Stella Freiburg

Patron of the Arts and Reform Judaism

Stella Heinsheimer Freiberg was a pioneer in religion, music, and women's activism in the city. She was heavily involved in the creation of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and helped found the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods.

Stella Freiberg was born in Cincinnati on November 29, 1862. After primary school, she attended the Cincinnati College of Music. In 1894, Freiberg was one of the ten women (including the sister-in-law of President Charles Taft) who founded the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She then served on the Orchestra’s board of directors as the Vice President. Her consistent love for the arts led to her serving as Board President of the Cincinnati Art Museum in the late 1930s.

In 1913, while her husband was president of the Bene Israel congregation, Freiberg helped create the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS). She served as the organization’s vice president. Despite criticism, within the NFTS’s first year of creation the organization received praise for their contributions to the temple. Freiberg served as vice president of the NFTS for ten years until 1923 when she became president, a title she held until 1929. Freiberg also helped found the World Union for Progressive Judaism, an international organization that “provides support for communities, institutions, and individuals for the continuity of Judaism and for tikkun olam” around the world. Freiberg also provided support to the Hebrew Union College by creating fundraisers for its students and even donated a gymnasium to the college.

Stella Freiberg lived at 3583 Alaska Avenue in Avondale with her husband J. Walter Freiberg. Her dedication to her religion and to the arts has left a lasting mark on the city of Cincinnati. She passed away on January 20, 1962 at 99 years of age.

Location

3583 Alaska Avenue, Cincinnati, OH

Metadata

Ashlyn Bailey, Finn Biales, Brenden Pulte, “Stella Freiburg,” Cincinnati Sites and Stories, accessed May 28, 2024, https://stories.cincinnatipreservation.org/items/show/228.