Vol. 1, No. 4 JANUARY 2006

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WELCOME to the fourth issue of Living History, the new email newsletter of The American Jewish Historical Society. Scan below to see the articles in this issue, then click a link to jump to an item of interest.

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Honor the life and work of Henry Roth: author of Call it Sleep, regarded as one of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century, and the four volume Mercy of a Rude Stream novels referred to as an "immense achievement" by the New York Times.

Celebrate his Centenary. Attend the Symposium featuring noted scholars and authors in conversation and readings from his work.

  On March 6, 2006, the American Jewish Historical Society's version of the Library of Congress exhibition, "From Haven to Home: 350 Years of American Jewish Life," will relocate to the Society's facility at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, MA. During its four-month stay at the Moakley United States Courthouse in downtown Boston, an estimated 22,000 individuals viewed the exhibition, including as many as 5,000 school children. The Boston Globe and other area newspapers gave the exhibition unanimous praise.

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Image from the cover of
The Jewish Immigrant magazine,
HIAS, New York City,
January 1909

  Between now and June of 2006, the AJHS will present its latest exhibition at the Center for Jewish History in New York. ‘Cradled in Judea’: Jewish Orphanages in New York, 1860-1960, explores the lives of children who called New York City’s Jewish orphanages “home.”

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Bar Mitzvah boys at the Pride of Judea, c. 1950
American Jewish Historical Society

  Hot off the press, the Society’s 2006 Update Edition of Jewish Major Leaguers baseball cards features Jewish major league baseball players who debuted in 2005, newly discovered old time players, players from the women’s league of the 1940’s, pioneer owners and broadcasters, and many more. This 53-card set is a follow-up to the hit 142 card original series of 2003, the first of its kind to honor Jewish baseball stars.

Symposium: Celebrating The 100th Birthday of Henry Roth 1906 – 1995
Tuesday, February 7, 2006, 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.
The New York City Public Library,
42nd Street and Fifth Avenue

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Reception for students, panelists, guests, and attendees.
6:45 – 7:00 p.m.
Introduction and welcome to guests and participants; remarks by members of the Centennial Committee and from Henry Roth's son, Hugh Roth.
7:00 – 7:15 p.m.
Professor Steven Kellman will speak about his new biography of Henry Roth entitled Redemption: The Life of Henry Roth with some special references to Mr. Roth's connection to CCNY.
7:15 – 7:30 p.m.
Readings of selected passages from the works of Henry Roth.
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Two successive Roundtable discussions

The Centenary Celebration is co-sponsored by City College of New York, the American Jewish Historical Society, the Dorot Jewish Division of the New York Public Library, and Lawrence I. Fox, Trustee, the Henry Roth Literary Property Trust.

This is a free event but pre-registration at freidus@nypl.org or (212) 930-0601 is requested.

Further information at ajhs.org/publications/symposium.cfm

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“Roosevelt Labor’s Choice.”
New York Forvertz,
November 1, 1936.

To visit this retrospective view of 350 years of the American Jewish experience, please visit the Society in the Gann Library of Hebrew College at 160 Herrick Road, Newton Centre, MA 02459 between March 6 and August 31, 2006. Hours are Monday – Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., and Friday, 9:30 a.m. – noon.


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“Get up, say your prayers, get your breakfast, go to school, come back, study your lessons, study Hebrew, get your supper and go to bed. Very little play, very little play!” So goes the routine at the first Jewish orphanage in America, at One Lamartine Place on what is now 29th Street in Manhattan, which was opened in 1860. The first Jewish group to care for vulnerable Jewish youth in New York City was the Hebrew Benevolent Society, which raised $300 to “ameliorate the condition of the unfortunate of the [Jewish] faith.”


Hebrew Orphan Asylum Harmonica Band
Hamilton Fish Park,
c. 1926
American Jewish Historical Society

Hebrew Orphan Asylum hiker, c. 1925
American Jewish Historical Society

On January 17, 2006, the Society will opened its newest exhibition: “Cradled in Judea”: Jewish Orphanages in New York, 1860-1960. When the first Jewish orphanages were established, government agencies provided few social services other than the most basic distribution of food, wood or coal to the poor. Jewish philanthropies had to meet the needs of their most vulnerable members or risk losing them to the streets or to Christian missions funded specifically to convert Jews in need of assistance. The arrival of 80,000 or more Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants into New York City every year during the 1890s greatly increased the number of homeless and runaway Jewish youth. Rather than write them off, the city’s mostly German-Jewish leadership elite tried through residential institutions to provide “ideal homes” for the orphaned, abandoned or voluntarily-surrendered children of their less fortunate coreligionists –to “cradle them in Judea” by teaching vocational and academic skills, religion and decorum that would make them useful and independent adults


Hebrew Orphan Asylum
Basketball team, c. 1922
American Jewish Historical Society

Bugler, Hebrew Orphan Asylum, ca. 1920
American Jewish Historical Society

“Cradled in Judea” is based on the Society’s own holdings, which include the records of the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Home for Hebrew Infants, Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society of New York, Hebrew Infant Asylum of New York City, Hebrew National Orphan Home, Hartman-Homecrest Records, the Pride of Judea, the records of the Seligman Solomon Society and the papers of Hyman Bogen. The exhibition features photographs, original documents, artifacts from the orphanages and from the personal collections of many of their graduates, as well as oral history interviews with the orphans themselves.

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There are 13 cards in the set recognizing the Jewish Major Leaguers who took the field in 2005, believed to be the most to ever appear in one season in history. These players include Shawn Green, Brad Ausmus, Mike Lieberthal, Al Levine, Scott Schoeneweis, Jason Marquis, Gabe Kapler, John Grabow, Kevin Youkilis, Adam Stern, Craig Breslow, Adam Greenberg, and Scott Feldman. The set also includes “newly discovered” Jewish players of the past, including Hall of Fame player-manager Lou Boudreau (whose mother was Jewish), Jose Bautista, Lefty Weinert, Jacob Atz, Bob Davis, and Jacob Livingston. One card features a team photo of the Israeli National Baseball Team.

Jewish women who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) have cards in this new set – Thelma “Tiby” Eisen, Anita Foss, and Blanche Schachter. (The tale of this league was told in Penny Marshall’s film, “A League of their Own”). The new set, handsomely packaged in a clear plastic box, is available ONLY THROUGH AJHS. You can order online at www.ajhs.org or call toll free at (866) 740-8013. The set sells for $36 plus shipping and handling.

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© 2006 The American Jewish Historical Society. All rights reserved.