May 22: A Reform Jewish Giant

Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch, who headed Chicago’s Sinai Congregation for forty-two years and led Reform Judaism into the Progressive movement and down social justice pathways, was born in Luxemburg on this date in 1852. One of several Jews involved in founding the NAACP, Hirsch was married to the daughter of abolitionist rabbi David Einhorn and […]

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March 17: Rabbi Stephen S. Wise

Reform rabbi and Zionist leader Stephen S. Wise was born in Budapest on this date in 1874. He came to New York as an infant when his rabbi father took the pulpit at Congregation Beyt Israel Anshei Emes in Brooklyn and then Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. Wise earned a Ph.D at Columbia before pursuing rabbinical […]

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October 13: The Fact-Gatherer

Josephine Clara Goldmark, a social reformer of the Progressive Era who shaped the use of fact-gathering to win reform in the courts, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1877. Working with the New York Consumer’s League, Goldmark recruited her brother-in-law, Louis Brandeis, to serve as the league’s attorney and compiled the “Brandeis Brief,” […]

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April 25: The National Child Labor Committee

The National Child Labor Committee was launched at a mass meeting at Carnegie Hall on this date in 1904. Among its key founders were Felix Adler, the founder of the Ethical Culture Society, and Lillian Wald, headworker of the Henry Street Settlement House, who lobbied to have the NCLC chartered by Congress and given status […]

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February 22: Justice Frankfurter

Vienna-born Felix Frankfurter, a City College graduate who became, after Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo, the third Jew to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, died at 82 on this date in 1965. Frankfurter, a descendant of many generations of rabbis, was a graduate of Harvard Law and a founder of the American Civil LIberties […]

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June 3: Child Labor and the Supreme Court

Louis Brandeis was part of the dissenting minority of four justices in the case of Hammer v. Dagenhart on this date in 1918, in which the majority overturned the Keating-Owen Act of 1916, which had prohibited interstate commerce involving merchandise made by children under the age of 14 or between 14-16 who were made to […]

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December 23: Nutrition for the Poor

Frances Stern, a social worker and dietician who researched the nutrition of low-income workers and established the Food Clinic at the Boston Dispensary, died at 74 on this date in 1947. Stern was a pioneer in home economics, helped to found the American Home Economics Association in 1908, and wrote an influential book in 1917, […]

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