Ralph Greenwood; Revived San Bernardino Jewish Community

Ralph (Rudolph) Greenhood

Ralph Greenhood

Ralph GreenhoodGreenhood

Values Codes – I-H-E-P


Ralph Greenhood was born in 1868 in Niedersetten, Wurtemberg, Germany.


Along the way

Ralph Greenhood arrived in America in 1888, at the age of 20.

He clerked in dry goods store in Pennsylvania.

Ralph Greenhood was naturalized in 1896


Los Angeles

Ralph Greenhood came to Southern California in 1903 because of his wife’s asthma.

They settled in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles where Ralph opened a rubber stamp and small printing shop.


San Bernardino

In 1912, again for health reasons, the Greenhoods moved to San Bernardino.

There he established the San Bernardino Rubber Stamp and Printing Co.



By this time, the once thriving Jewish Community was greatly diminished.

Jews got together only for the High Holy Days in a rented hall, or for a needed minyan.

When Fanny Greenhood complained that she could not bring up her children in a community without Jewish life, Ralph told her that her health was most important.

So – he would create a new Jewish community in San Bernardino.

Greewood immediately surveyed what part of the old Jewish Community still existed.

The Home of Eternity Cemetery still functioned.

Greenhood Family, 1906 WS1580

Greenhood Family, 1906

There was a sum of money set aside for a not-yet-built synagogue.

Paradise Lodge #237 of B’nai B’rith was the most active group.

Greenhood was a member of Los Angeles Lodge #487 B’nai B’rith.

He joined San Bernardino’s Paradise Lodge, immediately enlisting members to fund a Sabbath School for the Jewish Children.


The first session had 18 children.

Congregation Emanu ElThe school became the focal point of a new, cooperating Jewish Community

Ralph Greenhood  taught the children all kids of subjects.

The Sabbath School also put on social gatherings, picnics and plays, bringing together the Jewish Families of the community.

Community Seder in 1917 brought together 150 adults and children in the dining hall of the Eagles Lodge.


The Synagogue

Using the success of the Sabbath School and the Community SederRalph Greenhood then took on the task of re-interesting the community in the building of a synagogue.

There was a building fund, in existence since 1891.

Ralph Greenhood called a meeting and gathered pledges for another $10,000.

In 1921, building started on Congregation Emanu El.

High Holy Day services were held in the unfinished building that Fall and the formal dedication was held a few months later.

Congregation Emanu El San Bernardino, current building, 2017.


For many years Ralph Greenhood was Chairman of the Home of Eternity Cemetery, responsible for burials, maintenance and fund raising.



Ralph Greenhood was active in Paradise Lodge #237 of B’nai B’rith.

He served as President in 1920.

He helped form and mentored Paradise Auxiliary #14  for women for eight years until he was told he was not needed any more.


Fanny Greenhood WS1582

Fanny Greenhood


Fanny Gusky was born in Wieruszow, Poland in 1872 and came to Buffalo, New York in 1890.

Ralph and Fanny were married in Buffalo in 1894

Ralph and Fanny had five children.


Fanny Greenhood died in 1963

Ralph Greenhood passed away in 1941.


“Ralph Greenhood, more than any one individual, is responsible fior keeping the faith which discouraging conditions almost entirely extinguished in others.

“His unquenchable optimism kept the Sabbath School alive and spurred on to renewed effort every lagging community enterprise.” –Los Angeles Star.


More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Greenhood Family; Greenhoods of San Bernardino; Southern California; Neumann, Dorothy; 15/3

Photo Gallery [New photos always welcome]

To enlarge pictures, simply click on them.

“Thank You” to Barb Huff for correct date of the passing of Ralph Greenhood.