John L. Bernstein was a New York City lawyer originally from the town of Nizhyn, Ukraine. He came to the United States as a boy, growing up, as did many Eastern European Jewish immigrants, on the Lower East Side in New York City. In 1902, he helped found HIAS, was President from 1917 to 1926, and continued to serve on the board until his death in 1952.
In the early 1960s, the city decided to name New York Public School 137, a K–5 school, after Bernstein to honor his achievements, specifically his role in founding and leading HIAS. The school, originally located at Cherry and Montgomery Streets in Manhattan, was dedicated on October 28, 1966.
Here are some items from the dedication ceremony,
which includes a program with a crayon cover
(here’s the inside of the program).
At some point, the school moved to East Broadway near Grand Street, where it shared a building with P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold. Earlier this year, P.S. 134 absorbed the students of John L. Bernstein, and the school named for one of HIAS’s founding members ceased to exist.