Bernice Feldman (1896-1985)

In 1916, Bernice met Henry Feldman in New York when she was 19. They subsequently married and moved to Portland. Henry’s parents were born in Germany and settled in Portland when they immigrated to the United States. He had four siblings, all of whom lived in Portland: Joseph, Henry, Gus and Elise (who married Herbert Sichel). The Feldmans lived in Northwest neighborhoods of Portland all their lives. In the early years of their marriage, Bernice and Harry lived on Northrup Street and later bought a house at 25th and Johnson. They belonged to Temple Beth Israel where Jonah Wise was Rabbi. 

Bernice was actively involved in social work throughout her life. As a member of the Council of Jewish Women, she worked with the USO and the SOS to send care packages to Jewish soldiers during the First World War. Along with Ruth Frank and Ruth Rosenfeld, she volunteered with the Red Cross during the war, preparing medical supplies in workspace at Lipman Wolfe department store secured and provided by Mr. Lowengart. She also coordinated sales of treasury bonds and stamps for the war effort. She was involved in the Council’s efforts, led by Mrs. Max Hirsch, to invest money from the Memorial fund in beds at St. Vincent’s and Emanuel hospitals to subsidize medical care to low-income Jewish families. She succeeded Flora Berkowitz (née Metz) as president of the Council in Portland, and attended the national Council convention in Detroit (in 1932 or 1933). Bernice was also heavily involved with the Neighborhood House, supporting athletic activities, English classes, and naturalization preparation. She also participated in efforts to welcome and settle Jewish immigrant families escaping persecution in Europe.