The American Jewish Family

The American Jewish Family and Community

For Jews in America, as for Jews throughout the ages, the Jewish world has centered around family, community, and ritual. There are a myriad of secular and religious ways that they have created pockets of observances, education, and social networks – both in the family and the larger community – beginning with the founding of the Republic to the 21st century. Whether celebrating holidays or training children and adults on life cycle ceremonies and customs, these have been the glue that has held Jews together from the diaspora to present day.

Children Lighting the Menorah at a Chanukah Party

Year: 1948
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

 

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Girl at Camp Wakitan Lake

Year: 1941
Collection: Records of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York

The Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York was founded in 1822 as the Hebrew Benevolent Society. It underwent various changes of name until 1906 when it merged into The Jewish Child Care Association of New York in 1940. Their records document not only the early Jewish philanthropic efforts to help newly arrived immigrants, but also the long-term struggle of immigrant families to situate themselves in a new and culturally alien country, while preserving their Jewish heritage and caring for the orphans in the community through summer camp and trade activities.

 

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Children Attending Sukkot Services in Pearl Harbor

Year: 1956
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

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"Jewish Cookery Book" by Mrs. Esther Levy

Year: 1871
Collection: Gottesman Rare Book Collection

The first Jewish cookbook printed in North America; it is modelled on the British "Mrs. Beeson's Household Hints".

 

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Manuscript of Hebrew Grammar - Made by William Metcalf while a student in Judah Monis's Hebrew class at Harvard College.

Year: 1724
Collection: Gottesman Rare Book Collection

Judah Monis was North America's first college instructor of the Hebrew language, teaching at Harvard College from 1722 to 1760, and authored the first Hebrew textbook published in North America.

 

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Photo of Deda Schlossberg Miller wearing the Baby Dress made by Louisiana Nuns in 1882 for her Grandfather’s Bris 

 Year: 1940
Collection: Jacobi-Schlossberg Family Collection

Deda Schlossberg Miller, daughter of Alice Jacobi Schlossberg, wearing the baby dress of her maternal grandfather, Harold Jacobi, Sr. This heirloom lace gown was made in New Orleans in 1882 by nuns for Harold and his siblings.

 

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Abigail Franks letters to her son Naphtali (Heartsey) describing daily life in the 18th Century

Year: 1735
Collection: Franks Family Papers

Abigail Franks’ letters are one of the rare examples of Jewish domestic life written in the 18th Century about life in New York and its current political events.

 

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Young Men at Summer Camp in New York’s Bear Mountain State Park

Year: Undated
Collection: Records of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York

The Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York was founded in 1822 as the Hebrew Benevolent Society. It underwent various changes of name until 1906 when it merged into The Jewish Child Care Association of New York in 1940. Their records document not only the early Jewish philanthropic efforts to help newly arrived immigrants, but also the long-term struggle of immigrant families to situate themselves in a new and culturally alien country, while preserving their Jewish heritage and caring for the orphans in the community through summer camp and trade activities.

 

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Invitation to a Jewish Welfare Board Passover Seder in Manila, Philippines

Year: 1926
Collection: National Jewish Welfare Board Records

 

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Bar Mitzvah Photo of Twins Leon and Irwin Metz

Year: 1927
Collection: Metz-Green-Stone Family Papers

This image is from a collection that spans over 100 years and documents three generations of the Metz, Greene, and Stone families of Flushing, New York.

 

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Purim Fancy Dress Ball Invitation “In Aid of the Building Fund of the Hebrew Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society”

Year: 1881
Collection: Purim Association of New York City

 

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Ketubah (marriage contract) of Haym Salomon and Rachel Franks

Year: 1777
Collection: Haym Salomon Collection

Haym Salomon (1740 –1785) was an American Jewish businessman and political financial broker who helped convert the French loans into ready cash by selling bills of exchange for Robert Morris, the American Revolutionary Superintendent of Finance. In this way, he aided the Continental Army and was one of prime financiers of the American Revolutionary War effort.

 

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