Community Briefs: New NMAJH Documents Include FDR Speech and More

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New NMAJH Documents Include FDR Speech

The National Museum of American Jewish History announced it is displaying in July a signed copy of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms Speech, which will be on museum view for the first time.

In addition, NMAJH is displaying original poster printings of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms and an illustrated print of the Declaration of Independence that Philadelphia printer and newspaper publisher John Binns produced.

FDR’s speech served as his State of the Union address in 1941. It originally belonged to his private secretary, Marguerite “Missy” LeHand. In the speech, Roosevelt addressed a vision sustained by the four “essential human freedoms” of speech, religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Local Weight Watchers Founder Dies

Weight Watchers of Philadelphia, Inc. co-founder J. Robert (Bob) Birnhak died July 14 at his home, according to his family. He was 95.

Birnhak served as co-founder and co-director with his late wife, Marilyn Price Birnhak, who died in 2018. They founded the organization in 1964 in Mt. Airy with eight members. Now known as WW Philadelphia, it serves up to 20,000 members in southeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New Jersey.

A Bronx native, he was a World War II veteran. After the war, he joined the Queens County District Attorney’s office as an assistant district attorney. He also served as an alderman in Queens and as a New York state assemblyman.

Birnhak sat on numerous boards, and his philanthropic works included the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, Beth Sholom Congregation, American Friends of Mogen David Adom and American Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

The Birnhaks helped open the 54-bed Birnhak Transitional Care Unit at Abramson Center for Jewish Life and the 35-bed Abramson Senior Care Birnhak Transitional Care Unit at Lankenau Hospital opening on July 17.

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