1881 – 1960
“And Mrs. Arons gave in full measure of herself.” These words from a history of the Brooklyn Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) characterize Jeannette Arons’s dedication to the welfare of the Jewish community. In conjunction with the Brooklyn Section and national offices of the NCJW, she worked tirelessly to expand and improve the work of this prominent service organization.
Jeannette (Lederman) Arons was born in Brooklyn on July 14, 1881, to Samuel and Minnie (Celler) Lederman. Her brother was Captain Jerome A. Lederman (USNR). After graduating from high school, she took college extension courses. On June 5, 1905, she married Mark Salomon. He died in 1916. She entered into a second marriage, with Abraham H. Arons, on January 18, 1917.
In the 1938 edition of Who’s Who in American Jewry, Arons is designated a social worker and vice president of a child guidance clinic. Whether or not she was a professional social worker or her office was a child guidance clinic, one of many mental health facilities for children, it is clear that her work, professional or voluntary, was directed toward the needs of the Jewish community.
As the president of the Brooklyn Section of the NCJW from 1918 to 1925, Arons “gave in full measure of herself,” expanding and developing new areas of activity for her section and widening the scope of her service with her work at the national office. Her concerns spanned many areas from public health to the problems of people with disabilities to the education of immigrant women. During her presidency, classes in English and citizenship for immigrant women became part of a joint project of the NCJW and the New York City Board of Education.
Her lifelong relationship with NCJW began in the early 1900s. In 1914, as part of a NCJW program, Arons was a volunteer probation officer in juvenile court, caring specifically for Jewish children in trouble. She moved from the Brooklyn Section presidency to become a member and chair of many committees on the national level, including the Farm and Rural Work Programs, and the vice-chair of the national executive committee.
Although most of her activity centered on her commitment to the National Council of Jewish Women, Arons also worked for other organizations, including the Women’s Division Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Welfare Council of New York, the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association U.S. Mainland Committee, and the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Israel Anshei Emes.
In 1924, the Brooklyn Section established the Jeannette L. Arons Scholarship Fund to assist underprivileged girls to continue their pursuit of education. In the mid-1930s, Arons personally presented the scholarships to three Jewish girls, two art students and a student at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.
Jeannette Arons died on July 2, 1960. She published no important papers. She left no memoirs in esteemed archives. But, like many other Jewish women, she left a legacy of service to the community in which she lived.
“Brooklyn Section National Council of Jewish Women: A History,” and Brooklyn Section, National Council of Jewish Women and Council Home for Jewish Girls (Amalie Seldner Memorial). Annual reports (May 1, 1933–January 1, 1935, and January 1, 1935–January 1, 1936); The First Fifty Years: A History of the National Council of Jewish Women, 1893–1943; National Council of Jewish Women newsletters (January 1933, March 1933, November 1934, October 1935, December 1935, 1936); Rogow, Faith. Gone to Another Meeting: The National Council of Jewish Women, 1893–1993 (1993); WWIAJ (1926, 1938).