Roman Vishniac, [Children playing with building blocks during Hanukkah, probably Bronx House, Washington Avenue,The Bronx], early to mid-1940s, © Mara Vishniac Kohn, courtesy International Center of Photography
The Bronx House was established in 1911 to serve the large number of first-generation Jewish-Americans who had moved to the Bronx to escape the crowded conditions of Manhattan tenements. A Jewish settlement house in what was then New York’s most heavily Jewish borough, its goal was to improve the quality of residents’ lives by offering arts, education, and recreation activities within the context of Jewish communal values. In the 1920s, the programming of the Bronx House reflected the radical nature of many Jewish residents, teaching consumer education and establishing retail cooperatives, hosting union meetings, offering night classes in Yiddish, and featuring many left-wing Yiddish speakers in its lecture series. In the 1930s and 1940s, when this photograph was taken, it operated as a Jewish Community Center. Vishniac’s photographs of the Bronx House were probably commissioned by the Jewish Educational Committee (a photograph by Vishniac at the same site appears in one of their pamphlets).
Roman Vishniac Archive, International Center of Photography