Rebecca Gertrude Affachiner (1884, Nesvizh -1966, Jerusalem) was a social worker, Jewish public leader and Zionist activist in the United States and Israel. Her father emigrated to the USA and then sent for his family to join him in 1891. Rebecca Affachiner attended the Philanthropy and Art School in New York, and in 1907 became the first female graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City. She began her career in social work as an investigator for the United Hebrew Charities, New York City, later serving as Assistant Superintendent at Beth Israel Hospital, Y.W.H.A. In 1912 she was present at the founding of Hadassah. During World War I, she volunteered as a Jewish Welfare Board war worker in France, working with Jewish American soldiers in the 77th Regiment in Le Mans. Upon her return from service overseas, she conducted a survey on child welfare for the United Jewish Aid Society of Brooklyn, N.Y. She settled in Hartford, CT and became superintendent of the United Jewish Charities. She helped establish the Jewish Big Sisters and Big Brothers organizations in New York City and Hartford. In 1926 she made a tour of Palestine, Egypt, Italy, and the Near East; upon her return to the USA, she was appointed the first National Field Secretary of Hadassah, of which she was a charter member. From 1929 to 1934 Affachiner was Director of Jewish Social Service for Greater Norfolk Va. She also founded and directed Council House, the first Jewish Community Center in Norfolk, and was elected to represent Norfolk at the World Zionist Congress held in Zurich in 1929. In 1934, Rebecca Affachiner emigrated to Jerusalem, and was actively involved in social work for the welfare of children and immigrants, and in the creation of Israel. Rebecca Gertrude Affachiner’s private collection include: her personal documents and family photographs; private correspondence and correspondence regarding her public activities in the USA and Israel; materials related to Rebecca Affachiner’s activities for Romanian-Jewish immigrants to Israel; diaries of trips through New York State, New England, Canada, South Africa, Europe and Russia; copies of reports and newspaper clippings with articles about Ms. Affachiner and institutions she was affiliated with; books and booklets; photographs of public Jewish interest from various countries; printed materials from different Jewish organizations; and writings by Ms. Affachiner about various public issues (Jewish Refugees in Cuba, Jews in Germany, Soviet Russia in 1932 and more) --
Affachiner, Rebecca G.
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Rebecca Gertrude Affachiner’s private collection includes materials related to her activities as a social worker and a Jewish public activist in the USA and Israel. The collection contains Affachiner’s family photographs and personal documents: diploma certifying her as a Hebrew teacher in 1907
her United States passports
various identification cards in Hebrew, etc. A significant part of the collection is Ms. Affachiner’s extensive correspondence. There are private correspondence and public correspondence with various Jewish organizations: "Jewish Welfare Board" in Le Mans, France
"United Jewish Charities in Hartford, Connecticut"
"Norfolk Virginia Section, National Council of Jewish Women"
"Alyn" (The Palestine Society for Crippled Children)
"Child Home Placement Bureau (Miklat Dati), Jerusalem
"Hitachdut Olei Romania" (Society for Romanian Immigrants) in Jerusalem
The Romanian Jewish War Effort Fund
Palestine Post (Jerusalem Post) and more. The collection includes also correspondence with other American-Jewish activists, Zionist leaders and other public figures. There are letters on Romanian Jews from Stephen Wise, Abba Hillel Silver and Louis Lipsky. There are also letters from Recha Freier and a letter to American Senator Alben Barkely in 1938. Materials on Romanian Jews include individual cases of Romanian immigrants who were assisted by “Hitachdut Olei Romania”. The collection contains diaries describing Ms. Affachiner's trips through New York State, New England, Canada, South Africa, Europe, Russia, and copies of reports and newspaper clippings with articles about her activities and institutions she was affiliated with. There are invaluable printed materials from different Jewish organizations connected with Rebecca Affachiner: programs for activities and printed matter of the "Norfolk Virginia Section, National Council of Jewish Women"
annual reports of United Jewish Charities of Hartford, Connecticut
minutes, programs and other papers of "Alyn"
minutes of committee meetings of "Hitachdut Olei Rumania"
reports of "Vaad Leumi, Jewish Community of Palestine General Council Social" and more. An important part of the collection are writings (manuscripts and typescripts) by Ms. Affachiner about various Jewish and social topics: “Jews in many lands”, “Jewish Refugees in Cuba”, “Jews in Germany”, “My Impressions of Poland”, “Soviet Russia in 1932”, “Jews in Spain” and more. The collection contains photographs of public Jewish interest from various countries: Jewish Welfare Board activities with American forces in France in 1919
synagogues in Toledo and Granada (1925)
Jewish life in Krakow and Warsaw (1931)
a Jewish Kolkhoz near Odessa (1932)
members of the "Bene Israel" Community in Bombay (1936)
life in Palestine and more. The collection also consists of: books and booklets
bulletins and newspapers
brochures and pamphlets
court records from Hudson Valley (1899-1916) and appointment books.
Abba Hillel,Silver 1893-1963
Alben William,Barkley 1877-1956
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Jewish Social Service Association, inc.
Beth Israel Hospital (New York, N.Y.)
National Association of Social Workers
Young Women's Hebrew Association (New York, N.Y.)
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization
Jewish Welfare Board
Jewish Big Sisters (Hartford, CT.)
Jewish Big Sisters (New York, N.Y.)
American Embarkation Center (Le Mans, France)
Bet ḥolim Alin
Hitahdut Olei Romania din Israel
Zionist Congress (16th : 1929 : Zurich)
Affachiner, Rebecca G. - Private Collection
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Rebecca Gertrude Affachiner was born in Nesvizh (Belarus), in 1884. Her father went to the United States first, then brought his family in 1891. She grew up on New York’s East Side and attended the School of Philanthropy and Art School in New York. She was the first female to graduate from the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City and took special courses at Columbia and Yale Universities and Hartford College of Law, etc. Rebecca Affachiner began her career in social work as an investigator for the United Hebrew Charities, New York City, later serving as Assistant Superintendent at Beth Israel Hospital, Y.W.H.A. She was the first woman to function as a chaplain in a state Institution, serving in that capacity at the New York State Training School, Hudson, N.Y., under the auspices of the New York Section, Council of Jewish Women. During World War I, Affachiner was Assistant Regional Director of the American Embarkation Center, Le Man, leaving for France with the first women's unit of the Jewish Welfare Board. Upon her return from service overseas, she conducted a survey for Child Welfare for the United Jewish Aid Society of Brooklyn, N.Y., later making a study of the problem of the Jewish blind in New York. For six years, she served as Superintendent of the United Jewish Charities in Hartford and was actively interested in the Connecticut State School for the Blind. Being a pioneer in work among juvenile delinquents, she was responsible for the earliest developments of the Jewish Big Sisters Movement in New York City, and founded the Jewish Big Sister and Big Brother Organizations in Hartford shortly after moving to Hartford in 1920. In May 1923 Affachiner was appointed a Juvenile Commissioner of the City of Hartford, and in 1924 Governor Templeton chose her to represent the State of Connecticut at the International Conference of Social Workers, meeting in Toronto, Canada. She also served as Vice President of the New England Social Workers, Secretary of the Advisory Board, Y.M. and Y.M.H.A. of Hartford and Director of the Travelers Aid Society in Hartford. In 1926 she made a toured Palestine, Egypt, Italy, and the Near East
upon her return to America, she was appointed the first National Field Secretary of Hadassah, of which she was a charter member. From 1929 to1934 Affachiner was Director of Jewish Social Service for Greater Norfolk Va. Under the Auspices of the Norfolk Section National Council of Jewish Women, she also founded and directed Council House, the first Jewish Community Center in Norfolk. In 1929 she was elected to represent Norfolk at the World Zionist Congress held in Zurich, Switzerland. In 1934 after resigning her post in Norfolk, Ms. Affachiner immigrated to Eretz Israel. Shortly after her arrival in Jerusalem, she worked for the Palestine Society for Crippled Children (later ALYN), acting as its Director of Social Service and on whose behalf, she made a trip around the world. In 1937 she helped organize the Romanian Settlers’ Association (Hitahdut Olei Romania) of which she became the Director, and on whose behalf, she visited Romania and the USA in 1937-1938. In 1939 she was the only woman asked to serve on the Executive Committee of the Child Placement Bureau Jerusalem – Miklat Dati. She was one of the Jewish Charter Members of the American Association of Social Workers, International Conference of Social Work. Affachiner traveled extensively throughout the world. In 1924 she went to Mexico to study the conditions under which the Jews lived there, and the possibilities for settling Polish Jewish refugees in Central America. In 1925 she went to Spain and Portugal to investigate the situation of Crypto Jews (Marranos). In 1930 she visited South America, in 1931 she went to Poland and in 1932 to Soviet Russia to visit Jewish communities. She died in Jerusalem in 1966.
The materials were transferred to the CAHJP in October 1966 by Dr. P. Jacobi, executor of Ms. Affachiner's estate and Mr. Ezra Gorodetsky. In May 1968 the CAHJP also received the appointment books of Ms. Affachiner, which were added as appendix to the list.
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