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J. D. B. News Letter

January 15, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Milton J. Rosenau, Charles Wilder Professor of Preventive Medicine at Harvard University, has assumed charge of a field corps which will work in five isolated towns in Massachusetts with a view of obtaining data on the spread of influenza, it was announced here by Harvard University.

This study, it is understood, is not primarily bacteriological, but it is epidememological. Dr. Rosenau has for a long time made studies on influenza but upon his return from Washington, where he took part in the national conference of leading physicians, he declared that observation of influenza cases show that the disease in no way resembles the severe “pneumonia” type of 1918-19. He admitted that the present spread of the “flu” is puzzling science.

Dr. Rosenauls sixtieth birthday was celebrated a few days ago here. He is the author of the Pan-American Sanitary Code and is former director of the Public Health Laboratories at Washington, D. C. He made the recent survey of sanitary and health conditions in Palestine as a member of the expert commission that was sent to Palestine. Dr. Rosenan is on of the prominent leaders of the Jewish community of Boston.

Five small communities will be put under observation by Dr. Rosenau, who with the expert corps of workers will get first hand information in order to obtain more light on the study of influenza.

The outcome of these studies is being awaited with great interest here and in other parts of the country. Dr. Rosenau stated that the present epidemic is only of a mild form.

The shifting of Jewish population and the adjustments to the newer social needs is a problem that Boston Jewry faces like other large Jewish centres. West End was at one time the focal point for a thriving Jewish life. All visitors to the historic Hub will recall the Jewish West End. Here it is estimated a Jewish population numbering over fifty thousand resided. It was from this small area that all that is of Jewish life in Boston today sprung Hebrew education, the teaching of Hebrew in (###) (###) was first started in the West End. From the West End the new system radiated not only to other sections in New England but to the larger cities in the United States. The birth of the Y. M. H. A. took place here. Not that the word Y. M. was discovered in the West End but that the growing need for adjustment of a large and active population required a home for the young, thus making the Boston or West End Y. M. H. A. one of the most effective.

What has taken place here is just (Continued on Page 4)

what has happened in other cities. The walls of the ghetto have crumbled. Jews began to enter the business life of the city and as they grew and prospered they left the West End. These residents built up new Jewish communities in Roxbury. Dorchester, Mattappan and now the tendency is to Brookline. So many Jews have come into the fashionable Brookline that the wealthier are moving further, to Newton. What has remained in the West End is the poorer classes and even they are moving to other parts of the city.

Jewish social workers are beginning to realize the new life and the need of adjustment. A Jewish social centre now established in the West End together with a Y. M. H. A. and several schools are proving to be overproductive for the limited number of Jews left there.

Conferences have been under way among the different social agencies to solve the problem and a survey is under way to determine the actual number of Jews now residing there.

What to do with the Y. M. H. A. building that has a large equity but located up on the hill where Jews in large numbers do not reside is another of the problems to be met. Those engaged in social work point out that the center maintained by the Federation of Jewish Charities also is meeting some difficult problems. Either the Jewish population is very small or else those that are still in the West End do not take the trouble to attend the activities planned by the workers in charge of the center.

The Hebrew schools are also faced with serious difficulties. The “Evrio” Hebrew school, the oldest school in the city, located in the West End, is now facing a crisis. While the late Henry Levenson was alive he did much to maintain the school. Those that were most interested in the financial operation of the school too are gone. The attendance in the school has dwindled and the teaching staff, which was the best in the city, too has left to accept more attractive and lucrative positions. The school is now threatened to be closed and the other schools likewise are having financial difficulties. While apathy and lack of interest exist among those that still reside in the West End, new buildings with high budgets are springing up in other parts of the city. There is expansion and growth in the other sections where former West End residents live. Many of those who for years labored in the West End and did much for its progress are now helping elsewhere.

While adequate data is being gathered, there is talk that a Jewish community center to supplant the present Y. M. H. A. will be erected. For five years now a discussion has taken place as to the advisability of selling the West End Y. M. H. A. and building a large Jewish center in the heart of the city. but no definite plans have yet been announced that this is to take place.

Social engineers have a difficult problem to cope with. While attention is being now given to this problem the community as a whole is not responding to the appeal of the local charitable agencies to the $900,000 drive. This united appeal has now been going on for a few weeks, but the quota asked for is far from being realized; $465,000 has been raised to date. Only 1,600 people have given to the drive and it is no secret that those in charge of the drive are a bit despondent because the response has not been more adequate. Boston has institutions like the new hospital that is a credit to the city, but unless the $450,000 still needed are obtained, the local Federation and Beth Israel Hospital will have difficult financial problems to meet. In the face of this situation it is hardly possible that the new Jewish Center proposed will get much consideration in the face of the immediate needs.

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