In 1941, a seemingly simple, but ultimately unsuccessful, search to find a suitable home for an elderly Jewish Atlanta woman propelled Fannie Boorstin into an unrelenting campaign to establish a home for the Jewish aged. Her proposal was controversial for the time and was met with considerable skepticism; many people simply believed that no one would choose such an alternative.
Fannie Boorstin’s steadfast mission to educate individuals and groups in the Jewish community on the importance of filling this housing void was rewarded when she visited Frank Garson, prominent Atlanta businessman and civic leader, who resolutely took up her cause.
“We visited four women and three men when Mr. Garson said, ‘Fannie I’ve seen enough.’
From that day on, Mr. Garson never let up. He had truly seen the need for a Jewish Home.”
Fannie S. Boorstin, The Southern Israelite, November, 1981
On October 21, 1945, after several years of persevering and spreading her message of concern, she put together a small group of like-minded people and convened a meeting at the Jewish Educational Alliance. 135 people pledged $39,000 in start-up money for a Jewish home for the aged, and a community-wide effort to establish one was finally on its way. It would be six years before the dream was realized.
The Jewish Home opened on November 26, 1951, occupying a nine-acre lot at 260 14th Street, NW, that had been donated by real estate developer Ben J. Massell.
Construction in 1957 expanded the Home’s capacity, added Garson Hall (a recreational facility) and a new nursing station, and completed air-conditioning the entire building. Less than 15 years after the Home opened, the resident population had doubled and differed greatly from the Home’s early population.
The Home’s rapid growth made evident the need for a larger, updated facility, leading to the construction of a new building on a 10.7-acre site at 3150 Howell Mill Road, NW. The second Jewish Home opened on February 16, 1971.
In 1991, 20 years after the Home opened on Howell Mill Road, it was renamed The William Breman Jewish Home to honor and recognize its third president, Bill Breman, as the prime motivator of our modern day facility.
In April 1999, the third and current Home opened its doors to a new, state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the building erected in 1971. It has a resident capacity of 96 and features four separate floors for different levels of care such as rehabilitation and dementia. The old nursing home was converted into The Zaban Tower, which provides independent and assisted living for low income seniors.
In 2009, a merger with The Cohen Home in Johns Creek added assisted living to the range of services for the elderly. Land was also acquired to develop an additional assisted living community in Dunwoody. Named for former President of the Home Stephen M. Berman, Berman Commons Assisted Living & Memory Care will be located adjacent to the campus of the Marcus Jewish Community Center.
Change will continue to be a constant at The William Breman Jewish Home, for needs will change, and responsiveness to the residents’ needs has always been and will continue to be the defining force that shapes programming.
1941 Campaign launched to establish a home for the Jewish aged
1945 135 people pledge $39,000 in start-up money for new facility
1946 A professional study recommends a nursing and convalescent home in Atlanta
1949 Ben Massell donates nine acres on 14th Street for site of Home
1950 First successful fundraising campaign
1951 State-of-the-art 30-resident Jewish Home at 260 14th Street dedicated; Frank Garson is elected first president
1955 11-year term of Abe Goldstein characterized by rapid growth; 15-bedroom expansion including a recreation hall, nurses’ station and pavilion is added
1965 Medicare established under Social Security Act of 1965; study assesses need for a newer facility
1966 Presidency of William Breman heralds era of intense growth and change
1969 Groundbreaking for new Jewish Home
1971 New Jewish Home at 3150 Howell Mill Road dedicated
1972 Home reaches full resident capacity
1978 200-unit HUD apartment building, The Jewish Tower, opens at 3160 Howell Mill Road
1984 The Atlanta Group Home for developmentally disabled adults established on property of the Jewish Home
1986 Auxiliary of the Home founded
1988 Artworks, first annual fundraiser of the Auxiliary
1991 Home renamed The William Breman Jewish Home
1997 Groundbreaking for an expanded, integrated Home and campus
1999 Current Home opened and given the address of 3150 Howell Mill Road; The Meyer Balser Senior Center for Health Living opens; Campus named The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Campus; 3156 Howell Mill Road named The Zaban Tower after conversion into independent and assisted living apartments
1999 The Vi and Milton Weinstein Hospice established
2003 Bi-annual Fall Golden Gala replaces Artworks as Auxiliary’s major fundraiser
2006 The Meyer Balser NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) created to expand the services and programs of the Meyer Balser Center
2007 Resident rooms refurbished, new Rehab Center created
2009 The Cohen Home, an assisted living facility in Johns Creek, merges with The William Breman Jewish Home; lease signed for land to build future assisted living facility in Dunwoody; major restructuring of Board of Directors
2010 and Future
2010 Renovations to first floor of The Home enhance security and update look and function of lobby
2010 Celebrated the 60th Anniversary of The William Breman Jewish Home
2011 Resident bathing rooms renovated to spa-like settings
2011 Renovations to all common areas in Zaban Tower to create a warmer, updated look
2012 The Rehabilitation Center renamed the Aviv Rehabiliation Center
2012 Established The One Group to offer Private Homecare Solutions and Corporate Medical staffing
2013 Created Jewish Home Life Communities to anchor all communities together under one overarching brand
2013 Began building Berman Commons, a 90-unit assisted living and memory care community in Dunwoody to open in December 2014
2014 WBJH named to the Best Nursing Homes in the US list by US News and World Report
2014 Jewish Home Life Communities named the #13 Top Workplace in the midsize category by the Atlanta Journal Constitution