Jewish Heritage Festival Planned Sunday; Special Walking Tour to Support Jewish Conservancy

Rebecca Lepkoff in her New York City apartment, 2011. Photo by Tobi Elkin.
Rebecca Lepkoff.

We’re still recovering from a hurricane and in the middle of riding out a nor’easter, but by the weekend (hopefully) many of us will be looking for a few diversions.  One option is the 3rd annual Jewish Heritage Festival.  The event, a project of the LES Jewish Conservancy, will be held Sunday and features the incomparable Lower East Side photographer Rebecca Lepkoff.  At 1:30 p.m. there will be an opening for her new exhibition, “On the Cusp of Change: The LES, 1935-1975,” at the conservancy’s Visitor Center, 400 Grand Street. Lepkoff, 96, will be present on Sunday to answer questions, and will be introduced by historian Suzanne Wasserman.

At 12:30, there will be a separate program featuring the “Girls from the Hood,” four women who grew up in the neighborhood and have stayed friends for more than 50 years. Panelists include Hesta Fortgang, (co-owner of Tag-Along Estate Sales), Marilyn Guss Altman (daughter of the founder of Guss’s Pickles), Carol Schneider Margolin (daughter of the K’nish Man) and Carol Hordin (daughter of the founder of Hordin’s Deli). The four women will also be sponsoring a benefit sale throughout the day, with vintage goods for the home, fashion jewelry, artifacts and serving ware available for purchase. All sale proceeds will benefit the Jewish Conservancy.

Throughout the day there will also be several walking tours, showcasing some of the neighborhood’s historic synagogues.  For more information on all festival programs, visit the conservancy’s web site.

Also on Sunday, there’s a fundraiser for the Jewish Conservancy, “Heroines of the LES,” a special walking tour led by historian and preservationist Joyce Mendelsohn. More details:

Participants on the tour will visit to the historic dining room at Henry Street Settlement where Lillian D. Wald hosted such distinguished guests as Eleanor Roosevelt and Jane Addams, financiers and philanthropists Jacob Schiff and Felix Warburg, journalist and photographer Jacob Riis and prominent elected officials including Gov. Alfred E. Smith, President Theodore Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. In 1909, Wald invited delegates from the National Negro Conference (which later led to the founding of the NAACP) to a reception in the dining room after several restaurants refused to accommodate an interracial group.

Other women who will be featured on the tour: Emma Goldman (1869-1940), Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), Belle Moskowitz (1877-1933), Clara Lemlich (1886-1982), Anzia Yezierska (c. 1880-1970), the Lewisohn sisters: Alice (1883-1972) and Irene (1886-1944) and Aline Bernstein (1880-1955). Click here for more information and contribution details.