Philanthropy and Volunteerism: Philanthropy
Benvenida Abravanel was one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish women of early modern Italy.
Mildred Albert charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality. She carved a niche for herself in the fashion world as the head of a modeling agency and an inventor of new kinds of fashion shows.
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. Auerbach, who became president of G. Fox and Company after her father died, was a talented executive, and the company became the largest privately owned department store in the country.
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.
Edith Jacobi Baerwald devoted her energy to philanthropic organizations, but she also loved connecting directly with the people she helped through her volunteer work at settlement houses. 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.
Henrietta Gittelson Blaustein was an American philanthropist. When her husband died in 1937, she became the chairperson of the Louis and Henrietta Blaustein Foundation. In 1951, the foundation awarded $1,000,000 to the Sinai Hospital and the Jewish Medical Center in Baltimore – the largest individual contribution ever made to a Jewish organization at that time.
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 dedicated her career to giving children second chances—through studying juvenile delinquency, working with child welfare and probation associations, and by founding the Big Sister movement. She 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.
Saidye Rosner Bronfman was a first-generation Canadian who used her wealth to benefit numerous Canadian Jewish organizations and philanthropies. Beginning in 1929, she served as the president of Montreal’s Young Women’s Hebrew Association for six years. In 1943 she was recognized by the British Empire for her philanthropic contributions to the war effort.
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.