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Neighborhood House, Richmond VA

Neighborhood House

By Catherine A. Paul

Neighborhood House Sabbath School, Class of 1921[View Image]
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Neighborhood House Sabbath School, Class of 1921
Photo: Courtesy of Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives

In the early 1900’s non-resident settlement houses were created throughout the country as the primary instrument of immigrant adjustment to America. In 1912, the Richmond Section of the National Council of Jewish Women established Neighborhood House at 19th and Broad in Richmond, Virginia to respond to the needs of recent immigrants from Russia, Germany, and Eastern Europe. For 33 years, Neighborhood House offered Americanization, religious, and cultural support to immigrants in the city’s East End.

According to a 1923 issue of The Jewish Woman, Neighborhood House had 30 clubs and classes, a full-time director, and 52 volunteers. The Mothers’ Club had 117 members, and the sewing classes had 83 learners and 12 teachers.  By 1929, membership reached more than 450 boys and girls, and annual attendance for all activities was 30,000. Lewis Z. Morris, president of Beth Ahabah at the time, stated:Neighborhood House Boys Basketball Team, 1926-1927[View Image]
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Neighborhood House Boys Basketball Team, 1926-1927
Photo: Courtesy of Beth Ahabah Museum & Archives

Hundreds of children are kept from the questionable influence of the streets and are taught sewing and other useful things intended to make of them good men and women. The ladies have made special effort to ground these children in Americanism, making clear to them their duty to love, honor and respect  the Stars and Stripes (Berman, 1979)

Neighborhood House had a gym and sponsored a boys basketball team, which competed in a league made up of teams from other local agencies. Moreover, Friday evening religious services and Sunday morning classes were offered. Staff made visitations to at-risk children’s homes, and basic medical care was provided. In April 1945, as the facilities deteriorated and attendance dwindled, Neighborhood House was closed.

For Further Reading:

“Up From the Valley – They Came from Germany, Russia and Eastern Europe: The Untold History of Richmond’s First Jewish Enclave,” by Edwin Slipek, Style Weekly.

“National Council of Jewish Women,” Jewish Virtual Library: A Project of AICE

National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)

Greentree, E. F. (1921-1927). Richmond works in many directions. The Jewish Woman, 6(1), pp. 49-50. Retrieved from;view=1up;seq=293;size=175

Rich, F. (1972, November 8). Richmond’s enigmatic ethnics: Snapshots of the Jewish community. The Richmond Mercury, 1(9). pp. 1, 8-10.

Rich, F. (1972, November 15). Further snapshots of the Jewish community. 1(10), pp. 8-10.

Richmond’s Neighborhood House” (1923). The Jewish Woman. 2(4), pp. 4-5. Retrieved from;view=1up;seq=98;size=175


Berman, M. (1979). Richmond’s Jewry, 1769-1976. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.

Greentree, E. F. (1921-1927). Richmond works in many directions. The Jewish Woman, 6(1), pp. 49-50. Retrieved from;view=1up;seq=293;size=175

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Paul, C. A. (2017). Neighborhood House. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved from[View Image]
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One Reply to “Neighborhood House, Richmond VA”

  1. Samuel Treger says:

    The Neighborhood House must have reopened several years later because I used to meet my club participants for basketball practice every week! This bring back fond memories. Also I was a friend of the subsequent owner, Frank Seldes.

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