The History of The Federation

Mrs. Jacob M. Moses

Mrs. Emil Crockin

Mrs. Sydney M. Cone

Mrs. Milton Gundersheimer

Mrs. Henry Oppenheimer

Mrs. Morris S. Lazaron

Mrs. Jacob Blaustein

Mrs. Adolf Guttmacher

Mrs. Israel Shapiro

Mrs. Robert Frank Skutch

Mrs. Myer Strauss

Mrs. Simon Sobeloff

Mrs. B.J.Filtzer

Mrs. Hugo Dalsheimer

Mrs. Elsie Herman

Mrs. Abraham Watner

Mrs. Jacob Dashew

Mrs. Gustav Leibowitz

Mrs. Morris Rothholz

Mrs. J. Benjamin Katzner

Mrs. Samuel J. Colliver

Mrs. William Greenfeld

Mrs. I Harold Hammerman

E.B.. Hirsh

Shoshana S. Cardin

Sarah K. Harris

Marion Halperin

Ida Glass

Lillian. Forman

Mona Wood

Bernice Sakols

Joyce Ottenheimer

Ruth Denick

Janice Gold

Gerry Berman

Shirley Goodman

Hilda W. Hillman

Sophie Stolberg

Harriet B. Shemer

Annafaye Joffe

Cathy Glassman

Arlene Mazer

Carol J. Caplan

Jane Davis

Eve Vogelstein

Elissa Ness

Lynda S. Weinstein
Harriet. L. Meier, M.D.
Sheila K. Derman
Helene Waranch

Linda Boteach
Marcia Bornfriend
CeCe Rund



World War 1 in Europe...liberty bonds, tanks, aircraft... Russian revolution...U.S. enters: "over there"...George M. Cohan... Greta Garbo... Babe Ruth....flu epidemic...women's suffrage… child labor... Brandeis to supreme court...the jazz…"moving" pictures... immigration quotas, refugees... scopes trial... Rudolph Valentino..."yes we have no bananas"… Remember?

     In 1916, Baltimore had many Jewish Women's Organizations with various objectives. These objectives ranged from feeding and sewing for the needy, conducting religious services and religious classes for children. A small group of women under the leadership of Mrs. Jacob Moses realized the mutual benefits of cooperation and exchange. Under this premise, she invited a number of organizations to join a Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations. Twenty-nine organizations responded to the call, and in 1916, The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland was established. Since World War I was then in progress, the first projects were geared to participation in government activities and war relief.
     With peace in 1918, the Federation turned toward community interests, education, and world wide Jewish concerns. Women were involved in the suffrage movement, legislative issues and veterans and refugee affairs. The women's suffrage act was passed and the Agencies of the "Uptown Jews " (The Federated Jewish Charities), and the " Downtown Jews" The United Hebrew Charities), amalgamated to form the Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore; Lewis H. Levin, secretary of the Federated Group became the first director of the Associated. This was the beginning of a unified Jewish community.
     In 1923, The Federation decided to publish an annual calendar for its members to prevent conflicts and overlapping of dates; a printed copy was mailed to each constituent.  In 1924, The Federation helped to found a community center for young Jewish women, the "Y.W.H.A" (Young Women's Hebrew Association).  This was a forerunner of the JCC.  By the end of the first decade of existence, Federation had grown to forty-one member organizations and had firmly established the need for a clearing house to which all Jewish women's organizations could come together for the exchange of ideas and information and to encourage cooperative efforts.

lindbergh flight to paris...hitler's rise to power...nazism...calvin jolson...the roaring twenties...the great depression....valentine's day massacre...f.d.r's new deal...theodore thursday…alphabet agengies...displaced security act....a farewell to arms....knute rockne...prohibition repealed…"talking" picture...anti-semitism….Remember?

     This decade presented Federation with its most stressful and difficult period. The transition from the roaring 20s to the "great depression" resulted in chaos. Families faced dislocation, massive unemployment, and some even the haunting specter of possible starvation. This was further complicated by world-wide depression and a rise of the dreaded Nazis. Vital Jewish issues and needs were brought to the attention of the Jewish constituents as Federation remained the sole organization that represented all Jewish women, orthodox, conservative, reform. The Federation presented common ground in which a spirit of cooperation and concern was expressed. Difficult choices were the only ones available. Settlement of displaced persons and refugees became a primary focus of Federation. The immigration of large numbers of European Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany would have presented a large problem in any time; but compounded by the great depression, the immigration presented an enormous challenge. People who were members to this organization in the past, found themselves unemployed, homeless, bankrupt and in need of help. There were many lifestyle changes: extended families moved in together and lived in housing that could barely accommodate them.
     Realizing the need for organizational education, a Parliamentary Procedure course was instituted as a regular service of Federation, and a Central Volunteer Bureau was established to furnish the social agencies of Baltimore with volunteers as aides to the professional workers. The sponsorship of the Bezalel Memorial Exhibit of the National Art Academy of Jerusalem was an outstanding community event in the early thirties.  Pursuit of matters educational, legislative and communal remained the core of Federation activities.

Wallace Warfield Simpson... Hindenburg Disaster... Germany rearms... Joe DiMaggio... Benny Goodman... polio...antibiotics… U.S.O...D-Day....gone with the Xind... G.I. Bill... Dunkirk...U.N. Charter... Winston Churchill... jitterbugging... Pearl Harbor... god bless America … Hiroshima...... crematoria... Remember?

     Early in this decade, mention was made of the importance of organizational records, and this resulted in the appointment of an historian. Federation continued to publish its annual central calendar by adding Jewish holidays. This calendar became an easy reference guide for both the Jewish and general communities.
Federation continued to respond in a united voice against European anti-semitism and the genocide of Nazism. The year 1938 marked the first informal October Presidents' Council for our constituents.  The arrival of refugees from Nazism was of great concern.   Federation women power was intimately involved in the complete process from welcoming the arrival of European refugees to their settlement.
     This was a war unlike any other, as Nazism attempted to achieve "the final solution" - to destroy all Jews in their conquered areas. The women of the Federation responded brilliantly. The women helped with the usual tasks of war including acting as volunteers in all fronts, acting as medical aides, rolling bandages, knitting for the soldiers, selling war bonds and stamps, working in blood banks, spotting for airplanes, helping with the organizing efforts for the USO, Red Cross, Grey Ladies, and Civil Defense. The women also substituted for men in all occupations including manual labor where they held their own or even surpassed the men's efforts. The Federation women even helped organizations such as the YW and YMCA. They also staffed drop-in centers for servicemen, sponsoring dances and refreshments, and helped to furnish 33 rooms at Fort Meade and several others in Aberdeen.
     Fortunately, the insanity of this war finally ended with the destruction of both Nazism and Japanese expansionism. Their new jobs and positions of authority transformed the Jewish women in many ways. The strength of character that these women possessed, allowed them to hold their families together during this terrible war and continued to exert their influence with the healing so desperately needed after this savage conflict. Federation women have continued in this mold up to the present day and have continued to serve the needs of Jewish communities locally, nationally and internationally.

Marshall Plan... Red China... Israel's independence, Arab threats......instant news...national highway system...Kinsey...suburbia, urban renewal...Germany divided...Berlin blockade… Senator McCarthy.... Brown vs. Board of education... Jackie Robinson...television...the exodus... Taft-Hartley... Berlin airlift...United Nations… Romper Room... Korea...cold war... MacArthur... integration.... Ike... flower drum song...Howdy Doody… Rosa Parks... Remember?

     With the formation of the United Nations, Federation pledged support and turned to pursuits of peace. With Israel's independence, Federation's constituents and their members had many opportunities for involvement in worthwhile causes. One project was SOS, supplies for overseas survivors – the collection and shipping of needed goods, clothing and household items.
     The first book given by a Jewish women's organization in the United States to the newly formed Brandeis University, was the gift of our Federation. A national women's committee for Brandeis was soon formed with local chapters including Baltimore.
     The Korean War made Serv-A packages and USO support necessary. Visits to nearby veterans hospitals continued. The Korean War interrupted a world struggling for peace, making rehabilitation projects still an essential need.  The State of Israel had caused past maps to be obsolete and Federation gave strong endorsement to Israel Bond sales and support of Israel's needs. 
     Our Maryland Federation joined the National Bureau of Federated Jewish Women's Organizations; several past presidents served as officers. An outstanding project in 1956 was the compilation of an organizational self-survey for the purpose of eliminating duplication of work among member groups and combining efforts occasionally. The survey highlighted unmet community needs. Federation's groups were involved in all types of social, religious, health, educational, philanthropic, cultural and civic activities.

sit-ins... freedom riders...sputnik...anti-war...Marilyn Monroe... blast-off... little rock... John F. Kennedy... Sabin oral vaccine... voting rights... Camelot... The Beatles... Telestar... Johnny Unitas... Cuban Missile Crisis… Civil Rights Act.... Vietnam.,,. the source...Medicare... My Fair Lady... snow … the race for space...war on poverty...Remember?

     The perilous environment in which Israel existed was a primary concern of Federation in this decade. The imbalance of arms in the Near East and the threat to Israel's existence provoked strong protests by Federation. The Federation Board held information sessions to inform the constituents of progress about the status of Israel's situation.
     The new JCC and Hebrew College on Park Heights Avenue were made available for Federation events. An annual School-for-a-Day included several sessions devoted to various facets of leadership techniques and responsibilities. In 1963, an annual day was established for "sisterhood sessions" involving orthodox, conservative, reform women and their roles as synagogue auxiliaries. A mid-winter conference was begun highlighting aspects of organizational life including publicity, fundraising, and programming, and programs were presented by local experts in each field. It was emphasized that dietary laws be observed at all events.
     Leadership Manuals, a program handbook and other printed materials were made available to all who attended study sessions. A publication named "The 3 I's (Invocations, Introductions, Installations)" was developed as a guide to help in the preparation and presentation of effective leadership. The newsletter became, "The Focus on Federation," and included announcements of Federation activities, legislative information and other important events. Each issue featured our constituent organizations as a way of informing the entire organization of the specific activities and focus of each group. The Federation developed a new logo (The Flame), and the newsletter was subsequently renamed "The Flame. This became a tri-monthly publication which projected the services of Federation.
      Every possibility was explored to assist in the activities and projects of all of the constituents, and for this purpose Mobile Workshops were instituted.  A Philanthropic Roster was compiled for the benefit of our constituent groups as well as for agencies seeking assistance, thus enlarging Federation's services to the community. The Board of Directors of Federation carried a motion to participate in the restoration of the Lloyd Street Synagogue, the third oldest synagogue in the United States and Maryland's first in response to a presentation by the Baltimore Board of Rabbis. We are justly proud of the integral part Federation and its constituents have played in the salvation, restoration and maintenance of this landmark. In response to the discovery of a genetic basis of Tay-Sachs disease, testing programs were established by constituent groups.

Jackie O... Watergate... Nixon and Agnew... Women's Lib... The Pill... Roe v. Wade... walk on the moon... Vietnam... Peace Corps... secretariat... hippies... Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King... drug abuse... choice... Iran Hostage Crisis... Watergate... Archie Bunker... Six Day War... Harbor Place... Right-To-Life …"off" with women's hats... Woodstock... remember?

     President Shoshana S. Cardin commissioned the logo, The Flame. "The Flame" signified the light of Jewish leadership which became the name of Federation's newsletter. In honor of its 50th anniversary, Federation initiated an annual cash prize to the winner of the JCC's professional musician's competition. The Federation during this decade maintained its independence and served more than 80 constituent organizations comprising 40,000 women. This occurred during a time when other Federations were closing. By adopting resolutions on various subjects, the Federation was able to maintain its influence. The voice of the Federation allowed us to give a unified voice to concerns such as gun control, the protection of the environment, consumer protection, State of Israel, United Nations, terrorism, genocide.  A representative to the newly formed Baltimore Committee for Soviet Jewry was appointed.
     The importance of traffic safety was stressed in a course on defensive driving.  The emergence of women as an important force was focused on in our President's Round Table Conference devoted to "Women's Needs in the Modern World."  With the inception of a Women's Fair, Federation a participating organization devoted to women's issues. Federation meetings offered programs related to current concerns. Mid-winter Conference became an established annual event offering a platform for philanthropic needs. Focus on Jewish Identity, an educational experiment in leadership, was instituted as a joint venture of Federation and the Baltimore Hebrew College. Various institutions and agencies took advantage of our platform.
     V.A.C., Voluntary Action Center of Maryland, came into existence and we helped in the organization of this community agency which centered around the volunteer. A Leadership Training Consultant advised constituent groups with problems and aided in the formation of new organizations.  Our Program Guide and Philanthropic Roster were revised and reprinted.
"Leadership Logic - A Manual of Organization Know-How" - is a unique publication compiled by Federation leaders.  Purchased and praised nationally, it serves as an important resource on leadership. Each Federation meeting and workshop was presented as a "showcase" of meeting management to promote attendance and the development of leadership skills.
     The 60s and 70s were marked by Federation representation, cooperation and involvement with many groups and causes. These included Baltimore Jewish Council, Women's Division of the Associated, The Jewish Armed Services Committee, The Legislative Clearing House, Inter-faith Conference and Civil Rights, The Health and Welfare Council, United Nations Association, Committee for Soviet Jewry, Voluntary Action Center, Maryland Commission for Women, Advisory Commission on the Bicentennial, Women's Committee for Traffic Safety, Committee for the Promotion of Public Television, etc., etc., etc….

Camp David Accords... Who Shot J.R … Three Mile Island... Iran Hostage Crisis... USSR Invasion of Afghanistan... laptops... president reagan shot at...test tube babies..
U.S. boycott of Olympics...moral majority...environmental concerns...national healthcare computer …
love canal.... ESPN... compact discs… gun control issues… MTV... space shuttle... diesel cars... DNA testing... Remember?

     From its founding in 1916, Federation has made statements and sent resolutions on current issues—local, national and international on matters of Jewish and general concern. During this time, Federation's advocacy and action role became more pronounced. More women entered the work force and the need for volunteerism and commitment remained strong. Leadership sessions addressed such topics as time management, interpersonal relationships, membership recruitment and retention, alternative leadership styles such as co-presidencies as well as the traditional meeting management and organizational know how sessions. Current issues included general education, day care, choice, and caring for the elderly. The wave of Russian immigration and settlement and the need to promote intergroup understanding were on our agenda.
     Women's pages of the daily press and the Jewish Times carried news and announcements of our activities. The Jewish Community Center and Hebrew College were no longer available for Federation meetings. Instead, public libraries and congregations became meeting sites, and "mobile workshops" were made available. Thus, Federation was able to take leadership training to its constituents.
     This decade was devoted to enhancing the leadership skills of Federation women. Community consultants were invited to bring their expertise as presenters at some sessions. Some meetings and workshops were scheduled both day and evening to accommodate working women and young mothers.
     During this period, Federation membership declined. Due to the growth of suburbia and inner city decay, many families had moved to northwest Baltimore City and County. Reform and Conservative synagogues had moved in the 50s and 60s. Smaller East Baltimore synagogues disbanded, merged or relocated. The women's movement also added to the loss of member groups. Ladies Auxiliaries of professional organizations and fraternities such as wives of pharmacists, dentists, veterans, lawyers, tuberculosis aid societies and others either went out of business altogether or merged into one group. Federation publications and activities continued to act as the face and voice of Jewish Women's Organizations.

Persian Gulf War... impeachment... O.J. Simpson... Dr. Kervorkian... internet... Berlin Wall taken down... Los Angeles riots... Anita Hill... Rupert Murdoch... Wheel of Fortune... pay per view... Germany unified... Oklahoma City... Kenneth Starr... USSR breakup... FSU Jewish rebirth… shuttle challenger explodes... Iran contra deal... NYPD... Remember?

          The expansion of the Lloyd Street Synagogue into the Jewish Heritage Center took place in 1987. The three building complex included two restored historic synagogues, Lloyd Street (1845) and B'nai Israel (1876) and between them a museum, library, archival repository, curatorial and managerial offices and a gift shop. This has become the Jewish Museum of Maryland known for its outstanding exhibits and programs. Federation organizations and individuals have been and continue to be involved and supportive in many roles.
     The Federation expanded its goals of leadership training to include motivating its members to improve the lives of others while enriching their own. With new information and technological expansion came the challenge to find new pathways to coordinate the public, private and volunteer sectors. With the changing roles of women, Federation recognized the need to inspire and recruit women of many ages and stages: stay-at-home moms with young children, women employed or attending school, professional women, retired seniors, and empty nesters. This goal required flexibility of meeting times to include weekdays, evenings and even weekends. In addition, providing child care during meetings was a valuable factor in enlisting new volunteers.
     Associated Family and Children Services initiated the Kosher Food Pantry for those in need and has been supported by many Federation groups. Federation has served both to build and to maintain a strong presence in Baltimore and its surrounding communities. As always, legislative information and resolutions on current issues and printed materials were made available. 

welfare reform... Republicans control 3 branches of government... Y2K... DVD... tobacco company payouts... 9/11… Google.... Al Queda... G.W. Bush... bombings... Taliban... suicide bombers... same sex unions... Hurricane Katrina... Homeland Security... school shootings... war on terrorism... Monica Lewinsky... Saddam Hussein... USSR invasion of Afghanistan... genetic code... stem cell research... hanging chads... U.S. invades Iraq... abortion clinic…. Remember?

 This new century marked the age of expanded communication and our Federation was modernized. The roster database was computerized. The Federation participated in the community wide, Associated Community Calendar  website to publish our calendar and other events in our area.
     Political issues of the time involved court appointees, same sex unions, the war in Iraq, the budget, gun control, abortion, immigration, dealing with monster hurricanes, genocide and of course affairs in the Middle East.
      Our mission statement was revised and a bookmark was made for advertising. Leadership Logic was revised in 2000 and updated and enlarged in 2006. The Three I's was also revised and reprinted.
     Strategic planning played a major role in 2005. A committee was established to evaluate our mission statement and activities, to set future goals and directions for the new century. Implementation of these are being considered as we move L'dor v' dor from generation to generation, and from strength to strength. Many issues were discussed such as membership, governance, communication, marketing and public image. Priorities were chosen and will be implemented. Federation developed a new webpage,,  which is being used to help publicize the organization and inform its members about upcoming events and Federation's history. The alumni group was expanded and Friends of Federation was instituted. This is a membership for people who want to support Federation, are interested in being informed, receive the Flame and invited to meetings and convention.
     Our meetings now include a "spotlight" on our organizations which helps to educate Federation members by giving a clear understanding of the organization's mission. This is a great way to learn about our members, and helps to increase meeting attendance. The Federation became a vessel for celebrating achievements of our groups by honoring a member from each of our constituent organizations at our annual convention. Our Federation is the only Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations in the country, and we are looking forward to celebrating the success of our wonderful women for centuries to come.

iPhone… Nancy Polosi… Virginia Tech Massacre… partial birth abortion upheld… car bombs… Kosovo independence… O.J. Simpson… Bloody Friday… Putin… Bernard Madoff… Israeli invade Gaza… Barack Obama… deepwater horizon… don't ask don't tell… Japan Tsunami… Fukushima Nuclear Melt… Osama Bin Laden… stem-cell… Julian Assange… Boko Harem… house of cards… Edward Snowden… Mala Yousafzai… Pope Francis… Taliban… Malaysia Airlines… Ebola… Isis… same-sex marriage… Facebook… Iraq… Immigration… gun control… BDS movement… Remember?

      The decade saw increased involvement in technology. The establishment of the Website brought many more eyes to our organization and advised many inactive members as to our mission and accomplishments. Computer classes were offered to assist members into the computer age.
The Friends program, instituted in 2004, continues to reach additional women each year. The Flame, our publication, provided insight of Federation's mission for both members and the community-at-large. "Under the Umbrella" highlighted the events of our constituent organizations; health issues were discussed in each issue; meetings generated audiences who were informed of the events occurring in the Jewish community and in the world as well. Each year the annual convention continued to draw upwards of 400 people, and Federation took the opportunity to honor those outstanding members of our constituent organizations. In memory of past president E.B. Hirsh, the E.B. Hirsh Lifetime achievement award was created to be presented at the annual convention to a prominant Jewish Woman in the community.
      In answer to the needs of the Federation community, social action projects were instituted at each meeting; a Speakers Bureau was established to educate and help our organizations; a Mazel Tov card was made available to recognize our annual honorees. In 2011, Federation was recognized with the Governor's Service Award and was invited to the State House for their their holiday Chanukah Parties to light the menorah.
      Political issues of the time dictated our involvement and efforts toward Tikkun Olam. Resolutions included gun control, women's issues, assault weapons ban, separation of church and state in opposition to funding for parochial schools, stem cell research, support of Jewish students in fighting anti-Semitism on campuses. Israel remained high on our agenda with advocacy toward condemnation of language equating Zionism with racism, support for a security fence. Opposition of BDS movement, and support for Jerusalem as the capitol.

      As we close this decade of accomplishments, we are grateful for the many years of service The Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations enabled. At this juncture of 100 years, it is our prayer that we continue to serve Baltimore's Jewish women for many years to come.

*Historian note: We wish to acknowledge with deep appreciation the work of Mrs. Robert F. Skutch in 1965 and E.B. Hirsh and Eve Vogelstein in 2006, historians and editors of the "History of the Federation of Jewish Women's Organizations of Maryland", from which these excerpts were taken. We also wish to acknowledge Jane Davis, Sheila Derman, Helene Waranch, Eve Vogelstein and Lynda Weinstein for contributing to the history for 2006-2016


To see the full calendar and Jewish holidays,