The Fruits of Her Hands: Jewish Women and Social Welfare, 1819-1920
Introduction Religion Orphans Health Care Settlements Music
Kindergarten Class, circa 1900
On February 5, 1885, Miss Fanny Binswanger (later Mrs. Charles Hoffman) met with thirty other concerned women from her synagogue, Mikveh Israel, to establish a Jewish kindergarten aimed at easing the transition for immigrant children to their new country. Fanny Binswanger took on the role of President and kindergarten teacher assisted by Tinie Feustman, Vice President; Martha Goldstein, Corresponding Secretary; Clara Ostheim, Recording Secretary; and Amelia Allen, Treasurer. Ellen and Emily Phillips, veteran social welfare campaigners, were among the first to offer financial support for the kindergarten. It opened on March 1, 1885 at 238 Pine Street with fifteen children. The mission of these women focused on "making the children good American citizens by imbuing them with the best American ideals." In addition to English language instruction and citizen ship, the kindergarten also provided children with lunches, clothing, and medical
 care. Teachers took a personal interest in their students and frequently visited their homes and parents.
Cooking Class, circa 1900
The Young Women's Union soon developed into a full fledged Settlement House. Additional services and increased enrollment forced the Union to move into larger facilities at 422-28 Bainbridge Street. A household school opened in 1886 under the guidance of Amelia Allen, for young girls between the ages of ten and thirteen. It provided instruction in home economics, sewing, millinary, mantua making and typing. In 1888 evening classes for working girls were added under the instruction of Mary Cohen, who taught English, reading, and arithmetic. A small library opened in 1889 under the direction of Katherine Cohen. By the time the Young Women's Union became the Neighborhood Centre of Philadelphia in 1918, other programs had been established such as organized outings in the country for city children, a day nursery for working mothers, a credit union, a vacation home for working girls,
and a Juvenile Aid Committee which addressed the problems of delinquent children.