Sender Jarmulowsky

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. By 1873, he
had moved to New York and opened up another office 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.”

Discussion Questions

  • 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

Classroom Extensions

  • 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 about Sender Jarmulowsky’s Bank and of the steerage tickets purchased there to find out more about his business life.