Guide to the Photographs of the Hebrew Institute of Pittsburgh 1915-1984

Rauh Jewish Archives

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Photographs of the Hebrew Institute of Pittsburgh
Creator
Hebrew Institute
Collection Number
MSP 512
Date [inclusive]
1915-1984
Extent
.25 linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The photograph collection of the Hebrew Institute includes images from 1915 to 1984. The bulk of the photographs depict students in classroom settings and graduation classes. A portion of the Hebrew Institute Photographs have been digitized and are accessible online.

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History

The Hebrew Institute was founded in response to the lack of organization and supervision of Jewish education in the Pittsburgh area. The purpose of the Hebrew Institute was to make Jewish education a factor in youths' lives by teaching the Hebrew language and literature and by fostering knowledge of Jewish history and ethics. It was the vision of Rabbi A. M. Ashinsky to establish a modern "Talmud Torah." He first presented this idea at a community committee meeting at the Washington Bank Building on September 3, 1911. Ten days later, a second meeting was held at his residence. During this meeting, a vote was taken to name the Jewish educational institution the Hebrew Institute.

After gaining support and financial assistance from the community, on November 7, 1916, the Hebrew Institute of Pittsburgh opened its doors in a new building on Wylie Avenue and Green Street in the Hill District, where Pittsburgh's Jewish immigrant population was centered at the time. The Hebrew Institute offered a kindergarten, elementary school, a student synagogue, library, printing department, sewing classes for girls and also offered evening classes. In addition to classrooms, the building housed a game room and playground. The Hebrew Institute quickly became a center for Jewish community activities.

In the next few years after opening, the Hebrew Institute responded to the gradual demographic shift of Pittsburgh's Jewish population to the East End. In order to accomodate the needs of the growing Jewish community in Squirrel Hill, in 1919, the Hebrew Institute began to use two rooms in the Colfax School for classes. In 1921, the school began to provide transportation for the 795 students enrolled. The teachers from the Hebrew Institute also taught classes that became part of Beth Shalom's Hebrew School. The Hebrew Institute also assisted in organizing affiliate schools such as B'nai Israel Hebrew Institute and the Tree of Life Hebrew School.

In 1923, the Hebrew Institute added the Sol Rosenbloom Teachers' Training School and a high school, later to be known as the Louis I. Aaron Hebrew High School, to its program. The Hebrew Institute became a member of the United Jewish Fund of Pittsburgh in 1937. In December 1943, the original building was sold and the Hebrew Institute relocated to a new building in May 1944 on Forbes and Denniston in Squirrel Hill.

By 1954, the Hebrew Institute was conducting the largest kindergarten and summer camp of its kind in the country. The elementary school was also one of the country's largest. The entire program for the Hebrew Institute was used as a model for similiar educational institutions.

In 1991 the Hebrew Institute, Community Day School, and the School of Advanced Jewish Studies merges to form the Jewish Educational Institute of Greater Pittsburgh.

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Scope and Content Notes

The photographs of the Hebrew Institute are housed in one archival box and are arranged in chronological order by each folder and within each folder. Three of the folders are from the Hebrew Institute and the fourth folder contains photographs from Solomon Schechter Day School. The photographs range in date from 1915, the laying of the cornerstone, to 1984. Many of the photographs show classes of the students or graduation classes posed on the grounds of the Hebrew Institute with descriptions and identifying labels and dates. A notable photograph dated 1921 depicts the Hebrew Institute's first school bus. A portion of the Hebrew Institute Photographs have been digitized and are accessible online at online.

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Arrangement

  • The photographs of the Hebrew Institute are housed in one archival box and are arranged in chronological order by each folder and within each folder.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Rauh Jewish Archives Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania  Senator John Heinz History Center, May 2009

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Restrictions on Access

No Restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Acquisition Information

Accession PFF#39.

Gift of Meyer Grinberg of the Jewish Education Institute on October 31, 2000.

Gift of Muriel Guttman on July 6,1998.

Gift of Elaine Reimer Joseph on June 5, 2000.

Gift of Sheri Sable on June 15, 2004.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Theresa E. Rea in February 17, 2009.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

One oversized photograph of the Hebrew Institute Class of 1920 has been separated and described as MSR#512. The names of many of the students are indicated.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Hebrew Institute
  • Sol Rosenbloom Teachers' Training School
  • Louis I. Aaron Hebrew High School
  • Solomon Schechter Day School

Geographic Name(s)

  • Hill District, Pittsburgh (Pa.)
  • Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh (Pa.)
  • East End, Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Ashinsky, Aaron Mordechai, Rabbi
  • Rosenbloom, Sol

Subject(s)

  • Jews--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh
  • Jewish Education--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

  boxfolder
Hebrew Institute 1915-1946 1

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  folder
Hebrew Institute 1948-1962 2

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  folder
Hebrew Institute 1964-1984 3

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  folder
Solomon Schechter Day School 1981-1984 4

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