Monk Isidore Mondshine

In 1908, Esther Falk Mondshine sailed on the S.S. Lusitania from Liverpool, England to New York with her four children, destined for New Orleans. Two year later, Esther died. Her husband, Maurice, admitted their three youngest children – “Monk” Isidore (9), Minnie (10), and Bessie (6) – to the Home.

The children remained in the Home until 1914, when they reunited with their father in New Orleans. Monk later described his four years in the Home as “the most productive and happiest years” of his life. In addition to enjoying the friendships he made in the Home, he credited his years at the Isidore Newman Manual Training School (from 3rd through 6th grades) and the religious training he received in the Home as “the foundation of a happy and successful life.”

In 1923, Monk relocated to Houston where he married and raised a family. He worked as a court reporter in the criminal courts, later starting his own shorthand reporting business from which he retired in 1976. Monk died in 1999 at the age of 98.

Monk Mondshine, Houston Post courtroom photo, 1963.

During his lengthy career as a criminal court reporter, Monk Mondshine made headlines in the Houston newspapers, often for reading prior testimony from his shorthand “hieroglyphics” on the witness stand and once for accidentally discharging an old pistol in his office adjacent to the courtroom. In this photo, Mondshine is shown taking into evidence the nylon stocking allegedly used by a defendant to strangle his wife. “Murder Stocking Part of Phillips Trial Evidence,” Houston Post, June 26, 1963.

In His Own Words

In 1984, as part of the Jewish Children’s Home Alumni Project, Monk Mondshine shared his recollections of the Home. Read Monk’s letter here.