An Extraordinary Partnership That Brought Care and Help to Tens of Thousands in New York’s Slums

In 1893, a young nurse from Rochester, NY named Lillian Wald met with Jacob Schiff—then one of America’s leading financiers and the most prominent figure in New York City’s Jewish community—to discuss a proposal for a charitable organization that would deliver home medical care and training in self-help to the impoverished immigrant residents of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Impressed by Wald, Schiff helped her found the Visiting Nurses Service, initiating three decades of cooperation in philanthropic endeavors that would revolutionize the provision of assistance to the urban poor. Susan Hertog writes:

Jacob Schiff, the Frankfurt-born son of a financier from a long line of rabbinic sages, was a Jewish aristocrat with the thirst for knowledge of a talmudic scholar. . . . [Herself born] into a family of German-Jewish entrepreneurs, [Wald] understood the landscape of [Schiff’s] mind. She knew that first and foremost, he was an investor with his eye on the bottom line, and this attitude permeated all of his philanthropic endeavors. An immigrant of her parents’ generation, Schiff saw his generosity toward Jewish charities and institutions as integral to his gratitude to America for his economic success. As a strictly observant Jew, he believed it was his duty to give 10 percent of his income to his community—amounting to a very generous total. . . .

Hitherto, [however], Schiff had contributed to charities and organizations from above, acting both as fundraiser and treasurer, antiseptically if good heartedly, using his financial skills and personal connections to foster the acculturation and settlement of immigrants, predominantly but not exclusively Jewish. . . .

In the wake of [several] miscarried efforts [to alleviate the suffering of immigrant Jews], Wald’s vision of home nursing seemed to get to the heart of the problem—a community-based institution devoted to the needs of immigrants. Wald’s plans were focused and tangible, and her youth and resolve moved Schiff. Perhaps most important, he sensed that he could supervise, instruct, and sway her in a way that suited him and would achieve their common ends. Wald was smart and ambitious, open, unspoiled, and willing to learn. While this may seem paternalistic [to modern sensibilities], one must remember that it was unheard of in his social circles for a man to partner with a woman [in this sort of endeavor]. But Lillian Wald was like no other woman Jacob Schiff had ever met.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Philanthropy Roundtable

More about: American Jewish History, History & Ideas, Immigration, Lower East Side, Philanthropy

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin