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Doorway-Left Side“The Twelve Tribes At The Bialystoker Home”, by Richard McBee, The Jewish Press, 3/15/2012

The founders of the Bialystoker Center and Home for the Aged were Polish immigrant Jews who, in the 1880s, established a federation of landsmanshaftn (mutual benefit societies) to connect with settlements of Bialystokers throughout the world. In 1926, when announcing their plans to erect a new headquarters and facility for the elderly on East Broadway, they declared, “Our Home will combine modernity with compassion – a Home with a Heart that will stand as a monument for succeeding generations.” The building is a unique combination of art deco design and Jewish symbolism that signifies a community firmly rooted in traditions of their homeland and, at the same time, proclaiming their rightful place in America.
Richard McBee is a distinguished painter of Biblical subjects and a prolific writer on Jewish art. He concludes his enlightening article with these words: “We should do everything in our power to preserve this significant architectural gem. Only in appreciating our past can we gain the wisdom to shape our future.”

Click here to see the article.

Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora, by Rebecca Kobrin, Indiana University Press, 2010.

Review of Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora by Professor Jonathan Boyarin, forthcoming in American Jewish History.

Two of the Lower East Side’s remaining great Jewish institutions still proudly bear the name of the Polish city of Bialystok: the Bialystoker Center and Old Age Home on East Broadway, and the Bialystoker Synagogue on Willett Street. One of the special pleasures of Rebecca Kobrin’s book, for a long-time Lower East Side resident such as myself, is her rich explanation of how the former institution came to be, through the coalescence of over two dozen separate mutual welfare organizations, all drawing upon the shared identity of immigrants from Bialystok in and around New York City.
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