Hebrew Ladies’ Aid Society

Left to right: Mesdames H.S. Schwartz, Hyman Podolsky, unidentified, Escovitz, J. Gross, Alex Hepps, M.I. Grinberg, J. Davidson, I. Grossman, Samuel Mervis, Aaron Weiss, Israel, Alex Lembersky, and Samuel Rosenthal.

Succoth 1916.  Left to right: Mesdames H.S. Schwartz, Hyman Podolsky, unidentified, Escovitz, J. Gross, Alex Hepps, M.I. Grinberg, J. Davidson, I. Grossman, Samuel Mervis, Aaron Weiss, Israel, Alex Lembersky, and Samuel Rosenthal.

In their own words from their 50th anniversary banquet program

A History

OF PHILANTHROPY…

In 1905, a small, energetic group of women joined in a philanthropic crusade to help the survivors of the Kishinef Massacre. 1 To be sure, in 1905 the organization was known as the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Rodef Shalom. But never once in a 50 year history has the Sisterhood failed in its support of worthy causes and needy people, in this community or the world over.

OF EDUCATION…

11/23/1907: The Ladies' Auxiliary organized the first Sunday School at the shul.

11/23/1907: The Ladies’ Auxiliary organized the first Sunday School at the shul.

In 1907, the Ladies’ Auxiliary took as its own responsibility the start of a Sunday School to give our children an education in Jewish culture. And Sunday School has always received its main support from Sisterhood.

OF COMMUNITY SPIRIT…

It was the Sisterhood that spurred the growth of sociability in this community through the tireless efforts of its women who planned and coordinated the social activities that brought the people of the Congregation together and served the dual purpose of raising funds to help support the Congregation’s many projects.

OF RELIGION…

And by following so conscientiously, through 50 years, the fundamentals of philanthropy, education and community spirit, the Homestead Rodef Shalom Sisterhood has served honorably and unselfishly the cause of religion. More than that, it has furthered the cause of the young, the aged and the Synagogue and so has maintained and nurtured the most basic principles of Judaism.

***

1/12/1916:  Hebrew Ladies Celebrate

1/12/1916

The Homestead newspaper reported on the Kishinev pogrom and subsequent fundraisers in 1905, but alas, not the organization of the Ladies’ Aid itself.  Their first newspaper mention came in March of 1906.  The article at right, written on the occasion of their tenth anniversary, gives some insight into their found and early history.

Very few records for the Ladies’ Aid (later the Sisterhood) survived — just minutes from 1945-1956 and a cashbook from 1955-1961 — but I am able to partially reassemble their history from the synagogue’s records, as well as the local Jewish and non-Jewish papers.

One important discovery is this list of all their past presidents:

Sisterhood officers and past presidents listed in the 75th anniversary program

Sisterhood officers and past presidents listed in the 75th anniversary program


  1. The first one took place on April 19-20, 1903, and a second, smaller one in October 1905. Of the second Wikipedia relates, “This time the riots began as political protests against the Tsar, but turned into an attack on Jews wherever they could be found. By the time the riots were over, 19 Jews had been killed and 56 were injured. Jewish self-defense leagues, organized after the first pogrom, stopped some of the violence, but were not wholly successful. This Pogrom was part of a much larger movement of 600 pogroms that swept the Russian Empire after the October Manifesto of 1905.”  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *