Mildred Hardin Rosenbaum

Mildred Hardin Rosenbaum.

Photograph by Joan Roth.

All Jews Are Family

“I fell in a burning fireplace when I was about two, and I was badly burned. We spent a lot of time going to various hospitals and medical centers in the South and twice to Mayo Clinic with no results. Then we moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota. My father took me to a hospital in Chicago for surgery, but he could just stay a few days. I was in this room with a girl my age. I asked her what religion she was. When she said, ‘Jewish,’ I told her I was Jewish, too. Her mother was furious that I was there all alone, and wrote a ‘poison pen’ letter to my mother. My mother wrote back, ‘If you’d like to come to Aberdeen and take care of our four other children, I would love a year in the Big City. P.S. Your name is the same as a member of our congregation.’ And it turned out it was her brother-in-law. She decided that she would visit me every day, even after her daughter went home. She was going to be family. She talked to the doctor about whether I could go home to her house, save my parents money on hospital bills, and so I went. And this is really something when you think that a total stranger would do all that, all because I was Jewish. And I’ve always felt that whatever I do, and whoever I take in, it’s partly for Hannabelle Pittel.”

The Family of Israel

“My husband came from a very Zionist family in Montreal. And when we were going to graduate school in New York, Ben Gurion had come to the United States to form an organization here of American Jews. They asked if they could use our apartment as a mail drop to pay for guns for the Jewish State, because it was illegal. It was very dramatic. And we felt very proud that we had helped. We were there when they declared the State in Madison Square Garden.

“In my life-and, I think in the lives of those who aren’t even aware of it-having the State of Israel has made a tremendous difference. The State of Israel opened the way for Jews to feel Jewish-publicly. At least in my lifetime. And I cannot turn my back on the Jewish people. This whole idea of Jews being responsible for each other is basic in Jewish life-is terribly important, and gets passed on.”


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Jewish Women's Archive. "Mildred Hardin Rosenbaum." (Viewed on April 23, 2024) <>.