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Ten in the Twentieth: Baltimore Jews and Social Justice 1900s

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by

Article by Dr. Deborah R. Weiner. Originally published in Generations 2009-2010: 50th Anniversary Double Issue: The Search for Social Justice.

 

The Baltimore Jewish community has produced many leaders who have worked to make the world a better place. The range of issues they have addressed is impressive: from women’s suffrage to civil rights, labor relations to helping the elderly, refugee resettlement to eliminating poverty, and much more.

This chronology traces the careers of ten Baltimoreans who stood up for social change, with each person’s entry revolving around a turning point—one for each decade of the twentieth century. This is by no means a “Ten Best” list. The people included here are remarkable for what they accomplished, but others, equally remarkable, could have been chosen as well. These profiles should be seen as representative of a larger group of Baltimore Jews who have made major contributions to their communities and to the broader society in myriad ways.

The 1900s: Sidney Hollander

The century begins with Sidney Hollander (1881-1972) being denied his diploma from City College high school. His transgression? He and the other yearbook staffers insisted on printing a cartoon criticizing the faculty, despite administration threats. The episode did not deter Hollander from standing up for what he believed in, all his life. He later said, “In my time I’ve been labeled socialist, radical, subversive, communist—whatever happened to be in disfavor at the time; and that will happen to you, too, if you’re so foolhardy as to challenge things as they are.”

A young Sidney Hollander Sr. From the JMM Vertical Files.

A young Sidney Hollander Sr. From the JMM Vertical Files.

But Hollander was no wild-eyed radical. After building a successful pharmaceutical business by the 1920s, he devoted the next fifty years to civic and philanthropic pursuits. His outspokenness made him a leader in social welfare and reform activities locally and nationally. He helped found the Americans for Democratic Action and the Baltimore Urban League; he presided over the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Jewish Children’s Society, and the national Council of Jewish Federations. He personally challenged segregation by bringing African American friends with him to concerts at the Peabody Conservatory, and was instrumental in bringing the first black performer, Marian Anderson, to the Lyric.

The cartoon that caused City College to deny Hollander and his yearbook colleagues their diplomas in 1900. From the JMM Vertical Files.

The cartoon that caused City College to deny Hollander and his yearbook colleagues their diplomas in 1900. From the JMM Vertical Files.

When he died, the Baltimore Sun praised him as the “Champion of the Dispossessed.” He received many accolades and awards during his lifetime, but one stands out as particularly significant: fifty years after the yearbook incident, City College awarded him his diploma—and inducted him into the City College Hall of Fame.

Continue to The 1910s: Jacob Moses.

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Generations 2007-2008: Bridges to Zion: Maryland and Israel

Posted on November 9th, 2016 by

Generations 2007-2008: Bridges to Zion: Maryland and Israel

Table of Contents

Introduction by Avi Y. Decter and Deborah R. Weiner – download as pdf

An American in Palestine: Mendes I. Cohen Tours the Holy Land by Deborah R. Weiner – download as pdf

The American Delegate(s)* at the First Zionist Conference by Avi Y. Decter – download as pdf

Revolutionizing Experiences: Henrietta Szold’s First Visit to the Holy Land by Henrietta Szold – download as pdf

Why I was a Zionist and Why I Now Am Not by Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron

“Israel” by Karl Schapiro

Mahal Days by Raphael Ben-Yosef

Photo Gallery: Maryland Philanthropy and Israel by Rachel Kassman

The Blaustein-Ben-Gurion Agreement: A Milestone in Israel-Diaspora Relations by Mark K. Bauman

The Comeback Kid: Leon Uris Returns to City College, 1995 by Rona Hirsch

“Who is a Jew” by Shoshana S. Cardin

Book Review: A Dream of Zion: American Jews Reflect on Why Israel Matters to Them by Melvin I. Urofsky

Field Notes: The Jewish Journey: The Jewish Museum in New York by Fred Wasserman

Chronology: Maryland and Israel

Cost: $10

To order a print copy of Generations 2007-2008, please contact Esther’s Place, the JMM Museum Shop at 443-873-5179 or email Devan Southerland, Museum Shop Assistant at dsoutherland@jewishmuseummd.org.

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