionist Congress in Basel, where he represents Baltimore’s Zion Association. The other American delegate is Adam Rosenberg of New York City, who was born in Baltimore. By 1910, Rabbi Schaffer presides over the five-member Council of Baltimore Zion Associations.

 

Dr. Aaron Friedenwald (1836-1902), an eminent Baltimore ophthalmologist, travels to Palestine with his wife, Bertha. After his return, he speaks in New York and Philadelphia on the regeneration of the land and of the Jewish spirit, predicting that the “center for Jewish thought” in Palestine would “radiate an influence” that would overturn generations of degradation and prejudice.

 

1899

The Federation of American Zionists holds its second national meeting in Baltimore. When the Federation was established in 1897, immediately after the first World Zionist Congress, Baltimore’s Zion Association and Ezrat Hovevei Zion were charter members. Among the 19 local delegates are Louis Levin, Solomon Baroway, Israel Fine, and Aaron Friedenwald.

 

Continue to Part II: Maryland and Israel, 1900 to 1950

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