REBECCA GRATZ (1781-1869)
Let’s discuss the sensational life and legacy of American Jewish educator and philanthropist Rebecca Gratz. Gratz was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she lived with her eleven siblings and her parents Miriam and Michael. In 1801 she established the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances which helped families affected by the Revolutionary War. After this she became one of the founders of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, an organization which supported Jewish widows. Gratz was also instrumental in the foundation of the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum. Perhaps Gratz’s most important contribution to American Jewish life was her creation, in 1838, of the first Hebrew Sunday School.