First African American Hebrew School Grad

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.

In December 1933, 15-year-old Verlette Valentine, class valedictorian at Institutional Synagogue of New York, was featured in the Forverts as the first African American to graduate from a Hebrew school. At the time, Valentine reportedly said she was interested in pursuing further study at Yeshiva College (today’s Yeshiva University). Institutional Synagogue was founded in Harlem in 1917 and remained in existence until 1943. In 1928, a branch opened on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and is currently known as West Side Institutional Synagogue.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

First African American Hebrew School Grad

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close
Close