Nov. 12, 1920: ‘The Great Need of the Hour’

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November 1920 saw a U.S. presidential election attracting nationwide attention and engagement, as a Republican from Ohio, Sen. Warren G. Harding, beat Democratic Gov. James M. Cox, also of Ohio, for the presidency.

Nevertheless, here in Baltimore the big headline just 10 days after the election wasn’t Harding and Cox, but news of a giant merger, one that continues to effect every corner of Baltimore Jewish life even 100 years later.


“The Amalgamation of the Baltimore Jewish Charities — The Great Need of the Hour,” reads the headline in the Nov. 12, 1920, Jewish Times.

“The dream of years is about to come to pass. The consolidation of the Federated and United Charities will soon take place,” the JT writes in “A Message to the Jews of Baltimore.”

“This consolidation will bring under one head all the important Jewish charitable and social agencies of the city, thus uniting the community as well as the Charities.”

The day of amalgamation was set for Nov. 14, 1920, a day that would “lay the foundation for a United Jewry in Baltimore,” that would be “a great historical day for the Jews of our community.”

“The Amalgamation of all Jewish activities, now supervised by the Federated Jewish Charities and the United Hebrew Charities under the name of — The Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore — will not only be a blessing to the Jewish community of Baltimore, but a great help to the poor, downtrodden, pogromized Jews of the cursed lands of Eastern Europe, where ignorance, brutality and anti-Semitism reign.”

That amalgamation called for a $500,000 campaign for the new organization that would, over time, become what is known today as The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, Today The Associated serves the community with more than 25 agencies and programs, through hundreds of staffers and volunteers.

Flashback is a feature that honors the JT’s 100th anniversary. Have a particular date you’d like us to look at? Let us know.

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