Weaving Women's Words: Seattle Stories


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pushke boxes

Pushke Boxes

Pushke boxes for the Jewish National Fund and the Diskin Orphan Home of Israel loaned by Sara Nelson Efron

Donation boxes like these have been a part of Jewish households around the world for many decades. This pair belonged to Sara’s mother, the contributions of coins placed in each box supported a specific charity. The Diskin Orphan Home was founded in Palestine in 1881 to care for Russian children fleeing persecution, and it still exists. The non-profit Jewish National Fund, established in Basel, Switzerland in 1901, serves as the caretaker of the land of Israel. The fund was deemed to be “the property of the Jewish people as a whole,” and was used to buy and improve land in Palestine. By 1927, 50,000 acres had been purchased; by 1935, 89,500 acres supported 108 communities.

Sara says, “I had to live up to the demands of being a righteous person, an example, and to try not to hurt people, to help people, and to do it in a quiet way. I feel strongly that this is our Jewish role: that we are responsible for each other, and we are responsible to look after the poor and the sick and the hungry, and that we need to do it in deeds, not just words.”

“We started what we called New Year's Callers. This is in the ’60s. We’d invite people from different churches, different organizations and we’d ask them to select a home in different areas of the city. So there were all different nationalities, colors. You’d go from house to house. And we would have coffee and cookies. And that grew into quite a large, interesting effective group to dispel fears and suspicions and preconceived notions.”


© 2004 Jewish Women’s Archive.