Philanthropy and Volunteerism: Philanthropy
Benvenida Abravanel was one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish women of early modern Italy.
“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.
Beatrice Alexander established her doll business in her home in 1923, and since then the Madame Alexander Doll Company has created more than 5,000 different dolls. Employing more than 650 people at its factory in Harlem, New York, the Alexander Doll Company is one of the largest doll manufacturing companies in the United States.
Alschuler was a prolific writer, lecturer, and educator, and in the later part of her life, she contributed to the development and growth of the State of Israel.
Sadie Annenberg's husband Moe credited her with the idea that made them millionaires, and she used that money to support numerous causes, including the State of Israel.
The Sephardic communities that settled in Argentina in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came from various areas in the Sephardi world.
Argentine Jewish women were important players in the struggle for the Jewish homeland. They participated in women’s committees of Zionist societies, in Zionist parties and in three independent women’s Zionist organizations.
Fanny von Arnstein, patroness of music, arts and literature, was the outstanding salonnière of her time in Vienna. The high esteem in which she was held contributed much to the growing acceptance of Jews in the high society circles of Vienna.
Scholars have conventionally considered the nineteenth century the German era in the American Jewish history. Between 1820 and 1880, more than two hundred thousand immigrants from German lands arrived in the United States. Besides German Jews, this transatlantic movement also included migrants from ethnically Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Baltic territories that at that time remained under German political control or cultural influence.
People who shopped or worked at G. Fox and Company in Hartford, Connecticut, from the 1930s to the 1960s have fond memories of Beatrice Fox Auerbach and her department store. Many enjoyed the benefits of her merchandising innovations and progressive employment policies. Her customers enjoyed services such as personal shoppers, free home delivery, and toll-free telephone ordering long before these services were standard in other department stores. Because Auerbach believed in training programs and promotion from within, employees could achieve steady advancement and job security.
Since the beginning of British colonialization of New South Wales in 1788, when between eight and fifteen Jews were among the convicts who arrived with the First Fleet, several waves of immigration have brought the Jewish population up to its present size.
Sophie Cahn Axman was an articulate and opinionated Progressive reformer, a member of the Jewish elite with an uncompromising drive to improve her people.
Although Baerwald was born into a privileged, upper-class family, her wealth did not isolate her with respect to social class. She was deeply interested in the social structure of New York City, and recognized her ability to contribute to the lives of others less fortunate than herself. She considered volunteer work a social obligation, and poured her time and tireless energy into numerous projects.
The “Baghdadis,” referring to Jews coming mainly from Baghdad, Basra and Aleppo, but also from other Arabic speaking parts of the Ottoman Empire, arrived in India in the late eighteenth century and ultimately formed important diaspora trading communities in Bombay and Calcutta.
Dorothy Lehman Bernhard was a civic leader and philanthropist who was a staunch and tireless supporter of children in need.
Felicie Bernstein was one of the last Berlin salonnières, a patron of modern art and artists, and a philanthropist who supported early feminism.
Freed from domestic duties by her husband’s success in business, Henrietta Gittelson Blaustein, like many other wealthy Jewish women, was able to give generously of her time to charitable, religious, and civic organizations.
Florence Meyer Blumenthal, an extraordinary philanthropist and arts patron, organized her own arts foundation in Paris, and donated millions of dollars to established institutions and public charities in America and France.
Madeline Borg was active in philanthropic work for over fifty years.
From 1656, when Jews were allowed to resettle in Great Britain, forming a small community in London until the present, the Anglo-Jewish community has benefited from the relative tolerance toward minorities that the British have displayed, as well as from general economic and political developments. To be sure, Parliament did not fully emancipate Jews until 1858 and social discrimination persisted into the twentieth century. Great Britain did, however, offer haven to successive waves of immigrants, and Jews have prospered on its shores, becoming British and participating in the larger culture of the urban middle classes. The status of Jewish women was affected both by larger social mores and by the nature of the Anglo-Jewish community.
A leading Canadian volunteer community worker, Saidye Bronfman was born in Plum Coulee, Manitoba and grew up there and in Winnipeg.
The positive aspect of the Canadian mosaic has been a strong Jewish community (and other communities) which nurtured traditional ethnic and religious values and benefited from the talent and energy of women and men restrained from participation in the broader society. The negative aspect has included considerable antisemitism and, especially for women, the sometimes stifling narrowness and conservatism of the community which inhibited creative and exceptional people from charting their own individual paths.
More so than some of their counterparts in England’s Caribbean colonies, Jewish women in colonial North America occupied traditional positions and played traditional roles within the Jewish community as well as in the larger society. They could not serve in positions of leadership in either the Jewish or the general community, and they are not known to have had their own social organizations. Their primary occupation was that of homemaker, although, in an extension, several kept lodgings in which poorer Jewish individuals lived at the Jewish community’s expense.
Though her formal education ended when she graduated from Baltimore’s Western Female High School in 1887, Etta Cone, often overshadowed by her more flamboyant sister Claribel Cone, assembled with Claribel one of the major private art collections of the century. For years the sisters squeezed Matisses, Picassos, glorious textiles and period furniture into the apartments they maintained and graciously displayed on Eutaw Place in Baltimore. Outliving Claribel by twenty years, Etta bequeathed their joint collections to the Baltimore Museum of Art.