Babette Schwabacher Gatzert
The wife of Seattle’s first (and so far only) Jewish mayor opened the Seattle chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1900. NCJW went on to found the Settlement House in 1906, which taught new immigrants English and useful skills, held citizenship classes, and offered free baths. Today, it’s known as the Neighborhood House, serving the needs of new immigrants and a changing city.
A similar spirit spurred Esther Levy and her daughter, Elizabeth Cooper, to launch the Seattle Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1892. What started as “friendly visitors” — women who brought food and clothing to Jews in need — evolved into Jewish Family Service. The Ladies’ Montefiore Aid Society, formed in the late 1890s and run by Goldie Shucklin, served similar goals. They merged in 1940.
Before there was the Hebrew Free Loan Society, there was the Hebrew Ladies’ Free Loan Society. In 1909 Jennie Friedman proposed repurposing her sewing club’s treasury dues as small, interest-free loans. In 1913, it incorporated as a nonprofit, the same year the men’s Hebrew Education and Free Loan Association launched. In 1921, the groups together became what we know now, the Hebrew Free Loan Association.
Caroline Kline Galland
One of the most prominent women to imprint her legacy on the well-being of Seattle’s Jews is, of course, Caroline Kline Galland. In 1907 Kline Galland left her $1.5 million estate to charity, most of it going to her Home for the Aged and Feeble Poor. What started as a small home for elderly Jews with nowhere else to go grew into a massive senior-living enterprise equipped with state-of-the-art services.
Caroline Kline Galland's Home
Next time you’re at the Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s, look across the street at the yellow Georgian Revival at 17th and East Madison. Built in 1906, this was Caroline Kline Galland’s home. It’s now a memory care facility, but not for long. The house is on the market for $3.6 million.