Bayit Lepletot, which means a home for refugees, was founded in 1949, soon after the Second World War, when the refugees from the European Holocaust came pouring in, legally and illegally, to the shores of our Homeland. There was a desperate need for a warm and understanding home for the broken, stranded and orphaned children, whose parents were killed by Hitler, some of whom were the sole survivors of their families or of their towns. Rabbi Naftali Rosenfeld and his wife, themselves survivors, meet this desperate need and began the orphanage with seven little girls in a small, run-down, basement apartment. These refugee girls were given a chance to heal, to grow, to marry and to raise new families. Unfortunately, more and more homeless girls came knocking on our doors and Rabbi Rosenfeld, together with Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim, who had joined the Directorate of Bayit Lepletot, realized someone was needed who could promote the needs of the girls to their brethren in America and beyond. Rabbi Samuel I. Stern was hired and immediately spearheaded a building campaign which resulted in the building that still stands to this day, erected in 1959. This 'new' building, which was recently renovated after fifty years, is now known as Bayit Lepletot.
The original building, now nicknamed the Small Building, has become the home to our younger girls – ages four until they complete fifth grade. This building has extra supervision and care specifically aimed towards providing for the needs of young children. The housemother and counselors are incredibly warm and loving. They extend all their efforts to create that cozy feeling of home for our young charges. Having a separate building for the little girls allows us to maintain an organized schedule and an aura of tranquility.
In 1969 it became obvious that we had once again outgrown our facilities. At the time, the country was celebrating its victory in the Six Day War. BL's Founder and Director, Rabbi Samuel I. Stern, purchased land in one of the newly acquired, northern neighborhoods. With incredible help from Above, BL was awarded a grant by the United States government, which became the seed money in constructing our GTJ building. For over four decades now, the beautiful GTJ campus, with its dormitory and academic center, has rehabilitated and educated hundreds of girls from dysfunctional and disadvantaged homes.