The JEWISH DAY NURSERY was established 20 Apr. 1920 (opened 8 May 1922) by 15 women from the Woodland Ave. neighborhood. Gussie (Mrs. Harry) Teitelman and Rose (Mrs. Sam) Brofman created the nursery to care for the children of working, indigent, and sick parents, children of broken homes, and orphans. Charter members paid an initial $1 and dues of $.15 per month. Within 2 weeks, the Cleveland Jewish Day Nursery Assn. had 200 members. In Nov. 1921 the officers of the yet-unopened nursery hired Jeanette Sheifer, director of New York City's Hebrew Day Nursery, as Cleveland's director/superintendent (1921-46). The nursery purchased a house at 5807 Hawthorne Ave. (near E. 55th St.) but was unable to open without a license from the state Department of Public Welfare. In Mar. 1922 the nursery received permission to operate, conditional upon agreeing to affiliate with the CLEVELAND DAY NURSERY AND FREE KINDERGARTEN ASSN., to investigate families, and to serve only Orthodox Jews (this restriction was later eliminated). Opening with 8 children, by the end of the first year the nursery had 81 applications. Daily tuition for children aged 1-13 was $.10-$.50, based on need. The Jewish Social Service Bureau investigated applicants, and MT. SINAI HOSPITAL provided medical care and daily health inspections. In June 1927 the Jewish Day Nursery moved to 642 E. 102nd St., at St. Clair, and, later purchased an adjacent house, providing room for 50 children. By the 1940s the nursery served about 30 children per month.
In Oct. 1945 the Jewish Day Nursery affiliated with the JEWISH CHILDREN'S BUREAU, now the policymaking entity. It implemented a social-work component and changed the age range to 2-to-5-year-olds. In 1951 the nursery hired its first professional director. Selling its property, it took up temporary residence at BELLEFAIRE in 1956. After 5 years, a $200,000 nursery building was constructed there. During the 1950s, the Jewish Day Nursery provided child care and aided immigrants, serving as a training center for Western Reserve Univ.'s School of Social Science. In the 1960s services expanded to 6-year-olds and included a kindergarten, off-site family daycare homes, and medical, dental, psychiatric, speech, and hearing therapy.
In 1995 a full-day and half-day preschool program was offered for 3 to 5 year olds as well as full day kindergarten. Capacity enrollment for all programs was 80 children. In addition, 47 infants and toddlers were cared for in 15 private family child care homes. Susan Ratner and Bernadette LaGuardia served as co-directors in 1995.
See also CHILD CARE.