Fargo’s Hebrew Ladies Aid Society

The Hebrew Ladies Aid Society was founded on August 13, 1904.[1]  It was created in order to help the people of the Jewish community and fulfill the responsibility to the Jewish community.  They helped the community by financing the community businesses, educate the children, and perform other acts of civil service.  Below is Linda Mack Schloff’s recount of their purpose.

Rochele Gela Mann recalled the efforts of the Fargo, North Dakota, Hebrew Ladies Aid Society – what she called the Jewish Women’s Aid Society – at the turn of the century.

‘A Jewish Women’s Aid Society was formed.  They met in each others’ homes.  Their aims were to assist Jews who were in need of financial assistance or loans for a horse, money to buy goods to peddle, to start a new business ect.  This was all done with no interest charged.

A converted Jewess from Sweden was the secretary of the society.  Mrs. Ackerman brought [to] the attention [of] the society that they were in need of a Sunday School for Jewish education of the children.  A teacher was hired.  Being in need of a place to learn, this caused a collection of monies and a synagogue was built.  Then a library was needed so the society gave two Sholom Aleichem plays.  After the first play was given in a local theatre, the gentile community loved it and asked that they repeat a second play.  Bibles and books were then purchased.  Mother[,] who was 4 months pregnant with me, was teased as she acted out her role in the plays’. (Linda Mack Schloff, 1996)[2]

Heather Brinkman, Digital History 2012

[1] “American Jewish Year Book.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.        <http://books.google.com/books?id=0LUyAAAAMAAJ>.

[2] Schloff, Linda Mack. And Prairie Dogs Weren’t Kosher: Jewish Women in the Upper Midwest since 1855.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1996. Print.

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