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Presented by Mitchell Rose

The Workmen's Circle organization promoted both socialism and Yiddish education since its founding in 1900.  It had multiple branches in Northeast Ohio, including a Cleveland branch on East 147th near Kinsman, and later on Green Road near Cedar Road, which closed about ten years ago. It had a children’s summer camp in Rock Creek Ohio throughout the 1950s, called Camp Vladek.

I have scanned and uploaded to the web thousands of old photographs from the archives of the Cleveland Chapter of Workmen's Circle. This page will share just a few.

  • The national convention of Workmen's Circle, in Cleveland, May 1, 1927



click for larger image

This picture would have been taken near The Masonic Temple and Performing Arts Center at 3615 Euclid Avenue. Completed in 1921, the building still stands.

For more about this picture and to see it three times larger, click here.

Yiddishe Velt story

Cleveland had three Jewish newspapers in 1927. The two English-language weeklies (Jewish Review and Observer and Jewish Independent) did not mention the convention, but the daily Yiddishe Velt (Jewish World) ran this front page story on Sunday, May 1, 1927, the day the convention opened.
Image from Cleveland Jewish News archive,
Translation by Mitchell Rose.

("Arbiter Ring” = “Wormen’s Circle”)

 At 3:00 this afternoon, in Masonic Temple, the 27th annual convention of the large worker’s organization “Arbiter Ring” will open. More than  200 delegates from all states in the nation will be attending.

The convention will hear reports regarding the events in Arbiter Ring for the last two years, a time when a difficult struggle with left-leaning members obstructed the work of Arbiter Ring and prevented it from from achieving all it might have accomplished.

Because the convention is small and its delegates elected from state conferences and not directly by branches, the ‘left’ did not elect any delegates. This assures that the convention will be calm and productive.

The Arbiter Ring is one of the largest Jewish organizations in America. Its membership is 86,000. It has a network of schools throughout the nation, and its own sanatorium for sick members in Liberty New York.

The Arbiter Ring supports its members in every case of need. It also has done much to help the war victims, for relief and HIAS, always responding with great sums of money and with great energy.

The convention will begin with a general session, which will be opened by M. Weinstein, on behalf of the Cleveland Arrangements Committee. The speakers will be: Abraham Kahan, George Jakob Penkin, H. Ehrlich director of the “Bund”, Naftali Feinerman, national chairman of Arbiter Ring, and Y. Baskin national secretary. The local speakers will be Councilman Peter White and Max Hayes.

The convention will meet for a full week in Hotel Statler. The first meeting will be held Monday morning  at 9:30. 

Among the important questions the convention will deal with will be the Arbiter Ring schools. The recent disagreement with leftwingers regarding our schools has weakened the schools. In recent months there has been some progress. The convention will consider this work, which has been affected by this tempest.

Those interested in the American Jewish workers movement will surely take a close look at the convention. A group of delegates are preparing to introduce a resolution regarding supporting the Jewish workers movement in the land of Israel. The convention is expected to take a position on this issue.

About Mitchell Rose

Mitchell Rose was born and raised in Cleveland and now lives in Lyndhurst. He worked for 22 years as an engineer and 18 years as a patent agent, and is now retired.  He has spent much effort as a volunteer in digitizing and publicizing thousands of historical photographs from the Cleveland chapter of the Workmen's Circle organization. He can be contacted at campvladek AT gmail DOT com


- Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry
- Cleveland Jewish News story December 30, 2020
- Archives at Western Reserve Historical Society

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Arnold Berger webkeeper    January 20, 2022


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