Many women from both Central and Eastern European Jewish backgrounds played roles in Boston's emerging Jewish areas in the late 19th and early
These eight Jewish women, in particular, are worth noting for their tzedakah, doing good deeds:
Lina Hecht was a Jewish philanthropist extraordinaire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most 20th century
Jewish Bostonians had heard of her name because of her founding of Hecht House, a precursor of a Jewish Community Center, in this case originally for young girls.
Her tzedakah included contribution of both money and time - from re-creation of Boston's Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society, to financial assistance for the B'not Israel
Sheltering Home (a temporary room and board facility for arriving immigrants), to publication and promotion of Mary Antin's 1st book, "From Polotsk to Boston."
Along with her husband, Jacob Hecht, she extensively was involved in Temple (Adath) Israel, one of Boston's earliest synagogues, as well as in Boston's 1st Jewish
federation of philanthropic organizations. She and her husband also benefited Louis Dembitz Brandeis' career, particularly by means of their introduction of him to
Jewish Boston businessmen. For many years the Hechts maintained a home on Commonwealth Avenue where they held Sunday afternoon teas. Later, they moved
to the Hotel Victoria where Lina resided for 17 years after Jacob's death. Her Hecht Houses survived for 3/4s of a century, re-establishing themselves into new
areas of Jewish residences.
With Lina Hecht as producer of Hecht House, Golde Bamber was its 1st director, serving young Jewish
women for decades. Golde, born in 1869 in Waltham, MA, attended Boston University before devoting her adult life as a social worker, primarily for daughters of
Eastern European Jewish immigrants. She has been called Boston's version of New York's Lillian Wald or London's Lily Montagu. She grew Hecht House into a
multiplicity of programs and sites in Boston's North and West Ends from the last decade of the 19th century through the 1st 2 decades of the 20th
When Jews recognized their needs for a hospital which particularly served some of their particular
requirements such as Kosher food and Yiddish speaking physicians, Lottie Feibelman stepped in to organize Jewish women in support of such an institution. From
1906 to 1916, Lottie was president of the Ladies Auxiliary of Boston's Mount Sinai Hospital Outpatient Clinic, a precursor of Beth Israel Hospital. Under Lottie's
leadership, approximately 350 Jewish women raised monies, initially for medical instruments, linens, and general medicinal purposes, and, later, for research, social
services, and a building fund. While the buildings of Mount Sinai Outpatient Clinic no longer exist, its sites were on the now defunct Chambers Street as well as
on Staniford Street.
Alice Goldmark Brandeis
It probably was inevitable that Alice become a political activist of her day. Her sister Josephine was
an outspoken women's rights advocate. Her husband was a leading attorney who also advocated for women's rights. In her advocacy, Alice particularly promoted
pacifism, women's right to vote, and women's labor rights. At her and her husband's homes near Beacon Hill, she hosted many informal discussions with other
leading political activists such as Mary Kenney O' Sullivan and Elizabeth Glendower Evans.
Therese Weil Filene
Therese, wife of Lincoln Filene (one of the two principal executives of Filene's), particularly contributed to
Boston life with her music skills. She taught music in Boston's Civic Service Center, a settlement house for adult immigrants in Boston's North End which was
funded by Pauline Agassiz Shaw and initially run by two young Jewish social workers, Meyer Bloomfield (her cousin) and Philip Davis. She also started her own
music-oriented settlement house in Boston's South End.
The Hyams sisters
Sarah and Isabel Hyams began and ran their own settlement house for immigrants in Boston's South End,
the Louisa May Alcott Settlement House. As sisters and beneficiaries of their brother Godfrey's estate, they later added their estate to his to create The Hyams
Foundation, a charitable foundation which still operates in Boston today.
Jennie Loitman Barron
Jennie's life exemplified the emergence of Jewish women into the legal profession. By 1914, Jennie had
earned a university bachelors degree, a law degree, and a masters of law degree. As a daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, she had grown up in
Boston's West End, living on such now defunct streets as Barton and Allen. She located her law office on Pemberton Way and then became an organizer of Boston
University's Equal Suffrage League, an activist in the League of Women Voters, and the 1st female associate justice of the Massachusetts Superior