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Families, Rabbis and EducationEssays on Traditional Jewish Society in Eastern Europe$
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Shaul Stampfer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774853

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774853.001.0001

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Scientific Welfare and Lonely Old People: The Development of Old-Age Homes

Scientific Welfare and Lonely Old People: The Development of Old-Age Homes

(p.86) Four Scientific Welfare and Lonely Old People: The Development of Old-Age Homes
Families, Rabbis and Education

Shaul Stampfer

Liverpool University Press

This chapter traces the historical development of Jewish old-age homes to examine the place of the elderly in the Jewish family, along with broader issues of communal organization. Traditionally, the social welfare needs of the indigent or the ill in east European Jewish communities were attended to directly in their homes. However, a number of changes in the conditions of Jewish life made old-age homes increasingly necessary. In many respects, the interest in homes for the aged was actually indicative of an increased sense of responsibility of the Jewish community vis-à-vis the elderly. The Jewish family per se was not weakening; rather, organized communities now undertook to supply services that were once left to individuals. The perceived need for homes for the aged reflected not only the increasing number of elderly, but also much higher expectations for their support. Not surprisingly, this process took place in different places at different times, depending on the course of modernization and local conditions. Despite the limited success of homes for the aged in serving a wide population, many did provide an impressive service.

Keywords:   Jewish old-age homes, elderly Jews, Jewish family, communal organization, social welfare, east European Jews, Jewish communities, Jewish life, organized communities

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