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The Sisterhood:

This slideshow contains 6 items
1
Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood annual report, Portland, 1945

Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood annual report, Portland, 1945

Item 54190 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

In the Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood 1945 annual report, president Mrs. Louis R. Berenson wrote, "every woman likes a lovely home -- she takes pride in it -- she wants to show it to her family and her friends.

"That is the way we, the Sisterhood, feel about our synagogue. We want it to be the neatest, the most presentable, the nicest."

The Sisterhood raises money for the synagogue and for community projects, supports various synagogue activities and, as another report stated, "Whenever and wherever we are called, Sisterhood is ready and willing to lend a hand."


2
Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood tea invitation, Portland, 1947

Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood tea invitation, Portland, 1947

Item 54191 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

The Sisterhood was organized in 1925. One of its first functions was raising money to help the Shaarey Tphiloh pay off its mortgage for the building that opened in 1904 on Newbury Street in Portland.

Dora Miller was the first president. A native of Maine, her parents were Polish immigrants as was her husband, Harry, a merchant.

Vice president Rebecca Helfont, a Russian immigrant, was married to Louis Helfont, also a Russian immigrant, who was a merchant.

The treasurer, Lillian Bernstein, and her husband, Hyman, also were Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Russia. He worked as a pawnbroker.

Mrs. B. Diamon was secretary.


3
'Two Goyim' program, Portland, 1948

'Two Goyim' program, Portland, 1948

Item 54195 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

In an Orthodox congregation where the men's and women's roles were clearly split, the Sisterhood provided a way for women to be involved in the congregation.

Beyond raising funds and supporting community and synagogue activities, the Sisterhood was a social organization.

In 1948, the Sisterhood sponsored a play -- and members acted many of the roles in it.


4
Synagogue tea invitation, Portland, 1948

Synagogue tea invitation, Portland, 1948

Item 54193 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

In 1948, Shaarey Tphiloh was facing a new challenge: a Conservative synagogue, Temple Beth El, opened a year before.

It relaxed some Orthodox traditions to better appeal to an American audience and lifestyle.

For instance, in the new Temple Beth El, men and women could worship side-by-side.

At Shaarey Tphiloh, women sat in the balcony, while men were on the main floor.

The Sisterhood's membership tea does not reflect those challenges.


5
Letter of thanks to Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood, Portland, 1951

Letter of thanks to Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood, Portland, 1951

Item 54083 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

The Jewish Community Center in 1951 thanked the Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood for providing a scholarship a young person to attend the center's Day Camp.

The Sisterhood continued to support such activities in the community as well as in the synagogue.


6
Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood, 1990

Shaarey Tphiloh Sisterhood, 1990

Item 54192 info
Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh

The Sisterhood has continued as a strong supporter of synagogue activities and life, even though by 1990 women had a much larger role in the congregation.

Starting in 1959, up to three Sisterhood members began serving on the synagogue Board of Directors -- with voting power. In 1966, women began serving on synagogue committees.


This slideshow contains 6 items
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