This photograph is of Sender Jarmulowsky, the first President of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Sender Jarmulowsky was both a Talmudic scholar and successful businessman. Orphaned at the age of three, Jarmulowsky was adopted by a rabbi in what is today Poland. There, he studied in a highly regarded religious school, called a yeshiva, and eventually married the daughter of a wealthy merchant. In 1868, he moved with his wife to Hamburg, Germany and started a passage and exchange business to transfer people and goods across the Atlantic. In 1873, he opened up another office in America on the Lower East Side. This business grew into one of the most successful banks in New York City. Jarmulowsky was held in high regard for his piety and for his business acumen. As one Yiddish newspaper described him, “Jarmulowsky was living proof that in America one can be a rich businessman but also be a true, pious Jew.”
- Look closely at the image. What can you tell about Sender Jarmulowsky? Does he seem dignified or vulgar? Ancient or Contemporary? Rich or poor? What clues in the picture helped you to make your hypothesis?
- Have students try to strike Sender Jarmulowsky’s pose. Discuss how it feels.
- Research fashion at the turn-of-the-century. What more can you discover about Sender Jarmulowsky by learning more about his clothing?
- Look at the Landmark Learning postings of Sender Jarmulowsky’s Bank and of the steerage tickets purchased there to find out more about his business life.