When Zionism first touched the imagination of the American Jews and evoked in them the desire to transmute the ancient, never-forgotten dream of the Homeland into a glorious reality, the response of the women was as warm, as sincere, andâ€”we are glad to sayâ€”as effective as the response of their husbands, brothers and fathers. Immediately these women, imbued with the ancient traditional ideals of Israel, loving Palestine not only with a national but with a religious fervor, organized themselves into groups to do practical work for the upbuilding of the Homeland in a traditional Orthodox spirit.
These groups did fine work, but scattered as they were throughout the country, each group working for itself alone, the results were although laudable yet not impressive. All this was changed when in 1925 at the Cleveland Convention of the American Mizrachi the Mizrachi Women’s Organization of America was founded. The scattered groups then became part of one truly effective unit; the old enthusiasm was retained and a new efficiency was added. Soon the splendid results showed that this new organization performed a really vital work of far-reaching importance.
GIRLS’ SCHOOL THEIR AIM
The Mizrachi women give much of their time and effort to the Jewish National Fund, but the work nearest to their heart, the work that beautifully expresses their main purpose of training religious young women for the task of upbuilding the Homeland in a traditional spirit, is the Technical School and Cultural Center for Girls in Jerusalem. Known as the Beth Zeiroth Mizrachi, this school constitutes the first of a number of such schools that the members of the Mizrachi Women’s Organization intend to establish in Palestine.
That a school which trains the religious-minded young woman in practical trades, domestic sciences and agricultural pursuits is at all times doing important work need not be stressed, but it may well be pointed out that this importance is now doubled and trebled since Palestine is experiencing a great influx of Jews, particularly from Germany.
These young immigrants all come with the best of will and with high ideals, but only too often without much – needed practical training. The Beth Zeiroth Mizrachi provides this training while still preserving all the religious ideals that make out of Palestine the Holy Land. Sewing, laundry work, dressmaking, poultry raising and gardening are taught, and the young girls are fitted to occupy a responsible place in the activities of the community, and to find in well-done work personal success and spiritual satisfaction.
SOCIAL CENTER, TOO
For those girls who find a position on their arrival the school maintains special extension courses in practical and academic subjects and serves also as a social and intellectual center, teaching them that joy and youthful high spirits are by no means incompatible with a sincere religious Orthodoxy. It shows them that the harsh ascetism of the Puritans is alien to the Jewish religious ideal, and that an Orthodox home can be, nay, must be, a home of inward and outward happiness.
The Mizrachi Women’s Organization comprises forty-eight chapters in the largest cities throughout the United States. In Greater New York chapters are located in Yorkville, the West Side of Manhattan, Eastern Parkway, Prospect Park, Flatbush, Boro Park, Bensonhurst, Williamsburgh, Mount Vernon and Far Rockaway.
Officers of the organization are Mrs. Adela Goldstein, honorary president; Mrs. Abraham Shapiro, president; Mmes. A. Weintraub, L. Isaacson, R. W. Sundelson, L. Hechter, and M. Golub, vice-presidents; Mrs. B. H. Schnur, treasurer; Mrs. B. J. Goldstein, honorary secretary; and Mrs. Sarah Fisher, financial secretary.