Cultural Heritage Tours

A project of the ETHNIC HERITAGE CENTER

Downtown North Tour

Leopold Waterman House/Jewish Home for Children

441 Orange Street

Leopold Waterman House, 2016. Courtesy Aaron Goode.

A Jewish immigrant from Bavaria in southern Germany, Leopold Waterman was the first president of Congregation Mishkan Israel. He was active in many local and national Jewish organizations, a founding member of B’nai B’rith, and corresponded with many of the leading Jewish and non-Jewish figures of his day, from Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise to philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson to Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian statesman and freedom fighter. Leopold served as Kossuth’s translator when Kossuth came to Connecticut on a fundraising tour in 1851. Leopold’s brother Sigmund was an instructor of German (his native language) and was probably the first Jew to teach at Yale. In 1848 Sigmund graduated from medical school at Yale and went on to a distinguished career in medicine. Leopold built this Greek Revival-style house in the 1840s. In 1905 the house became an orphanage for Jewish children. The Jewish Home for Children relocated to Sherman Avenue in 1924.

  • Text source courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven Archives.

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