Hebrew Home, Hebrew Ladies Moshav ZeKeinim Association

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Hebrew Home, Hebrew Ladies Moshav ZeKeinim Association

No. 14680 Jewish Home for the Aged, Oct. 18, 1927

The Hebrew Home was located at 21 Queen Street, Dorchester.  The site has been redeveloped and is home to the Neighborhood House Charter School.  The Hebrew Home building is now behind the new addition that expanded the building for school use.

Since its move out of Dorchester, the organization became Hebrew SeniorLife, and the following is from their website, accessed about 2010.


Hebrew SeniorLife has grown from a small “home” in Dorchester serving a handful of seniors to an internationally recognized leader in the field of senior care. Over our 100-year history, there have been people, events and accomplishments that have shaped the organization …and there have been “defining moments” – moments in which decisions were made that had profound implications for the future. Our organization, today, is built on the foundation of these eleven “defining moments.”

On Wednesday, January 28, 1903, a small group of Orthodox Jews – five women and one man – completed and signed the official documents and paid the five-dollar fee, thus creating the Hebrew Moshav Zekainim Association. Its purpose, the documents stated, was to “establish a Home for the taking care of the old and infirm Jewish men and women in the City of Boston.” Two years later, “owing to the demand for a Home for Aged and Infirm Hebrews in our city, where the ritual of orthodoxy will be strictly adhered to,” the Association announced that it had purchased a building at 21 Queen Street in Dorchester. It opened its doors in September 1905 with 15 elderly residents. Today, Hebrew SeniorLife serves more than 3,500 seniors at seven sites and, through its programs and facilities, impacts the lives of nearly one-quarter of Jewish seniors over age 70 in the Greater Boston area.

The Moshav Zekainim Association had always relied on the financial support of the Boston Jewish community. However, during the Depression years, both the membership roster and the donations fell to new levels. The Hebrew Moshav Zekainim Association launched a massive membership drive that focused less on established Jewish neighborhoods in Boston and more on the emerging areas of Jewish population north, south and west of the city. It was the beginning of a new approach to membership and fundraising, and it emphasized the important role of women. In 1965, this commitment was formalized by the establishment of the Women’s Auxiliary (and the Men’s Associates three years later). Since its founding in 1903, more than $100 million has been raised from a generous community and today, over 10,000 members and volunteers form the foundation of the organization.

Dr. Harry Derow was a respected internist on the staff of Beth Israel Hospital when he was asked to conduct a study of the Home’s medical needs. His findings provided a blueprint for the Home’s medical organization and program of care and he became the first Physician-in-Chief. He bought equipment, set up a clinical laboratory, hired staff, conducted physical exams on all residents for the first time and envisioned the Home as a training site for young physicians interested in the field of geriatrics. Today, Hebrew SeniorLife has on staff as many or more geriatricians than eight states and some of Boston’s leading teaching hospitals.

The Board of Directors voted to relocate the “home” to a new location. The belief was that in order for the “home” to establish itself as an important geriatric treatment facility, it had to be closer in proximity to the Boston medical area on a site in which there was room to grow.  The official announcement that a greatly expanded facility would be built on a location other than Queen Street was made on June 4, 1953, at a gala dinner commemorating the Home’s 50th anniversary. However, the new location had yet to be determined. The City of Boston was willing to sell a 9.5-acre parcel of land known as Joyce Kilmer Park, which abutted the Arnold Arboretum. The purchase price was $40,500. Ground was broken in 1956 at the new location at 1200 Centre Street in Roslindale and on September 22, 1963, more than 260 residents moved from 21 Queen Street in Dorchester to the new 475-bed residence. The name was officially changed from “Hebrew Home for Aged” to “Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged,” reflecting its new charter as a chronic care hospital and home “for aged and ill men and women of Boston who require nursing care.” Its purpose was “to promote and carry on medical and scientific research in the care of the aged and train persons in attending to and serving the needs and interests of the aged.”

No. 4983 Hebrew Home, October 2004











No. 14679 Concert conducted by Charles Rosen January 5, 1939

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