Helping Hands

As Washington’s Jewish community diversified and grew, local Jews created organizations to serve those in need.

The Hebrew Relief Society, formed in 1882, provided aid to Jews living in southwest Washington. Nine businessmen donated $55 each in 1909 to start The Hebrew Free Loan Society and provide interest-free loans to immigrants. In 1921, the United Hebrew Relief Society provided baskets of food, coal, and other supplies to needy Jewish families throughout the city.

United Hebrew Charities Year Book

1890: United Hebrew Charities was formed by several congregants at Washington Hebrew to help newly arrived immigrants living downtown make “an economic, social, and cultural adjustment” to their new lives.

JHSGW Collections.

Photo of Jewish Foster Home kids

1908: The Jewish Foster Home was formed by Minnie Goldsmith (center), Rose Harmel, and Rudolph Behrend. In the first years, children were housed at The Friendly Inn on 6th Street, NW. In 1911, the Foster Home purchased this house at 3213 Q Street in Georgetown. Children received secular education in public schools and Hebrew lessons at the Home.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Sol Gnatt. 1998.12

Photo of 415 M Street

1914: The Hebrew Home for the Aged was organized in 1914 when several Jewish businessmen learned that some homeless Jews were living in St. Elizabeths Hospital. This three-story brick building at 415 M Street, NW, formerly home to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, became the first Hebrew Home. By 1925, the Home needed more space and built a new building at 1125 Spring Road, NW.

Courtesy of Hebrew Home of Greater Washington.

Washington Council of Jewish Women Karnival program

1895: In its early years, the Washington Chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women conducted an after-school recreation program for poor Jewish children in Southwest. During World War I, the chapter entertained soldiers and held events like a Kamouflage Karnival to raise funds for war relief.

JHSGW Collections.

teachers

1930: Shown here are teachers at the Juanita K. Nye Council House on Sixth Street, SW, where Jewish immigrant children attended cheder (religious school).
L to R: Rose Lewis (Glaser), Myrtle Cohen, Edith Chidakel (Pascal), Ruth Glazer, Mary Lewis.

JHSGW Collections. Gift of Charles and Edith Chidakel Pascal.

United Hebrew Charities Year Book
Photo of Jewish Foster Home kids
Photo of 415 M Street
Washington Council of Jewish Women Karnival program
teachers