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Entries : Chicago Hebrew Institute
Chicago Hebrew Institute

Chicago Hebrew Institute

Chicago Hebrew Institute, 1914
Organized in 1903 on the Near West Side of Chicago to promote the moral, physical, religious, and civic welfare of Jewish immigrants and residents, the Chicago Hebrew Institute served as a key institution in the Americanization of Eastern European immigrants. In addition to classes in citizenship, English, commerce, domestic science, Jewish culture, literature, art, physical culture, drama, and music, it offered Jewish people a diverse range of experiences in Jewish American life, through programs in adult education, along with a library, a Jewish museum, and a summer camp for girls.

Philip L. Seman, director from 1913 to 1945, described the institute as “frankly Jewish and staunchly American.” The institute changed its name to the Jewish People's Institute in 1922 and operated from a new building in North Lawndale after 1926. A forerunner of today's Jewish Community Centers, the Jewish People's Institute served as a major community center for Chicago Jewry and gained national recognition with its successful programs in education and religion, along with vocational and recreational activities.

Cutler, Irving. The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb. 1996.
Meites, Hyman L. History of the Jews of Chicago. 1927.
Seman, Philip L. “Democracy in Action.” Chicago Jewish Forum (1943): 49–54.