MONTEFIORE HOME - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
MONTEFIORE HOME, dedicated in June 1882 as the Sir Moses Montefiore Kesher Shel Barzel Home for the Aged and Infirm Israelites, was founded by the Jewish fraternal order Kesher Shel Barzel. The original building, which formerly housed the Cleveland Protestant Orphan Asylum, cost $25,000 and was located at Woodland Ave. and E. 55th St. It served approx. 40 residents, "old and poverty stricken Israelites in physically good condition, free of contagious and mental diseases" under age 65. In 1884 the name changed to the Sir Moses Montefiore Home for the Aged & Infirm Israelites (shortened to Montefiore Home in 1923), honoring a gift from the British philanthropist. In Nov. 1916 the home sold its property for $155,000 and the next April, acquired the Dean property at 3151 Mayfield Rd. In 1919 a new building was completed, with capacity for about 60 residents. Montefiore still admitted only healthy persons over age 65, who worked on the small farm and helped raise almost all the produce consumed at this "country" location. A resident superintendent and matron managed the home, which employed only a day nurse and housekeeping staff.
In the 1940s, Montefiore shifted from providing residential care to social and psychological rehabilitation, offering day care (1941), hiring a social worker (1944), accepting people with dementia, opening a sheltered workshop, and introducing a psychiatric unit (1947). The number of residents increased from 67 (1941) to 174 (1962). The Montefiore Auxiliary formed in 1956-57 to help support resident activities. In Oct. 1991 Montefiore, now a skilled nursing facility, moved to a new $22 million, 240-bed complex at One David N. Myers Pkwy. in BEACHWOOD. More than 2,300 donors supported the capital campaign with $12 million. In 1993 the home offered Cleveland-area Jews long-term care (65 and over), short-term care (55 and over), terminal care, and a home-based hospice program, sponsored in conjunction with the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN (NCJW), CLEVELAND SECTION. This hospice program received the Irene Zehman Award from the JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION in May 1995. Also in 1995, the Montefiore Foundation was established with a separate Board of Trustees to serve as the home's fundraising and allocation division for its programs. Charles Harley Gross served as the first head trustee, while Edward Vinocur served as the first president of the foundation.
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