Joseph B. Bernstein (c.1894-1985) was a leader in Zionist activities in the Pittsburgh area. Born in Russia, Bernstein immigrated to Western Pennsylvania with his father and his elder sisters around 1896. They initially settled in Punxsutawney, Pa. before relocating to the Hill District of Pittsburgh around 1903. With his wife Elizabeth Andur Bernstein, he had one daughter, Melva Reah.Elizabeth Bernstein obituary, Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Oct. 8, 1954, p. 13 (online).
Bernstein was a founder of the local Zion Literary Society in 1912, the Pittsburgh chapter of the Zionist Organization of America in 1913, and the local Israel Bond office, and he served in roles for national Zionist groups at both the local and national level.Sajowitz, Rabbi William J. “Joseph B. (J. B.) Bernstein eulogy,” 1985 (online). His son-in-law Dean Hirschfield was also active in local Zionist youth groups, including the Pittsburgh Chapter of Masada.
Professionally, Bernstein was a jeweler. He started his career as a messenger for Robert’s Jewelers and moved up through the company as a polisher and an engraver. In 1935, he started J. B. Bernstein Co., a wholesale jewelry business. It later became Bernstein & Biggard Inc., in the Clark Building in downtown Pittsburgh. He retired around 1955. The operation closed around 1984.Center, Elizabeth G. “Joseph B. Bernstein, jeweler, dies,” Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 27, 1985, p. B10 (online).
Bernstein relocated to Mt. Lebanon, Pa. in the early 1950s and was one of the early members of Temple Emanuel of the South Hills.
J. B. Bernstein Papers and Photographs [MSS 1190] (catalog record).