Most For­tu­nate Unfor­tu­nates: The Jew­ish Orphans’ Home of New Orleans

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

Span­ning ante­bel­lum years through World War II, Mar­lene Trest­man’s Most For­tu­nate Unfor­tu­nates is the first com­plete his­to­ry of the nation’s ear­li­est pur­pose-built Jew­ish orphan­age, which was her­ald­ed as a Mag­nif­i­cent Mon­u­ment to Hebrew Benev­o­lence.” With nar­ra­tive empa­thy and schol­ar­ly rig­or, Trest­man gives read­ers insight not only into one spe­cif­ic orphan­age, but into the larg­er chal­lenges, tri­umphs, and dilem­mas of an Amer­i­can Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty deter­mined to care for its need­i­est chil­dren. Aug­ment­ed by rare archival pho­tos and more than 140 inter­views and oral his­to­ries of alum­ni, admin­is­tra­tors, and their descen­dants, this pow­er­ful insti­tu­tion­al his­to­ry of a pio­neer­ing Jew­ish orphan­age comes to life with deeply per­son­al accounts of child­hood amid evolv­ing stan­dards of childcare.

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