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Ancient Questions Posed

Apr 8, 2009 10:18 AM | 0 comments

 SWEL 0570

Among the Brooklyn Daily Eagle photographs that are now a part of the Library's Brooklyn Collection, are hundreds of images of Brooklyn's orphanages. Changes in social welfare policies have closed the doors of these places, but we here are fully aware of their past existence--in fact, a couple of times a year you can bet on an alumnus of one orphanage or another calling to ask for information about or pictures of their old home.  Some of the sweetest images come from the Pride of Judea Home, established as a Jewish orphanage on Dumont Avenue and Elton Street in 1915. Home to about 3000 children over the years, in 1959 it became a child guidance center, and after being annexed by the Board of Education in the mid-1960s, it became a school. Its current incarnation is as a Mental Health Center in Flushing, Queens.

In the case of Pride of Judea, we have not only photographs but also a memoir, An Orphan Has Many Parents, to help people revisit their memories. Of Rabbi Jacob Cohen, pictured above, the authors write:  "Jacob Cohen...made no bones about carrying on [the] high priority of getting the very best people to care for their charges with love and firmness...That this policy eloquent testimony to the uniqueness of the Pride of Judea Home, and that is why it was able to play such a positive role in all of our lives."

A happy Passover to all.