Evelyn Glick Bloom was “a people’s person”; a smiling woman who both dared to dream and to make those dreams happen. She was a multifaceted community activist before the term was coined. Her beliefs and actions were grounded in family history and Jewish tradition; she made that heritage her own and enhanced it, sharing with others what she had been taught and what she had learned.
Pittsburgh born and educated, she earned a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University), later operating a research mass spectrometer at the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Pittsburgh at a time when few women worked in the physical sciences. Never one to see the obstacles, only the opportunities, Bloom went on to publish in the field and later, to work at the U.S. Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., following her marriage to Pittsburgher Albert W. Bloom.
Evelyn Bloom was named “Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Week” and appeared with Albert Bloom on national radio in the late 1940s, explaining kosher food and cooking. She was a woman well ahead of her time, who continued to dream and work for a better future.
Her love of the State of Israel was demonstrated in many ways, even from before its birth. A family letter records the excitement Albert and Evelyn Bloom felt over the League of Nation’s partition vote in November 1947. She planned a “declaration of the State” party for their Mizrachi young couples’ group in Washington, as a Zionist following in her grandfather Yosef Zelig Glick’s footsteps. He, a founding member of Mizrachi in America, and editor/publisher of The Volksfreund Yiddish paper in Pittsburgh, had brought a large Zionist blue and white flag with the Star of David from Europe to Pittsburgh in 1887.
Bloom’s past and present often complemented each other. Albert Bloom, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist, later became founding editor of The Jewish Chronicle. Together the Blooms welcomed many to Pittsburgh, worked to build the Jewish community, and helped others educate themselves Jewishly. Education was a top priority.
For over 20 years, Bloom taught a Jewish history study group for Hadassah. She served in many positions at Hillel Academy, where their four children studied; there she fundraised, applied for grants, edited the ad book and ran the gift shop.
Bloom was a nature lover. She started the first Shabbat observant/kosher Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops in Pittsburgh. She set an example in undertaking challenges, stood up for what she believed in and worked to make projects succeed. Today, the PA Junior Academy of Science sets Sunday dates for Shabbat observant students, thanks in part to her efforts.
Active in Young People’s Synagogue, Bloom founded “nursery shul,” starting Jewish education and community participation from the earliest ages. She taught by example – in her sukka, in the home that the Blooms opened to so many and at public events.
Pittsburgh and national Jewish organizations benefited from her efforts, and many honored her, among them Jewish National Fund, Technion, NA’AMAT, Israel Bonds, Zionist Organization of America, Religious Zionists of America and Hadassah.
Bloom is buried in the hills surrounding Jerusalem, but her legacy flourishes – especially in the Pittsburgh community, and in the homes of her four children, Shanen Bloom Werber of Elazar, Israel; Dov Bloom of Beit Yatir, Israel; Dr. Elana Bloom of Pittsburgh; and Michael Bloom of Arlington, Va., and in the homes of 10 grandchildren and the lives of her 16 great-grandchildren.
A shloshim memorial for is planned for Sunday, 7 Adar, Feb. 17 (Presidents’ Day weekend), at 10 a.m. at Hillel Academy, 5685 Beacon St.
A fund in Albert and Evelyn Bloom’s name was established at Hillel Academy, the school that was so important to them. Donations in Evelyn Bloom’s memory can be made to Hillel Academy Foundation, with the memo line Albert and Evelyn Bloom Fund.
Memories of Evelyn Bloom can be shared with her children and grandchildren by email at EvelynGBloomOBM@gmail.com.