Johanna Loeb

Johanna Loeb’s work with both Jewish and secular charities strengthened the safety net for the poor, the sick, and new immigrants throughout Chicago. Educated in Europe, Loeb immigrated to the US in 1856 and eventually married and settled in Chicago. There she directed a staggering variety of organizations, including the Home for Crippled Children, the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society of Chicago, and the Home for the Jewish Friendless (a homeless shelter). In 1890 she helped found the Jewish Training School, an innovative institution that offered vocational training, regular education, and home economics courses to poor and immigrant Jews. For many years, she served on their board. When Chicago was hit by economic downturn in the 1890s, she also opened soup kitchens throughout the city. She went on to help create what would become Chicago’s first JCC, and led the local chapter of the United Order of True Sisters, focusing their efforts away from national concerns and onto local charitable work like building Resthaven, a rest home for Jewish women and girls. Her career focused not on legislation or universal ideals, but on transforming individual lives by protecting people at their most vulnerable moments of illness, joblessness, and change.


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Jewish Women's Archive. "Johanna Loeb." (Viewed on November 21, 2019) <>.


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