Pride of Judea Children’s Home
The Forward is one of 57 libraries, museums and city agencies, contributing to a new app called Urban Archive, helping make historical materials engaging and accessible. This summer, we were inspired by this photo from the Pride of Judea Children’s Home residents on their way to their summer beach home. We dove into the home’s history and the benefactors that made it possible for its disadvantaged kids have fun every summer. For more, check out our Urban Archive collection.
Pride of Judea Children’s Home was a Jewish Brooklyn orphanage in operation from 1923 until 1958.
This July 1953 Forward image, taken five years before the home closed, shows some of the residents boarding a bus for their annual summer vacation at the institution’s seashore home at Long Beach, Long Island. At right is Lina Gurian Blumberg, honorary home president and widow of the founder of the home, Max Blumberg, who saw the youngsters off in a bus caravan.
An early fundraising announcement published in The Forward in 1920, in which they sought to raise $100,000 towards a building fund, lists their address as 512 Sutter Avenue, Brooklyn. The Forward frequently reported on news and events at Pride of Judea orphanage, including in 1931, when they published Gertrude Krohn’s portrait; Ms. Krohn had recently won a beauty contest at Pride of Judea Orphans’ Home.
In 1940, the Forward published the photograph of sixteen of the home’s bar mitzvah-aged boys, who were feted at the grand ballroom of Brooklyn’s Hotel St. George with a dinner dance.
The home also celebrated the girls’ bat mitzvahs at the St. George. “They wined and dined the seven of us,” former resident Linda Gould told the Jewish Standard in a 2006 interview, “and gave us pink dresses, gloves and gold shoes.”
Gould remembered her days at Pride of Judea, calling her caregivers “caring but strict.” She credited the home with making her into the person she is today. “It also taught me to look at life as a smorgasbord,” she said, “with the glass half-full, not half-empty.”
Over its 35 years of service, the home served hundreds of children who were either orphaned or whose parents were unable to care for them. In 1943, benefactor Martin Scharf donated two homes in Long Beach which would become the children’s summer residence.
Before they moved to the Long Beach residence, a 1933 summer beach trip turned to tragedy when five of the children drowned. The Forward reported that a huge wave struck, pulling the kids out of their depth, and that over 5,000 people packed the streets near the home in order to attend the children’s funerals. They were buried in Mount Lebanon Cemetery.
While living at the home, residents attended nearby P.S. 202, located at 982 Hegeman Avenue, during the school year. The school is still in operation today.
In 1958, Pride of Judea, closed its children’s home and began focusing on its other social services, including mental healthcare. In 1972, the organization relocated to Douglaston, Queens. In 2001, it was renamed Pride of Judea Community Services. It is still serving the community.
As of 2006, alumni of Pride of Judea still met regularly to reminisce about their time at the home.