1. Arch Street Theater flyer. The Arch Street Theater, founded in 1898, was not the first Yiddish theater in Philadelphia but was one of the largest. However, lack of interest and problems in attracting New York actors to perform in Philadelphia forced the theater to revert back to vaudeville. In 1909 Mike Tomashevsky took over the theater and produced Yiddish theater and Yiddish vaudeville on a grand scale until the theater was sold in 1936. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
2. Photo of the Arch Street Theater in 1923. Home of Yiddish theater in Philadelphia. 1909-1936. Courtesy of Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
3. Mayer Sulzberger. Sulzberger (1843-1923), lawyer, judge, and Jewish communal leader, was considered to have been the leading Jewish citizen of Philadelphia and one of the most prominent national Jewish leaders of his era. He worked closely with Isaac Leeser on several projects, co-founded and led the Young Men’s Hebrew Association. Sulzberger was also active in establishing and leading such organizations as the Jewish Hospital of Philadelphia (now known as the Albert Einstein Medical Center), the Jewish Publication Society, the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
4. 75th Anniversary of the Hebrew Sunday School Society. The Hebrew Sunday School Society, created in 1838, sought to provide Jewish schooling to those most in need and lacking a basic understanding in Jewish Education. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
5. Portrait of Rebecca Gratz by Thomas Sully. Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), member of a wealthy Philadelphia family in the early 19th century, helped lead the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances, the first nonsectarian group in Philadelphia to help the poor. She also helped found the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, the first American Jewish women’s group, the first Jewish charity in America outside a synagogue, and the first organization to serve the poor of the Jewish community providing food, clothing, shelter and employment services to the poor. In addition, Gratz is well known for creating the Hebrew Sunday School Society, the first Jewish school in the US to provide a Jewish education in a Sunday morning format. Courtesy of Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, PA.
6. Dedication of the Holocaust Memorial 17th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, April 26, 1964. Sculpted by Nathan Rapoport, a survivor, it depicts an elderly Jew, his talit and a Torah Scroll, the faces of a suffering mother and children and at the top hands holding daggers of resistance, all in a vertical ring of fire. Dedicated in 1964, it is the site of the annual community-wide memorial service for the Holocaust martyrs. It was the first public monument of its kind in the United States. The inscription reads:
“The Holocaust/1933-1945/Now and forever enshrined in memory are the six million/Jewish martyrs who perished in concentration camps/ghettos and gas chambers/in their deepest agony they clung to the image of humanity,/and their acts of resistance in the forests and ghettos/redeemed the honor of man./Their suffering and heroism are forever branded upon/our conscience and shall be remembered/from generation to generation. Presented to/the City of Philadelphia/by/the Association of Jewish/New Americans/in cooperation with/the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia/April 26, 1964. Remember (Hebrew lettering)/Drancy/Flossenberg/Gross-Rosen/Klooga/Lwon-Janowska/Majdanek/Mauthausen/Neuengamme/Auschwitz/Babi-Yar/Belzec/Bergen-Belsen/Breendonck/Buchenwald/Chelmno/Dauchau/Ponary/Ravens-Treblinkon/Westerbork 1933-1945.” Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
7. West Philadelphia Tailor shop c. 1900. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
8. Sanctuary of Rodeph Shalom, Philadelphia, PA. Congregation Rodeph Shalom founded in 1795 is the first Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere. Because the congregation chose to follow the German/Dutch order of prayer, in 1812 it was chartered by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as the “Hebrew German Society (Rodeph Shalom).” Although the synagogue has been at its present location since 1871, the current building was erected in 1928. Inspired by the great Synagogue of Florence, Italy, it is one of the only synagogues in the United States that retains the Byzantine-Moorish style. The building was designed by the firm of Simon and Simon; the stained glass, hand-stenciled walls, star burst dome light by the D’Ascenzo Studio. The Ark in the Sanctuary is Italian marble and the Ark doors, made of Italian bronze, weigh 1,000 pounds each. In the Ark are six Torah scrolls, the smallest of which was rescued during the Holocaust from Brno, a small town in the Czech Republic and given to Rodeph Shalom as a gift from Rabbi Wice upon his retirement in 1981. Courtesy of Rodeph Shalom.
9. Anti Nazi demonstration in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall just prior to America’s entry into World War II circa 1933. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
10. April, 1979 - Soviet Jewry Protest in front of the Soviet Jewry Freedom Van at the Liberty Bell. The Freedom Van was in interfaith program. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
11. Salomon, Haym. Sketch (bust) by C. Noar. Salomon played an important role as a broker, selling government securities, helping to supply the Continental army with food and equipment, and providing loans, often interest free, to members of the Continental Congress. His skill at finance and his reputation for honesty and reliability made these transactions possible. He died at age 44, penniless, not ever having been paid back for his loans. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. In the public domain.
12. Gratz College Graduation 1918. Founded in 1895, Gratz College began as a Hebrew Teachers’ College. Currently it is a general college of Jewish studies offering coursework to aspiring Jewish educators, communal professionals, lay people and others seeking to become more knowledgeable in Jewish studies. Courtesy of Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center in Urban Archives of Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
13. Soviet Jewry Demonstration, the Simhat Torah Rally at City Hall. c. late 1970s. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
14. The Alfred W. Fleisher Memorial Synagogue was almost certainly the first built in an American prison. It is located in Eastern State Penitentiary, which resides in the central business district of Philadelphia, PA. The synagogue, completed around 1924 and used continuously until the penitentiary closed in 1970, had fallen into near total ruin after the penitentiary’s abandonment. The synagogue is shown as it looked c. 1996 photographed by the Historic American Building Society. The benches and floor are covered with six inches of soggy white muck which were the remains of the once-ornate plaster ceiling. Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary. Photographer: uncredited.
15. The restored Alfred W. Fleisher Memorial Synagogue in the Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA. The synagogue marks the first truly restored space in the Eastern State Penitentiary, faithfully restored to its appearance in 1960, with dark wooden benches surrounding the room, a beautiful ark, Reader’s Table, ornate plaster Star of David, and an eternal flame. In May 2009, Eastern State and the conservation team received a Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for the synagogue restoration project. Courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary. Photographer Andrew Fearon.
16. Zionist Rally in Reyburn Plaza Protest 1947. Over 5,000 Philadelphians protested at City Hall’s Reyburn Plaza on July 20, 1947 against British brutality in the Exodus incident. The British had rammed the ship near Palestine, engaged the 4500 passengers, mostly Holocaust survivors, in a bloody battle and deported them to Hamburg, Germany rather than letting them land in Palestine. In addition, to protesting in support of the right of Jewish survivors to immigrate to a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the rally also memorialized William Bernstein, an American killed in the boarding battle. The rally was sponsored by the Zionist Emergency Council and supported by other Zionist organizations in the city. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
17. Portrait of Isaac Leeser. Isaac Leeser (1806-1868) became the hazan of Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia in 1829. Lesser spent his life working to unite Jews in the US. He used some English in his services, introduced sermons in his services, published and authored textbooks for children on Judaism and Hebrew instruction for the Philadelphia Sunday school program, organized the Hebrew Education Society of Philadelphia to promote day-school education, and founded the Maimonides College, the first rabbinical seminary in America. Leeser also produced English and Hebrew versions of the prayer books and an English translation of the Bible, the first by a Jew in America. In 1843 he began editing the first successful English-language Jewish magazine, The Occident and two years later organized the first Jewish Publication Society. He was well known for speaking around the country and published 10 volumes of his sermons. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. In the public domain.
18. Simhat Torah rally for Soviet Jews — October 17, 1970. Over 5,000 people marched from the Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs to the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps for a rally to show solidarity with Soviet Jews. They carried blazing torches and banners to free Soviet Jews. It was the largest of over 50 similar rallies held across the U.S. that night. The rallies coincided with celebrations by thousands of Soviet Jewish youth in front of synagogues in major USSR cities. On the Art Museum steps the marchers heard a letter from Efim Spivakosky, a Soviet Jewish refusnik, written to UN Secretary—General U Thant, asking for help with emigration to Israel. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
19. Jewish Shops on Fourth and Monroe Streets, Philadelphia, PA. In the first half of the twentieth century, South Fourth Street was a bustling marketplace, a lifeline that ran through the immigrant Jewish community, from Lombard Street to Washington Avenue. Besides dry goods and fabric businesses, it included dozens of kosher butcher shops, fish stores, and dairy stores, plus hundreds of pushcarts selling fruit and vegetables. It is still known for its wholesale fabric stores one hundred years later.
"Our neighborhood includes ... Fourth Street, Philadelphia's closest approach to New York's lower East Side, where we have the pushcarts, crowded streets and pavements, the open air display of calico, candy, pickles and fish for sale...." 1914-15 Annual Report of the Neighborhood Center, the settlement house at 422-28 Bainbridge Street. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
20. Soviet Jewry Rally down Ben Franklin Parkway — the Art Museum is in the background, December 17, 1979. In New York on the same day the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (SSSJ) held a similar Chanukah “Flames of Freedom” rally. Courtesy of the Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA.
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