Harry, Tillie, and Hirsch Goldstein
While death or dire straits defined all children who entered the Home, some faced and remarkably managed to overcome extreme circumstances. Harry, Tillie, and Hirsch were the youngest of eight children of Russian immigrants, Abraham and Jennie Bender Goldstein, who made their home in Natchez, Mississippi, where Abraham ran a dry goods store on Franklin Street. The three youngest Goldsteins were admitted to the Home in 1906 after Abraham was condemned to life imprisonment for Jennie’s murder. On appeal, after the defense successfully argued that Abraham had not intended to kill Jennie, the court overturned the murder conviction and Abraham pled guilty to manslaughter, for which he received a 20-year sentence. Mississippi’s governor later pardoned Abraham, conditioned on his permanent exile from the state. These legal distinctions, however, could not change the fact that the children had witnessed the death of their mother at the hands of their father. Despite the tragedy, the children garnered no unfavorable mention during their time at Newman School, and in the Home each was elected to a position of leadership in the Golden City. In addition, Harry became a leader in the Home’s Scout Troop while Tillie served as secretary of the Home Girls’ Band.
Harry Goldstein, c. 1912. Courtesy JCRS.
After high school, with funds from the Home, Harry attended pharmacy school, graduating with top grades. Following Navy service in the First World War, Harry returned to New Orleans, where he worked as a clothing wholesaler, married, and raised a family.
After their discharges at ages seventeen and fifteen to an older, married sister, Tillie and Hirsch moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where she married and became a homemaker, and he ran an oil-field supply company and was active in his Temple. Hirsch considered his years in the Home among “the highlights” of his life, and in 1970 was elected to the board of the Home’s successor, today known as JCRS.
This photo of Hirsch Goldstein and his wife .Janet Asher Goldstein (at left) attending a benefit at Temple Beth El for the Council of Jewish Women appeared in the Corpus Christi Times, May 27, 1968.