First 44 Students Graduate from Baerwald School of Social Work
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First 44 Students Graduate from Baerwald School of Social Work

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Bachelors’ degrees were received last night by the first 44 graduates of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at the Hebrew University. They are the first academically trained social workers in Israel.

The new social workers attended academic, professional and field work courses for three years at the school which was opened in November, 1958 under the joint sponsorship of the Hebrew University, the Joint Distribution Committee, the Israel Ministry of Social Welfare and the Municipality of Tel Aviv.

The school was named for the American Jewish philanthropist, who died last month at the age of 89. It was established with an allocation of $500, 000 as an integral part of the University. An earlier Paul Baerwald School of Social Work was established by the JDC near Paris after the war. That school, which trained European social workers for service in their communities, was closed in 1954. Mr. Baerwald was a founder of the JDC.

Prof. Giulio Racah, Hebrew University Rector, presided at the graduation ceremonies. Other speakers included Dr. Yosef Burg, Minister of Social Welfare, Moses A. Leavitt, executive vice-chairman of the JDC, Miss Patricia; Falk, a granddaughter of Mr. Baerwald and Dr. Eileen Blackey, American director of the school.

More than 120 jobs are awaiting the school’s first graduates, who include ten young men — two of them members of the country’s Arab minority. A large number of agencies and government departments have approached the graduates, including the probation and prison services, the Health Ministry’s divisions of mental health and chronic diseases, the National Insurance Institute, the Defense Ministry’s rehabilitation services; hospitals, child welfare and school social services, and the Education Ministry’s Youth Department, which has developed an ambitious program to staff its after-school-hours youth centers with trained social workers. Many vacancies also exist in family welfare services of municipalities and local councils.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund