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For Find Out Friday Week 19- The Brooklyn Ladies

“We all share a wish that we can wake up every morning of our lives at home.”

Many questions can spring from a single commercial. So is the case for The Brooklyn Ladies. Every so often I hear a commercial mention them and then there is an ad for some sort of senior care facility. As a Brooklyn lady myself I had never heard of “these” other Brooklyn ladies so it was time to investigate. As you will see those Brooklyn ladies are pretty incredible too.

The Metropolitan Jewish Health System also known as MJHS was established in 1907. There were four ladies from Brooklyn who were behind its creation. They were: Sarah Webelovsky, Emma Rosenthal, Sarah Berlin, and Flora Grodin. Their Jewish heritage encouraged one reaching out into the community to serve in any way you could. It wasn’t just about giving money but about giving of your time.

As the story goes, these women could no longer look into the eyes of those who were old and sick without doing something.


“Based on the values of compassion, dignity and respect, they founded the Brooklyn Ladies Hebrew Home for the Aged. With the help of charitable support, the home provided poor, elderly members of the community, regardless of who they were and where they came from, with quality health care and a place to live in their time of greatest need.”

With some great success I might add.

The current MJHS is funded by yearly grants that come from the appropriately named MJHS Foundation. They are all private donations made during the year or at fundraisers. The current annual budget is around eight hundred million dollars for which they serve all five boroughs of New York City and around fifty thousand people.

“Our centers for rehabilitation and nursing care have been called the gold standard for modern rehabilitation and nursing care, our palliative care specialists are leaders in effective pain management. And, as pioneers of end of life care in New York, we continue to provide the most innovative hospice care for both adults and children.”

This legacy has spawn similar groups. A good example is Home First, one of the longest managed full time care plans in N.Y. They too “provide members of the community with quality health care and a safe, comfortable place to live in their time of greatest need.” After all when you are elderly and/or ill it is most important to feel cared for and safe. To be able to give someone such a gift is life affirming.

For those with a special interest there is currently a “rare Brooklyn Hebrew Home and Hospital meal token” available for purchase on eBay (see last link below.) The asking price is a reasonable one hundred and ninety-nine dollars.

The only remaining questions I have pertain to the women themselves. For instance why aren’t their names mentioned out right on MJHS’s website? That dumbfounded and appalled me. I had to turn to Twitter to find their names out.

Additionally, as I attempted to seek out information about those Four Brooklyn Ladies nothing turned up on any of my subsequent internet searches. That is such a shame. There really needs to be a book published about them.

I would love information on their backgrounds and families. I believe that would give a fuller picture of these women who created an establishment that remains in existence to this very day.

I believe it says something profoundly deeper about our society when women innovators are lumped together as “The Four Brooklyn Ladies” without providing their names for their individual achievements. Apparently we are willing to claim them for their work but not as people. I wonder if they had been four Brooklyn men would the same hold true.

Either way they held true to their mission, providing:

“A tradition of caring every minute, every day.”

………for everyone.

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