Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who is that Man?

My mom is spending some time in a rehab facility in Brooklyn. The name of this facility is the Haym Salomon Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation. I got a few light moments listening to some people in the lobby who were discussing this name. One person guessed that the home must have been built by the Sefardi community in Brooklyn since the name sounds sort of Sefardic. Another woman answered that she didn't think so. She vaguely remembered hearing when she was younger about a man by that name from the Washington Heights Breuer's community, although she couldn't figure out why he would build a facility in Brooklyn. Everyone was trying to guess for whom the building was named, but no one knew. There is no plaque that I have ever spotted giving any information about him.

Okay, this is another of those trivial pursuit-type questions I've been posting as of late. Who was Haym Salomon? For those who don't know, I think the answer may surprise you.


G6 said...

Oy oy oy!!
This just highlights the validity of my claim that Jewish and secular history should not be taught as two separate subjects in Yeshivos.
Wouldn't it be nice to learn about Rashi and Rambam in the context of what else was going on in the world at the same time??
My father gave me a book about Haym Solomon when I was a little girl. What better personality to highlight when writing a report on American History?

SuperRaizy said...

He was a Revolutionary War hero of some sort. I think he may have helped finance the war.

Lion of Zion said...


"the name sounds sort of Sefardic"





Anonymous said...

I bet those women were older women, maybe in their 40s or up? The curriculum of what is taught about American Jewish history has changed over the years. There is a lot more being published about Jews in America now then 30-40 years ago. Still I'm just a little surprised because girls schools, not teaching gemorah, usually fill in with heavier doses of historia.

mother in israel said...

I'm over 40, and I knew the answer. More or less. I learned it in elementary school.
In Israel the kids learn history from a Jewish perspective. I find it refreshing and parochial at the same time.

Anonymous said...

If the nursing home is named after the 18th century Haym Saloman, yes I know who he is. If it is named after a more recent donor, or relative of same, then no, I have no idea.

Lion of Zion said...


Anonymous said...

I didn't remember the details, but I immediately recognized the name from his involvement in the American Revolution, so do I get half credit??

Anonymous said...

So I'm posting this as anonymous because I don't want the hassle. No I didn't know who Haym Salomon was until you asked this question. Now I do. No my boys high school didn't teach us any Jewish history that wasn't tied to the seforim we studied. And no my history teacher, a Jewish but not frum public school teacher did not mention Haym to us. Now that I know who he was I'm kind of puzzled why they didn't mention him to us.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know who Haym Solomon was, and I am old enough to have been taught this information in school. I am also old enough to have it ring a bell and to have totally forgotten why.
keep the trivial pursuit questions coming, I love them! (I did much better on the previous ones...)

Anonymous said...

So I knew who this man was, so what? In the scheme of my life knowing who he was has zero importance. It doesn't help me with my job, it wasn't relevant to what I majored in in college, it won't help me to raise my kids right, and it doesn't make me a better husband. In short, convince me that knowing about him will make my life better or change things for the better.

If you want to play this as trivial pursuit, then fine, it's a game. And yeah, we all know odd bits of information that we have kept stored up in our heads over the years. But keep this in perspective. Knowing how to change a flat tire, or how to cook an egg is more practical and more useful then knowing about this guy.

Anonymous said...

Geesh, chill out tls! No one's forcing you to know this stuff. Some people are going to find it interesting and some not. No reason to get all excited.

Anonymous said...

I still think that it was disrespectful to make fun of the women who didn't know who Salomon was. Was knowing going to improve their lives in some way? Maybe they know things that are more important to know. Like I said, I don't have anything against playing trivial pursuit but it's a game, not real life.

Anonymous said...

"There is no plaque that I have ever spotted giving any information about him."

I think that that institution was started years ago, similar to it's Sephardic neighbor, as an non-profit type effort by a group or community, perhaps a group of Polish Jews, for the elderly. However, it seems to have changed hands some years ago and come under 'heimishe' Hungarian control and become a for-profit operation. The old building was ditched (see empty shell next door). So it's not surprising if there is no painting of Solomon in the lobby or something like that (in contrast with their Sephardic neighbor, where you see tributes to the founders and such there), with the changes that have taken place there. True, the Solomon name was retained (although embellished, e.g. Haym Solomon home becomes something like Haym Solomon home for health and rehabilitation with a fancy logo), but it seems to be just a vestige that hints at a now long-gone and different past.