The ORTHODOX JEWISH CHILDREN'S HOME was chartered in May 1919 and opened in Aug. 1920 as the Orthodox Jewish Orphan Asylum, following 2 years of discussion and fundraising. It was created as an alternative to the Jewish Orphan Home, directed by a Reform rabbi and a predominantly Reform Board of Trustees. The Orthodox home purported to raise children in an "Orthodox Jewish spirit," to teach "Jewish trades and culture," and to place orphans with Orthodox families.
The first facility at 2264 E. 55th St. accommodated 11 orphans, but was too small for the 28 residents within 3 years. In 1923 a larger building was purchased at 879 Parkwood Dr. in GLENVILLE. By the end of the decade, the home cared for 50 orphans. Although a mid-1920s report on community institutions criticized the existence of 2 Jewish orphanages, the Federation of Jewish Charities chose to fund this home. Federation affiliation (1926) and Community Fund support allowed the home to hire a superintendent (1928), begin casework, and erect a new wing. The home's license was revoked 21 Nov. 1932 because of disorganization and poor care; it was reinstated 28 Sept. 1933. A social service department was organized in 1934.
In the late 1930s, the home began to include troubled children whose parents could not care for them; it changed its name to the Orthodox Jewish Children's Home in 1945. Selling its Parkwood property to the Chebath Jerusalem congregation, the home moved to the grounds of BELLEFAIRE in 1946 and arranged for the JEWISH CHILDREN'S BUREAU to provide psychiatric and social-work services. The home closed as an independent entity in Sept. 1957 and became the Orthodox Jewish Children's Assn., a Jewish Children's Bureau affiliate. It then purchased 5 houses for Orthodox group foster homes.
Finding aid for the Jewish Community Federation Records, WRHS.
Finding aid for the Jewish Orphan Home Alumni Association Records, WRHS.
See also JEWS AND JUDAISM, ORPHANAGES.